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.)

antifa notes (september 28, 2018) : Anning, Coulter, Fortress, Palmer, Yaxley-Lennon, Yiannopoulos et. al.

1) More planeloads of racist dickheads on their way

Ann Coulter, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon & Milo Yiannopoulos

‘Australia’ was founded as a dumping-ground for the shit of British Empire. Over two centuries later, it’s now a lucrative market for other forms of animae viles. Thus, Milo Yiannopoulos returns to our shores in November, on this occasion bringing with him another wealthy right-wing blabbermouth, Ann Coulter. If all goes to plan, the pair will be accompanied by Senator Fraser ‘Final Solution’ Anning, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (assuming he’s not back in prison and/or in breach of his bail conditions by leaving E-E-England) and other speakers yet TBA.

The tour kicks off on the Gold Coast on November 29, followed by a ‘VIP Yacht Cruise’ on November 30, and then proceeds to Sydney on December 2, with another v xpnsv boat trip on December 3, and performances in Melbourne (December 5), Adelaide (December 8) and finally Perth (December 11).

The tour is being organised and underwritten by Queensland businessman Dan Spiller AKA ‘Future Now Australia’.

Until very recently, twice-convicted racist Neil Erikson was Mister Spiller’s gopher, which role included paying a nocturnal visit to the family home of sometime-rival Dave Pellowe AKA ‘Axiomatic Events’ (the mob responsible for bringing Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern Down Under).

Presumably, Spiller’s deranged acolyte will now have more time to devote to his various legal defences.

As for the luminaries Spiller will be hoping to turn a hefty profit from, Infowars-supplements salesman Milo has been having a somewhat difficult time of late, whining on Facebook about being uninvited from a conference in October and castigating his fans for failing to shovel enough money in his direction: I have lost everything standing up for the truth in America, spent all my savings, destroyed all my friendships, and ruined my whole life, Yiannopoulos wrote: At some point, you realize it’s occasionally better to spend the money on crabs and cocktails.

Fortunately for him, Facebook remains committed to facilitating his batshit, he receives the red-carpet treatment in Australia, and is celebrated by Newscorpse, including The Australian columnist Janet Albrechtsen. When she’s not enjoying Milo’s anti-Aboriginal diatribes (a sample from his talk in Perth is below), Albrechtsen may be found promoting the work of the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation (AIEF), where she serves as a brand ‘Ambassador’. Quite how Albrechtsen squares her support for Milo with her role as ambassador I don’t know: after I asked the AIEF for comment on Twitter, I was blocked.

Because newsflash [Aboriginal art] really is shit … Now Australians in this sort of bizarre form of middle-class guilt have decided to pay obeisance to a culture that failed to invent the wheel — and whose signature musical achievement is a big stick … The ugly truth that they don’t want you to say out loud is that history has winners and losers. The progressive left wants to turn Western countries into the only developed civilisations in the history of human society that shit on their own accomplishments in favour of vastly inferior civilisations for no apparent reason. Hence we’re confronted with the ugly spectacle of your own nation and ‘welcome to country’ … and the desperate, pathetic attempts to pretend that didgeridoos represent a beautiful and historic cultural achievement, and not a punchline to a joke. Now you might not know this, but there are absolutely no Aboriginal people left alive in Australia — the last ones died in the ’60s and ’70s, and since then George Soros has been shipping over Black Lives Matter activists, giving them tubs of white-out, and telling them to just daub themselves and make all the White people feel bad. Your politicians in a symbol of how intelligent they are have been falling for it for half-a-century.

So much for Milo. As for Coulter, while she’s been splashing about in the white nationalist pool for some years now, in April ‘Coulter gave a little more credence to those accusations [of white nationalist sympathies] by exposing her Twitter following of just under 2 million users to Mike ‘Enoch Peinovich’‘, a neo-Nazi blabbermouth from (((New York))).

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

See also : When Mormons Aspired to Be a ‘White and Delightsome’ People, Emma Green, The Atlantic, September 18, 2017 (‘An historian looks at the legacy of racism in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’).

Fraser Anning (and Clive Palmer)

Since his unexpected elevation to the Australian Senate following the disqualification of crazed pixie Malcolm ‘Jew World Order’ Roberts, Fraser ‘Final Solution’ Anning has been furiously competing with Pauline Hanson for the title of ‘Most AltRight 2018’. Thus his political obsessions have run in rough parallel with those of the baying KKKrowd, from the plight of White South African farmers to the dastardly conspiracy to commit White Genocide™, calling for the forcible eradication of Islam from Australian shores, Putin fanboydom and climate change denial. Recently, however, there’s emerged another contender: billionaire Clive Palmer. See : Alt-Right Memes and Clive Palmer’s Return to Politics, Jordan McSwiney, POP POLITICS AUS, September 27, 2018. Chumbawamba, however, are not down with the bloated idiot. See : Chumbawamba knock down ‘Trump-lite’ Clive Palmer over song use, Naaman Zhou, The Guardian, August 31, 2018.

*Anning’s Facebook page has been (temporarily?) DELed. See : Facebook Deletes Fraser Anning Over ‘Hate Speech’ Complaint, Josh Butler, ten daily, September 28, 2018 | Fraser Anning Has Been Banned From Facebook For Hate Speech, Sam Langford, Junkee, September 28, 2018 | Fraser Anning’s public Facebook page removed for reported hate speech, Jake Evans, ABC, September 28, 2018.

**Anning, along with Avi Yeminem (Australian Liberty Alliance), is scheduled to appear at a rally in Melbourne on October 6 in order to protest censorship by Facebook.

Gavin McInnes

Also touring Down Under is ‘Proud Boys’ founder Gavin McInnes. The chinless wonder is scheduled to be speaking in Melbourne (November 2), Perth (November 4), Adelaide (November 7), Gold Coast (November 8) and Sydney (November 11).

Recently, after declaring his appreciation for NYHC band ‘Sheer Terror’, only to be rebuffed by the boys, McInnes’s followers have rather foolishly declared WAR! on skinheads, in particular RASH and SHARP (See : Hardcore Legends Sheer Terror Take the Proud Boys Down a Notch, Landon Shroder, rvamag, September 26, 2018).

McInnes is proudly-sponsored by Penthouse magazine and publisher Damien Costas, who in September was responsible for arranging Nigel Farage‘s tour of the colonies, and in December 2017 that of Milo Yiannopoulos. Following Milo’s tour, Victoria Police made noises about issuing an invoice to Costas for $50,000 for costs associated with their policing his tour but a savvy Costas told them to bugger off and, happily enough for him, they did.

See also : Rose City Antifa on Proud Boys | Alternative Influence: Broadcasting the Reactionary Right on YouTube, Rebecca Lewis, Data & Society, September 18, 2018 | Nostalgia for the empire and ‘identity politics’ for white people: Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern in Sydney, A Communist At Large (James Robb), August 2, 2018.

2) Brisbane nazi punks f*ck off

Speaking of nazi punks, one, ‘Angel Montague’, is currently running a Facebook page called ‘Brisbane city punks’. Allegedly, Montague has been banned from the pubs The Back Room (Chardons Hotel) in Annerley and The Jubilee in Fortitude Valley and possibly one or two others for drunken violence. Still, by most accounts Brisbane punx give short shrift to neo-Nazi shenanigans, so it would make sense if Montague and her handful of neo-Nazi mates were continued to be shown the door.

3) Fortress (Australia)

Pioneering Aussie reich ‘n’ rollers Fortress have recorded a new album: ‘Brothers of the Storm’. The release comes in the wake of renewed touring by the band in Europe, with the boys playing a Hammerskins event in Frankreich (FRA) on March 18 last year, the annual memorial to Skrewydriver Ian Stuart Donaldson in Melbourne (AUS) on October 14, 2017 and another bonehead gig in Queensland on July 21, 2018.

See also : A Brief History Of Neo-Nazi Music In Australia (December 2, 2010).

One neo-Nazi who probably won’t be making any more muzak is Marcel ‘Flubber’ Kuschela. Kuschela, who performed with ‘Kategorie C’, committed suicide in the German town of Moenchengladbach last week: ‘According to the German newspaper Bild and public broadcaster WDR, the victim is a known right-wing extremist and Hooligan who is part of the extreme right-wing band “Kategorie C” and co-founded a movement known as “Hooligans against Salafists” (Hogesa).’

4) Dick returns to MUFF

In an about-face that surprised no-one, Richard Wolstencroft has returned to the helm of the Melbourne Underground Film Festival (MUFF). This follows a brief moment last year when, after having made a stoopid homophobic statement, he ‘resigned’ as organiser and handballed responsibility for it to a flunkey. But in June he returned.

The fascist meathead’s festival does have its supporters, but such is the stench emanating from Wolstencroft he’s having some difficulty finding a venue to screen his shite. Hence ‘Club Voltaire’ in North Melbourne was on-board, and then not, and now the main venue is Top Secret.

LOL.

You can read more about Wolstencroft’s shitty fascist politics in this blog by Tony Goodfellow — Richard Wolstencroft’s relationship to holocaust denial and Nazis (November 17, 2017) — and you can peruse some unanswered ‘Questions for Richard Wolstencroft’ (June 30, 2018) by SF Lyons here.

See also : After His Show Was Canceled Due to Alleged Neo-Nazi Ties, Boyd Rice Claims ‘Offers Are Coming In’ to Restage It, Sarah Cascone, artnet, September 13, 2018.

5) local and/or general

In AUS, 4Corner’s recent interview with jet-setting fascist shitweasel Steve Bannon is examined by The Guardian writers Nesrine Malik in Indulging Steve Bannon is just a form of liberal narcissism (September 13, 2018) and by Jason Wilson in The consequences of Steve Bannon’s ideas need to be interrogated, not just his words (September 5, 2018); writer Laurie Penny has written a piece in response to the decision by The Economist to provide Bannon another platform in ‘No, I Will Not Debate You’ (September 18, 2018) … which could also be read in light of her earlier adventures with Milo. In BENdigo, meanwhile, anti-Muslim campaigner Julie Hoskin has been forced to resign her position on council after being declared bankrupt — seemingly, in no small thanks to the efforts of lawyer Robert Balzola. See : Bendigo councillor Julie Hoskin, the centre of anti-mosque protests, declared bankrupt and resigns, Peter Lenaghan and Mark Kearney, ABC, September 26, 2018 | Julie Hoskin declared bankrupt one day before sending councillor resignation to City of Greater Bendigo, Adam Holmes, The Bendigo Advertiser, September 26, 2018.

In FRA, two boneheads have been convicted of the murder of anti-fascist Clement Méric in 2013 (see : Two boneheads convicted over 2013 death of anti-fascist activist, The Guardian, September 15, 2018); in GER, Facebook Fueled Anti-Refugee Attacks in Germany, New Research Suggests (Amanda Taub and Max Fisher, The New York Times, August 21, 2018); in GRE, Kevin Ovenden has authored a ‘new study that documents the murderous activities of Greece’s far-right Golden Dawn’ (The terrorist activity of neonazi organisations in Europe – The case of Golden Dawn, jailgoldendawn, September 18, 2018); last week in ITA, an MEP, Eleonora Forenza, and their assistant were attacked by members of neo-Fascist organisation Casapound after attending an anti-racist rally (MEP and assistant attacked by Italian far-right group, Lili Bayer, politico.eu, September 22, 2018); in the USA, Hope Not Hate ventured ‘Inside America’s biggest anti-Muslim organisation’ (Charlie Prentice, September 16, 2018); also in the US, Derek Black, son of White supremacist and Stormfront founder Don Black, stars in Renouncing Hate: What Happens When a White Nationalist Repents (Wes Enzinna, The New York Times, September 10, 2018), while Media Matters examines some of the white nationalists who write for FOX News’ Tucker Carlson’s batshit website The Daily Caller in ‘The Daily Caller has published white supremacists, anti-Semites, and bigots. Here are the ones we know about.’ (September 5, 2018); Billy Briggs for The Ferret writes that ‘YouTube provides a network for far right extremists such as Scot Colin Robertson, aka Millennial Woes, to promote white supremacist views and radicalise people, according to a new report’ (Far-right Scots vlogger named in report on YouTube extremist networks, September 23, 2018); the report — ‘Alternative Influence: Broadcasting the Reactionary Right on YouTube’ — by Rebecca Lewis for Data & Society (September 18, 2018), can be read here.

More generally: ‘Far right’ groups may be diverse – but here’s what they all have in common, Daphne Halikiopoulou, The Conversation, September 27, 2018 | The Religion of Whiteness Becomes a Suicide Cult, Pankaj Mishra, The New York Times, August 30, 2018 (‘A wounded and swaggering identity geopolitics puts the world in grave danger.’) | Against mirror world: fascists were not socialists, Comrade Motopu, libcom, August 26, 2018.

Finally, str8 outta Moscow, RUS, comes …

Antifa Australia goes for the jugular (while I make some comments) …

On the weekend The Australian published a lengthy article by Chip Le Grand on antifa in Australia.

Below are some comments.

Antifa Australia goes for the jugular
Chip Le Grand
The Australian
December 9, 2017

The first rule of antifa is you do not talk about antifa. Not to a journalist, at any rate. It is less an organisation than a broad objective across the radical left; a determination to block, frustrate and ultimately silence far-right politics. It is fundamentally illiberal and necessarily secretive. For these reasons, it is poorly understood and readily mischaracterised.

Ssshhh …

To the best of my knowledge, there have only been one or two occasions on which anTEEfa in Australia have spoken to journalists. First, ‘Beneath the black mask: inside Australia’s anti-fascist Antifa groups’ (Peter Munro, The Sydney Morning Herald, May 21, 2016) contains interviews with three anti-fascists. Secondly, a former anti-fascist, Shayne Hunter, was recently interviewed for a piece in the Murdoch press (‘I established a terror movement in Australia, and I quit’, news.com.au, October 25, 2017). Perhaps the first time the term was used in media reportage in a local context was 2014 (Australia’s Golden Dawn Rally Falls Embarrassingly Flat, Lauren Gillin, VICE, May 7, 2014). See also : Cronulla protests: what is the anti-fascist group Antifa?, Michael McGowan, The Sydney Morning Herald, December 12, 2015 | Explainer: what is antifa, and where did it come from?, Troy Whitford, The Conversation, August 30, 2017.

Beyond that: while it’s true that ant-fascists generally seek to disrupt fascist organising, completely eradicating far-right and fascist politics is hardly an achievable objective. Instead, most seek to simply limit, as much as possible and given the means available, the growth of such political expressions. The liberality of these actions, as well as their public status, is generally determined by their context.

Antifa activists are not mindless thugs. They are well organised and, generally, experienced political and social activists who are prepared to resort to violence — they say reluctantly — to deny the far right any platform from which to promote its ideas. In Melbourne and Sydney this week, they mobilised more than 100 supporters within an hour to shout down a speaking event by the alt-right’s charismatic bomb thrower, Milo Yiannopoulos.

Leaving aside the alleged mindlessness and thuggery (and the claim that Milo is ‘charismatic’), the fact that several hundred people (ie, several hundred more than 100) mobilised in Melbourne in order to protest Milo Yiannopoulos’s performance at Melbourne Pavilion last Monday was. not. simply. the result of a preparedness to act at short notice, but rather active campaigning over months (and years).

[snip] The antifa view of the world is that far-right politics — particularly white supremacy, nationalist chauvinism and the kind of fascism that tore Europe apart in the middle of the 20th century — is again on the rise across Western democracies.

Accurate or otherwise, that’s not a view confined to those actively opposing white supremacy and ultra-nationalism, as a search for relevant materials would demonstrate. To put it another way: there’s a rational basis for concern over a resurgent far-right in Europe, both Western and Eastern. That said, Australia is somewhat peculiar in terms of Western democracies, a theme also explored in the relevant literature. Or as Oswald Mosley claimed in 1933: ‘I always thought it remarkable that Australia, without studying the Fascist political philosophy and methods, so spontaneously developed a form of fascism peculiarly suited to the needs of the British Empire.’ See also : Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association (ACRAWSA).

In the US, this conviction has made bedfellows of anarchists, Marxists, socialists, anti-racists and other militant activists beneath the antifa doona. In Australia, existing left-wing groups such as Socialist Alternative have diverted resources from other campaigns to fight what they describe as the fascist menace. New groups, such as Jews Against Fascism, have formed to fight the far right.

The start of this counterculture war can be traced to the Easter weekend two years ago when a large Reclaim Australia rally took over Melbourne’s Federation Square. Hassan is a 31-year-old bartender and events manager. He is also an active member of Socialist Alternative who contributes regularly to its online publication, Red Flag. “The size and breadth of that mobilisation of the far right shook many of us up,” he says. “Nationally, we decided to prioritise anti-fascist organising.”

The same event prompted Jordana Silverstein, a University of Melbourne academic, to form Jews Against Fascism. “We fundamentally disagree that if you ignore fascists they will go away,” she tells Inquirer. “They don’t. They become emboldened.”

In the US, contemporary antifa activity is generally traced back to the 1980s, when youth subcultures like skinhead and punk were the subject of concerted efforts at infiltration by the radical right, which in turn generated (militant) opposition. Hence it was in the late ’80s that Skin Heads Against Racial Prejudice (SHARP) formed in New York and Anti-Racist Action (ARA) was born, the groundwork for the latter being laid by a skinhead crew in Minneapolis called The Baldies. (ARA’s contemporary expression is the Torch network.) A lot has happened between Then and Now, but certainly the Trump era has given added impetus to antifa organising in the US. See also : Inside the Underground Anti-Racist Movement That Brings the Fight to White Supremacists, Wes Enzinna, Mother Jones, May/June 2017.

In Australia, I’d argue that ‘the start of this counterculture war’ was a little earlier than April 4, 2015. Certainly, if anti-fascism is ‘less an organisation than a broad objective across the radical left; a determination to block, frustrate and ultimately silence far-right politics’, then its origins in Australia may be traced back as far as the 1920s and to the Italian migrant anti-fascists (see : Fascism, Anti-Fascism and the Italians in Australia: 1922–1945, Gianfranco Crestiani, Australian National University, 1980). More recently, anti-fascists in Melbourne actively campaigned against Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party and National Action in the 1990s. [For (Marxist) analysis, see : How we stopped Pauline Hanson last time, Tess Lee Ack, Marxist Left Review, No.12 (Winter 2016) / Understanding Hansonism (Ben Reid) & When the Australian ruling class embraced fascism (Louise O’Shea), Marxist Left Review, No.13 (Summer 2017).]

Otherwise: SAlt was largely absent on April 4, 2015, this also being the weekend of their annual Marxism conference, and the opposition to Reclaim on that occasion was drawn from other segments of Teh Left in Melbourne.

The antifa armoury includes more than protest chants and punches. Mark Bray, formerly an activist in the Occupy Wall Street movement, is the author of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, published in Australia by Melbourne University Press. In interviews with anti-fascist activists in Europe and the US, Bray explores antifa tactics including the dark art of doxxing, a form of online sabotage pioneered by computer hackers.

In the antifa context, doxxing means the outing of Nazi sympathisers — the publication of ­information that identifies anonymous far-right bloggers or activists, which in turn puts pressure on employers to sack them. This year a University of Nebraska philosophy student, Cooper Ward, was doxxed and unmasked as the voice on an anti-Semitic podcast, The Daily Shoah. Bray says he was driven off campus and into hiding.

“Despite the media portrayal of a deranged, bloodthirsty antifa … the vast majority of anti-fascist tactics involve no physical violence whatsoever,” Bray writes.

“Anti-fascists conduct research on the far right online, in person and sometimes through infiltration; they dox them, push cultural milieux to disown them, pressure bosses to fire them and demand that venues cancel their shows, conferences and meetings; they organise educational events, reading groups, trainings, athletic tournaments and fundraisers; they write articles, leaflets and newspapers, drop banners, and make videos … But it is also true that some of them punch Nazis in the face and don’t apologise for it.”

Got d0x?

First, yes, ‘d0xxing’ is A Thing … though in Australia it tends not to extend as far as it does elsewhere. Thus, in my own case, while I’ve named a number of local AltRight figures — David Hilton (‘Moses Apostaticus’) is one recent example — I don’t publish full deets, most infos is drawn from open-sources and often relies upon simply drawing upon previous research (or is the result of a tip-off). Thus it’s also been possible to identify a number of the nazis who assembled outside Melbourne Pavilion last week simply by referring to previously published material. Inre Cooper Ward and ‘The Daily Shoah’, Ward was one of several neo-Nazis ‘outed’ at this time, including Mike Peinovich (‘Mike Enoch’). His outing as a neo-Nazi activist resulted, inter alia, in his separation from his (Jewish) wife — but the Shoah must and has gone on. Unmentioned but relevant in this context is that both the sitting MP George Christensen and former Labor leader turned angry old pensioner Mark Latham have appeared as guests on the podcast network TRS (for which ‘The Convict Report’ is the local expression).

[snip] A problem for the Australian antifa, and indeed for anti-fascist groups in Europe and the US, is that few people and organisations they oppose here have much to do with Nazism. Consider the rollcall of hard-right leaders who turned out in Kensington in support of Yian­nopoulos. Neil Erikson, a far-right agitator and leader of a small group known as Patriot Blue, used to be a Nazi but in recent years has publicly disavowed his former beliefs and now says he is a supporter of Israel.

Who you calling a Nazi, Nazi?

First, Erikson has publicly acknowledged the fact that, from his early- to mid- teens through until the end of 2015/beginning of 2016, he considered himself — and was considered by others — a neo-Nazi activist. A former member and/or associate of Blood & Honour and Nationalist Alternative, Erikson, in addition to having a criminal conviction for stalking a rabbi (February 2014), also ran with the short-lived gang ‘Crazy White Boys’, responsible for the attempted murder of Vietnamese student Minh Duong in 2012. Secondly, prior to ‘Patriot Blue’, Erikson had cycled through numerous other brands and Facebook platforms, and no doubt will jump on another bandwagon when it suits him. Finally, given his record, it’s not unreasonable to view Erikson’s posturings — first as a neo-Nazi, now as a ‘supporter of Israel’ — with some degree of skepticism, and to view his performances as being simply (and more accurately) opportunistic exercises by an attention-seeking, racist, meathead.

Blair Cottrell, the hulking former leader of the defunct United Patriots Front, is fascinated by Adolf Hitler as a historical figure but ridicules neo-Nazism as a contemporary political movement.

Or; Pull the other one (it’s got bells on).

Of course, being a semi-rational political actor, Cottrell doesn’t want to be known as a neo-Nazi. Like others, he understands that this is — still — a political kiss-of-death, properly the domain of uniform fetishists. That said, the reasons he may be described as one are rather more extensive than an apparent fascination with Mister Hitler: from celebrating his birthday to expressing a desire for every Australian school child to be issued with a copy of Mein Kampf … annually. Cottrell’s determination to fight the moral and political degeneracy allegedly caused by The Jew — of which ‘Cultural Marxism’, ‘feminism’ and ‘multiculturalism’ are major symptoms — lies at the heart of his political vision. I documented this in early 2015, collecting a series of his online postings on sites like Facebook and YouTube and republishing them as ‘Quotations From Chairman Blair Cottrell’ (July 27, 2015). Elements of this formed the basis of a The Sydney Morning Herald article published in October 2015 (Blair Cottrell, rising anti-Islam movement leader, wanted Hitler in the classroom, Michael Bachelard, Luke McMahon, October 17, 2015). Leaving aside the fact that Cottrell and the UPF lodged with members of Aryan Nations when they held a rally in Perth; that Queensland neo-Nazi Jim Perren, along with fellow neo-Nazi Bradley Trappitt (Combat 18), organised their failed party launch in Toowoomba in early 2016 (Perren described it as a mini-Nuremberg rally minus the swastikas); that in their internal discussions Cottrell recommended reading The Protocols; that the UPF gave birth to Antipodean Resistance and The Lads Society … leaving all that, and much more, aside, it’s also the case that Cottrell was denounced as a ‘Nazi’ by his former UPF colleagues Shermon Burgess and Neil Erikson. Finally, the words of Jean-Paul Sartre are rather apt in this context:

Never believe that anti-Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words. The anti-Semites have the right to play. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert. If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument is past.

To continue:

Avi Yemini, a tough-on-crime activist, is a former Israeli soldier. He recently joined Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives and hopes to stand as a candidate in next year’s Victorian election.

Yemini is not a neo-Nazi, though he wouldn’t be the first Jew to assume such a mantle (cf. Danny Burros and Nathaniel Jacob Sassoon Sykes). Indeed, in May 2013, one Jewish bloke and Republican Party booster, David Cole/Stein, was exposed as a Holocaust denialist; most recently, he’s gone into bat for local ‘transcendental’ fascist Richard Wolstencroft. In any case, Yemini certainly loves associating with neo-Nazis and other fascists, and rarely misses an opportunity to join with them in castigating Bad People (leftists, Muslims, et. al.) for their crimes. On his relationship to the wider Jewish community, this statement by the Australian Jewish Democratic Society is germane.

As for Yiannopoulos, although some of his supporters are Nazi sympathisers — Inquirer was sent a picture of a man giving a Nazi salute as he walked out of his Kensington speaking engagement — there is scant evidence that he is.

When Yiannopoulos was preparing a treatise on the alt-right for the Breitbart website early last year, he sought the input of a white nationalist blogger and self-described Nazi, Andrew Auernheimer, and forwarded it along with contributions from other hard-right figures to his co-author, a Breitbart staff journalist. When the Buzzfeed news site obtained emails exchanged between Auernheimer and Yiannopoulos, it reported them as proof that “Breitbart and Milo smuggled Nazi and white nationalist ideas into the mainstream.” There was no smuggling involved, Nazi or otherwise; Yiannopoulos’s treatise was a rambling cook’s tour of right-wing groups, with Auernheimer quoted as an on-the-record source.

O RLLY.

Actually, the Buzzfeed article — Here’s How Breitbart And Milo Smuggled Nazi and White Nationalist Ideas Into The Mainstream (Joseph Bernstein, October 6, 2017) — does a little more than document the fact that Yiannopoulos sought the input of neo-Nazi weev into one article he — or rather one of his Breitbart lackeys — wrote. Inter alia, the article ‘also reported that Yiannopoulos’s passwords included references to Kristallnacht, the 1938 anti-Semitic German pogrom that historians mark as the beginning of the Holocaust, and the Night of the Long Knives, the murderous 1934 purge of Hitler’s onetime allies by Nazi paramilitaries.’ It also contains footage of Milo singing karaoke while his friends make Nazi salutes. In any case, Roger Mercer, the billionaire hedge-fund manager bankrolling Breitbart and Milo, recently withdrew his support (citing ‘personal reasons’ for doing so).

[snip] The fallout for antifa [from Milo’s cancelled gig at Berkeley] has been mixed. Speaking to Inquirer from New York, Bray says the movement is stronger and better organised than it was a year ago. “The spectacle of Berkeley and the precedent it set emboldened a lot of anti-racists and anti-fascists,’’ he says. “It was a call to arms for the movement.’’

Berkeley also set in train a series of events that last week culminated in FBI director Christopher Wray announcing that antifa activists were the subject of a counter-terrorism investigation. Wray told the US House of Representatives homeland security committee: “While we are not investigating antifa as antifa — that’s an ideology and we don’t investigate ideologies — we are investigating a number of what we would call anarchist-extremist … people who are motivated to commit violent criminal activity on a kind of antifa ideology.’’

(Don’t Talk To The) FBI

On June 15, 1917, President Wilson signed the Espionage Act, which delineated punishments for foreign spies and prohibited organized resistance to WWI. A great deal of repressive federal and state legislation followed, including the Trading with the Enemy and Sedition Acts. The government apparatus for enforcing these laws also expanded, including to the recently formed Bureau of Investigation (a precursor to the FBI). These mechanisms were used against anarchists, the IWW, and other left-wing organizations: on the same day that the Espionage Act took effect, police arrested Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman. The leader of the Socialist Party, Eugene Debs, was sentenced to ten years in prison for delivering an antiwar speech in Ohio in June, 1918. The ‘Red Scare’ of 1917–1921 reached a peak with the Palmer Raids of November 1919 and the targeting of the Union of Russian Workers, an anarcho-syndicalist labour union composed of Russian immigrants. On November 8, 700 police raided seventy-three radical centres, arrested more than 500 individuals, and seized tons of literature. Many of those arrested were transported to Ellis Island and deported to Russia on the transport ship, the Buford. Over 3,000 people were deported in 1919, 2,000 in 1920 and over 4,500 in 1921.

Fast-forward to the early 2000s, and the Red Scare has become the Green Scare. In January 2015, one of its primary targets, Eric McDavid, was released from prison after serving almost nine years jail, his conviction the outcome of an FBI entrapment operation. See : Manufacturing Terror: An FBI Informant Seduced Eric McDavid Into a Bomb Plot. Then the Government Lied About It., Trevor Aaronson, Katie Galloway, The Intercept, November 10, 2015. The FBI has also been actively engaged in the infiltration and disruption of other groups, projects and social movements during this period. CrimethInc:

… starting with the entrapment case of Eric McDavid—framed for a single conspiracy charge by an infiltrator who used his attraction to her to manipulate him into discussing illegal actions—the FBI seem to have switched strategies, focusing on younger targets who haven’t actually carried out any actions.

They stepped up this new strategy during the 2008 Republican National Convention, at which FBI informants Brandon Darby and Andrew Darst set up David McKay, Bradley Crowder, and Matthew DePalma on charges of possessing Molotov cocktails in two separate incidents. It’s important to note that the only Molotov cocktails that figured in the RNC protests at any point were the ones used to entrap these young men: the FBI were not responding to a threat, but inventing one.

Over the past month, the FBI have shifted into high gear with this approach. Immediately before May Day, five young men were set up on terrorism charges in Cleveland after an FBI infiltrator apparently guided them into planning to bomb a bridge, in what would have been the only such bombing carried out by anarchists in living memory. During the protests against the NATO summit in Chicago, three young men were arrested and charged with terrorist conspiracy once again involving the only Molotov cocktails within hundreds of miles, set up by at least two FBI informants.

And so on and so forth. To cut a long story short, the fact that the FBI is investigating anTEEfa should surprise no-one. As Ward Churchill has written (“To Disrupt, Discredit and Destroy”: The FBI’s Secret War against the Black Panther Party, [PDF], 1988]):

The FBI’s politically repressive activities did not commence during the 1960s, nor did they end with the formal termination of COINTELPRO in 1971. On the contrary, such operations have been sustained for nearly a century, becoming ever more refined, comprehensive and efficient. This in itself implies a marked degradation of whatever genuinely democratic possibilities once imbued “the American experiment,” an effect amplified significantly by the fact that the Bureau has consistently selected as targets those groups which, whatever their imperfections, have been most clearly committed to the realization of egalitarian ideals. All things considered, to describe the resulting sociopolitical dynamic as “undemocratic” would be to fundamentally understate the case. The FBI is and has always been a frankly anti-democratic institution, as are the social, political and economic elements it was created and maintained to protect.

Naturally, anti-fascists organise not only to defeat fascism, but also to combat repression. The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund is one such project, but there are others, and no doubt there’ll be more as the state — increasingly, in close collaboration with the corporate sector — acts to repress dissent.

See also : What Chip Le Grand gets wrogn about the Australian ‘alt-right’ (September 10, 2017) /// Three Way Fight /// Anti-Fascism Beyond the Headlines: Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore Interviews Mark Bray, LA Review of Books, December 11, 2017.

Now that Yiannopoulos’s tour has ended, antifa in Australia will readjust its sights to homegrown targets …

The risk here is that, in the absence of genuine Nazis to punch, antifa will employ its tactics against people who hold legitimate conservative political views.

Bray, who introduces his book as a “unashamedly partisan call to arms”, defends militant anti-fascism as a “reasonable, historically informed response to the fascist threat”. If that threat in Australia is more perceived [than] real, where does that leave antifa?

Bonus! Aamer

A further note on Avi Yemini’s fascist and neo-Nazi friends …

Yeah well anyway, I thought I might just note in passing some of Avi Yemini’s fanbase among the extreme-right.

To begin with, unhappy with the media reportage of his hate rally on Sunday, Avi instead recommends everybody read the report on the ‘altright’ website ‘The Unshackled’ (2016–) by Tom Pirrone. According to Tom, ‘hundreds’ attended Avi’s shindig — which is about as accurate as most of the reportage on the site, which otherwise reflects the preoccupations of the Tory yoof which constitutes its audience.

The Unhinged editors of The Unshackled are Tim Wilms and Sukith Fernando (above). Like many other #altright yoof, Sukith is a card-carrying member of the Liberal Party, and it was while campaigning for student elections that Sukith got into some hot water at the University of Sydney last week. Thus according to Honi Soit (Holocaust denying student confronted on campus, Kishor Napier-Raman and Aidan Molins, September 15, 2017): ‘Fernando was confronted on Eastern Avenue by members of both Stand Up (Labor) and Switch (Grassroots/independents) who questioned him about his beliefs. Fernando repeatedly claimed that he “didn’t know” whether the Holocaust happened.’ He is also reportedly a member of multiple right-wing Facebook groups, including one called ‘Holocaust Revisionism’.

As was the case with University of Queensland student David Hilton (‘Moses Apostaticus’), being an anti-Semite and Holocaust denier is no barrier to being adopted by more mainstream publications, including The Spectator. Thus in July Sukith contributed a sterling essay to the site (Goodbye Yassmin and #PrayForLondon, July 13, 2017) celebrating Yassmin Abdel-Magied’s decision to leave Australia for London, while also deriding her for her alleged apostasy and racism. For its part, the Liberal yoof who’ve assembled behind the ‘Vanguard’ banner to contest the election have denounced Sukith for his public expressions of racism, anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial and informed the world that, if elected, Sukith will not hold office. On the other hand, Sukith’s brave stand against The Jew at his university did at least win the approval of neo-Nazi and former Grand Poobah of the KKK, David Duke, so that’s something eh.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Leaving aside Sukith, as noted previously, the main body of supporters at Avi’s rally on Sunday were drawn from pre-existing extreme-right street gangs, especially the Soldiers of Odin and True Blue Crew. Funnily enough, apart from ignoring actually-existing laws and legal processes, the implementation of the rally’s demands — minimum sentencing for violent offenders (including minors), no bail for persons charged with violent offences, no parole for those convicted for violent offences, minors to be incarcerated in adult jails and the deportation of immigrants convicted of violent offences — would actually decimate his support base.

See also : TheDingoes.xyz /// The Convict Report /// DingoCon (July 8, 2017).

TheDingoes.xyz /// The Convict Report /// DingoCon

DingoCon

Last weekend, a small group of neo-Nazi geeks, White supremacist nerds, and extreme-right yoof met-up in Sydney to talk shop. Called ‘DingoCon’ and organised under the auspices of #DingoTwitter, the only person to have publicly confessed to having paid their $88 (fnarr fnarr) entrance fee is Melbourne-based neo-Nazi Blair Cottrell, the putative leader of the now defunct Facebook page ‘United Patriots Front’ (UPF). One person who definitely did not attend — and whose presence would apparently have been unwelcome — was Dr Jim Saleam of the Australia First Party: Everyone Wants To Be Fuehrer, but it would seem that the nü gen of Fashy Goys are keen to keep some distance from the fascists in cardigans.


Above : George Christensen poses with Kane Miller, lvl boss of the ‘True Blue Crew’.

The Dingoes

While Buzzfeed buzzed about The Dingoes back in October, to date the most publicity The Dingoes mob has received has likely come courtesy of Federal MP George Christensen, who was a guest on their podcast in February. A few months later — after having made the Columbus-like discovery that he’d been chatting to neo-Nazi yoof — Christensen declared that he’d stumbled onto the podcast entirely by mistake, was really sorry about the whole thing, and vowed to stop US neo-Nazi Mike Peinovich from coming to Australia in order to address the conference his erstwhile kameraden had organised for July. (Christensen’s sudden rise and very slow fall from Dingo grace is most-usefully examined by Richard Cooke in the July, 2017 edition of The Monthly.)*

Christensen’s decision to consort with anti-Semites angered some at the time, and Jenna Price may be correct to claim that ‘[o]nly Buzzfeed’s Mark di Stefano thought it wasn’t the best use of a politician’s time’, but as Jason Wilson wrote in February, Christensen is not the only political figure to have embraced The Dingoes:

Last week, for the second time, former Labor leader Mark Latham appeared on The Convict Report, aka The Dingoes, an Australian “alt-right” podcast. It’s part of the network of podcasts hosted by The Right Stuff, a major international far right hub. That’s the same website whose major players have been recently doxxed by the left, and whose unmasking as promoters of fascist ideology has, in some cases, brought suitably ruinous consequences.

After taking note of the fact that both Christensen and former Liberal turned Conservative Federal MP Bernardi were to be guests of The Q Society function in Melbourne in February (LOL), Wilson further writes that:

Bernardi also has other, perhaps even stranger connections. In particular, he has a long relationship with a group called the Sydney Traditionalist Forum. They describe themselves as “the first explicitly paleoconservative-leaning association in Australia”, and “the only local group that embraces the political currents of contemporary dissident reaction”. Their purpose is to provide “a forum where ideas once understood to be common sense can be exchanged, debated and discussed, unfettered and ungagged by modern liberal thought-control”.

The Sydney Traditionalists, as it happens, are also comrades of The Dingoes; which fact — together with their rejection of Dr Saleam — has apparently irked the authors of the United Nationalists of Australia (UNA) blog.

The Dingoes, Klub Naziya, Sydney Traditionalists, Liberals, United Nationalists and Australia First Party

Functioning largely as a forum for (Jewish?!) neo-Nazi and AFP member Nathan Sykes, but also occasionally featuring the musings of former UPF leader turned AFP member Chris Shortis, the UNA blog replaced the similarly batshit ‘Whitelaw Towers’, and frequently takes potshots at the various enemies and rivals of Saleam and the AFP. In keeping with this role, the blog has recently published an account of DingoCon and the nefarious forces allegedly pulling its strings.

According to UNA (‘DINGOES CONNED?’, July 6, 2017), Liberal and Leo Strauss aficionado David McBryde is ‘the man behind the curtain of DingoCon’. The logic governing the proposal is fairly convoluted but whatever its sketchy merits, it does reveal something of the fractious nature of the extreme-right in Sydney. Thus, in another post on the UNA blog authored by Saleam, McBryde is nominated as being one of a number of individuals — along with Steven Moore, Mark Pavic, Jason Rafty and Andrew Wilson — comprising the shadowy Klub Nation (AKA Klub Naziya), a bizarre group which, inter alia, organised meetings at Humanist House in Chippendale in the period 2005–2009 before staging an unsuccessful attempt to seize control of the group which owns it, the Humanist Society of NSW. KN is also alleged to have been involved in some dingbat investment scheme — the purchase of gold and silver — in which several investors allegedly lost some small sums of money. (For more on KN and Humanist House, see : Fascist infiltration of the ‘Humanist Society of New South Wales’ (Inc.), November 25, 2009.)


Above : Andrew Wilson with fellow members of (defunct) neo-Nazi skinhead gang Volksfront.

According to another source, Andrew Wilson is in fact one of the regular hosts of The Convict Report, where he podcasts under the name of ‘Aussie Tory’; certainly, Wilson once put the yoof in the Patriotik Yoof League (PYL) — the ill-fated attempt by Saleam’s Australia First Party to develop a yoof wing in the early noughties — and was one of the volk in the similarly short-lived neo-Nazi grouplet Volksfront. Since then, after various twists and turns, the PYL has been replaced by the imaginatively titled ‘Eureka Youth League’, AKA Canberra boy Matthew Grant. (You may remember Grant from such rallies as the UPF anti-Muslim rally in Bendigo in October, 2015.)

Other individuals nominated as being in some way complicit in McBryde’s plotting to undo the (White) nationalist content of The Dingoes and to bring its handful of followers (back) into the Liberal fold are: Sydney Traditionalist, DingoCon organiser, aspiring academic and self-described ‘paleo-conservative’ Luke Torrisi; fellow Traditionalist, sometime Humanist and USYD activist Morgan Qasabian and finally; Clifford Jennings, described by Saleam as an ‘Alt-Right leader and the organizer of Dingo activity’ and a former Liberal: also an aspiring USYD student politician, and organiser of a ‘Pro-Trump Counter Protest’ in Sydney in January (‘Communists, Marxists, Globalists and Cucks are going to be protesting against the inauguration of the God Emperor Trump to the Presidency of the United States of America, please join me in a very merry counter protest. Please invite those who are truly pro-Trump.’).

In summary, it’s not without reason that Jason Wilson wrote that ‘The Dingoes attempt to produce the same edgy fare as The Right Stuff flagships like The Daily Shoah, but they sound a little too much like chinless Young Liberal nerds to bring any real menace’. Beyond that, while much media reportage on the ‘AltRight’ has been obsessed with the bells and whistles (haircuts and memes) attached to it, as a general rule it’s just the old anti-Semitic and fascist whine in new bottles.

See also : Are These Two Jewish Dudes The Aussie Voice Of The Alt-Right?, Leon Gettler, Forward, April 5, 2017 | The Dingoes claim to be ‘growing’ part of Australian alternative-right political scene, Victoria Craw, news.com.au, December 5, 2016 | Big Nazi on Campus: How Well Dressed Racists Are Coming to a College Near You, It’s Going Down, May 15, 2016 | Dialectic of Counter-Enlightenment: The Frankfurt School as Scapegoat of the Lunatic Fringe, March 9, 2012.

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* Conservative MPs accidentally-stumbling-into-fascist-and-anti-Semitic-groups has a long, colourful, and generally comedic history Down Under. STRAYA has also often been a safe space for Nazi war criminals, some few recruited by the intelligence agencies to better battle Communism while others, most notoriously Slovenian Nazi propagandist Ljenko Urbančič (1922–2006), pursuing careers within the Conservative parties themselves. Urbančič, who joined the NSW Liberal Party and exercised considerable influence upon it during the 1960s and 1970s via the ‘Uglies’ faction, also enjoyed Australian hospitality by organising campaigns in support of apartheid, White rule in Rhodesia, and against the influence of liberals within the Liberals. The political legacy of the ‘Little Goebbels’ of Ljubljana continues to be exercised and/or exorcised via his #BFF and NSW state MP David Clarke and Clarke’s former acolyte, federal MP Alex Hawke. For more infos on STRAYA as a safe space for Nazis and war criminals, see : Mark Aarons, War Criminals Welcome (Black Inc., 2001).

Sadly, Mike Peinovich (‘Mike Enoch’) did not attend DingoCon, instead electing to goto the Scandza Forum in Oslo, Norway on July 1. Erik Olson (Searchlight) writes: ‘Recently a small “volkisch” far-right group called Scandza Forum started making its presence felt publicly with calls for more international activity. Some minor events took place and then we learned from our inside sources that a major event was to take place in Oslo on 1 July 2017 under the Scandza banner heavily supported by Greg Johnson’s Counter-Currents.’ Note that Johnson was a guest of The Dingoes in September last year.