The Far Right's Love of the Kremlin’s Policies

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Re: The Far Right's Love of the Kremlin’s Policies

Postby American Dream » Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:29 am

New Update And Response To The Comments Of “Teh” On Libcom.org

8th February 2018 written by ARoamingVagabond

I have updated An Investigation Into Red-Brown Alliances: Third Positionism, Russia, Ukraine, Syria, And The Western Left again and request libcom.org to please update their republication again in accordance.

The following is my reply to the comments of the user teh in the comment sections of libcom.org’s republication of my investigation and I leave it to the admins of libcom to decide what to do with it:


https://ravingsofaradicalvagabond.noblo ... ibcom-org/
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Re: The Far Right's Love of the Kremlin’s Policies

Postby American Dream » Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:53 am

http://countervortex.org/node/15837

Chechen police state turns ire on druggies

Submitted by Bill Weinberg on Tue, 02/13/2018

You could smell this one coming. Last year, horrific reports emerged from the southern Russian republic of Chechnya that authorities were rounding up gays in detainment camps and subjecting them to torture —the first time this kind of thing has happened in Europe since Nazi Germany. Now the reign of terror is being extended to drug users and small-time dealers, who are facing grisly torture at the hands of Chechen security forces as part of the same ultra-puritanical campaign. Reports describe electric current being applied to suspects' fingertips to induce them to "confess." No one has survived such questioning without eventually admitting their crime, the victims were told.

This was brought to light by a Jan. 16 account in Britain's The Independent, which translated journalism from the Russian publication Republic, one of the courageous few free media voices in Vladimir Putin's increasingly authoritarian state. According to Republic's investigation, at least dozens and possibly hundreds of arbitrary arrests of drug suspects have been carried out in Chechnya over recent months, often in resulting torture and "extreme interrogation techniques"—in an almost an exact mirror of what was called the "gay purge."

The official number of drug arrests in Chechnya last year is given as 507, but the rate has escalated in recent months, in what appears to be a coordinated campaign of repression.

Chechnya's President Ramzan Kadyrov, a key ally of Putin, won Moscow's support by putting down the Islamist insurgents and separatists in the Caucasus republic. But Kadyrov's regime is being given free rein to impose his own brand of Islamist rule in Chechnya as the price of his loyalty to Moscow. Ironically (if predictably), his rhetoric conflates drug-users and jihadi terrorists (who are, needless to say, just as zealously anti-drug as he is).

"It is one and the same thing," he proclaimed in one speech. "The drug user is no less of a source of evil than the terrorist, because he hooks the youth into dependence, and they are the future of our republic."

In September 2016, Kadyrov called on his security forces to kill drug users on sight—a stance also being popularized by such figures as the Philippines' would-be dictator Rodrigo Duterte.

"Shoot them, to hell with them," he was quoted as saying. "Nothing matters—the law, no law. Shoot them, do you understand? As-salaam Alaikum! That's law for you!" (Salaam Alaikum is Arabic for farewell, or "Go in peace"—obviously intended with sinister sarcasm here.)

Also predictably, it seems like many of those detained and tortured as drug suspects are actually critics of the Kadyrov regime. This certainly seems to be the case in the Jan. 9 arrest of Oyub Titiev, 60, one of Chechnya's most prominent human rights activists. Police say they found 180 grams of cannabis in his car.

Human Rights Watch calls the marijuana charges against Titiev "blatantly fabricated," and expresses fears for his safety. HRW notes that Titiev took over leadership of human rights organization Memorial after the 2009 kidnapping and murder of his colleague in the group, Natalia Estemirova. And a week after Titiev's arrest, masked assailants set fire to Memorial's local office in Ingushetia—a 90-minute drive from Chechnya's capital Grozny, destroying most of it.

Also after Titiev's arrest, Chechen police harassed the landlord of Memorial's Grozny office, warning her, "Don't you know who you're renting to?" And right on cue, Kadyrov unleashed a stream of invective against Memorial, calling them hired "snitches" and "enemies of the people" who "have no Motherland, no ethnicity, no religion…" For good measure, he added: "Well, I will tell you how we are going to break the spine of our enemies."

Finally, in case there was any ambiguity that Titiev's pot bust was anything other than political persecution, someone set fire to the car of one of Memorial's drivers. This attack was accompanied by repeated text messages to Memorial's mobile phone saying, "You're walking on the edge of the abyss. Shut down! Next time we’ll burn your office, with you inside. The car is just a warning."

Just to complete the sense of deja vu, Human Rights Watch also notes that after the "gay purge" last year, Chechnya's official news agency, Grozny Info, quoted numerous local commentators bashing the newspaper that broke that story, Novaya Gazeta as "enemies" of Chechnya and Russia, accusing them of attempting to "foster sodomy," and undermine "traditional values."

After more than a decade of ruling Chechnya, Kadyrov has transformed the republic into what some call "a totalitarian state within a state." If the petty little police state in the Chechen Republic is any indication of where Putin's Russia is headed generally, tokers, gays and cultural non-conformists as well as political dissidents had better beware.
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Re: The Far Right's Love of the Kremlin’s Policies

Postby American Dream » Wed Feb 14, 2018 5:41 pm

The Russian billionaire carrying out Putin’s will across Europe

Konstantin Malofeev finances what the Kremlin can’t.
JUSTIN SALHANI
JAN 4, 2017


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In this is Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014 file photo, a pro-Russian missile launcher drives in the town of Krasnodon.

The Kremlin has steadily bolstered Europe’s fringe nationalist parties in the last couple years, developing key relationships with various party leaders and officials. One Russian name that consistently emerges in connection with Europe’s far-right and far-left nationalist movements is Konstantin Malofeev — a wealthy Orthodox businessman and Russian ultra-nationalist sometimes called “Putin’s Soros”.

Malofeev, 42, made his fortune in private equity and now runs Russia’s largest charity —the St. Basil the Great Foundation. He’s also president of Katehon, a right-wing think tank, and started his own television station, Tsargrad TV, a platform for figures like American conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and Russian philosopher Aleksandr Dugin — a man known as “Putin’s Rasputin,” as well as a member of Katehon’s supervisory board. Malofeev is a traditionalist, much like Dugin, and a devout practitioner of the Orthodox faith.

“[Malofeev is] very ideological, patriotic and believes in the idea of a great and Orthodox Russia,” Alexei Makarkin, an analyst at the Centre for Political Technologies think-tank, told the Financial Times.

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As a believer in the Russian empire on a cultural and religious level, Malofeev’s goals align with those held by some of Europe’s fringe parties. Both would like to see the weakening of the European Union.

In 2014, Malofeev attended a Vienna-based conference for Europe’s far-right parties. Also in attendance were Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s National Front, who openly supports Putin and accepted at least 9 million euros in Russia-backed loans in 2014; and Austria’s Heinz-Christian Strache, leader of the Freedom Party, which was recently defeated in national elections.

Aymeric Chauprade, then an adviser to Le Pen, spoke at an anti-LGBT round table discussion hosted by Malofeev’s charity at the Kremlin in 2013. That same conference was attended by Brian Brown, the president of the National Organization for Marriage, an organization the Southern Poverty Law Center labels an anti-LGBT hate group.

Malofeev’s ties to the American religious right extend beyond just Brown. He also hired former Fox News employee and devoted Catholic Jack Hannick to help launch Tsargrad TV.

In addition to traveling in far-right circles across the West, Malofeev also occasionally dabbles in far-left politics. In 2014, a Russian hacking collective called Shaltai Boltai released a trove of emails between Georgy Gavrish — an associate of the right-wing philosopher Dugin — and Syriza officials, in which they discussed efforts by Malofeev and Dugin to identify political partners in Greece with Russian sympathies.

Nikos Kotzias, Greece’s minister of foreign affairs and a party member, is personally close to Dugin. In 2013, Kotzias was a professor at the University of Piraeus and invited Dugin to give a speech on International politics and the Eurasianist vision.

Malofeev’s involvement in Russia’s imperial ambitions and aspirations to weaken the European Union precede the current alliances with Europe’s fringe political movements.


Continues at: https://thinkprogress.org/putins-man-in ... e6bb48d76/
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Re: The Far Right's Love of the Kremlin’s Policies

Postby American Dream » Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:14 am

Why do Italian fascists adore Syria's Bashar al-Assad?
by Patrick Strickland
14 Feb 2018


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Across Europe and North America, white supremacist groups continue to pledge support for Assad [File: SANA via Reuters]

Rome, Italy - Six and a half years into the ongoing bloodshed in Syria, General Issam Zahreddine, infamous for breaking the suffocating three-year siege of Deir Az Zor, was killed by a landmine.

He died in October 2017, when his vehicle hit an explosive in Hawija Saqr during the government's military campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS).

For supporters of the Syrian opposition, Zahreddine was the "butcher of Deir Az Zor" and a leading culprit behind widespread torture that allegedly took place at the hands of authorities.

For Assad supporters, however, the general and the Assad government represent a fortress against the ethnic and religious sectarianism of a conflict which has provided few viable alternatives.

In May 2016, a year and a half before his death, photos circulated on social media appeared to depict Zahreddine posing next to the severed remains of people who were killed, sliced up and left hanging.


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Issam Zahreddine allegedly posing next to mutilated corpses [Screenshot from social media]

Yet outside Syria, from North America to Europe, some of Assad's most vocal supporters come from the far right.

Days after Zahreddine's death, posters mourning the general appeared across Italian cities and towns, according to a report by the Italian daily, La Stampa.

Those posters were printed by CasaPound, a self-proclaimed fascist party and one of many far-right groups worldwide that support Assad's government.

Along with Italy's far-right Forza Nuova, Greece's neo-fascist Golden Dawn, the UK's British National Party (BNP) and Poland's ultranationalist National Rebirth, among others, CasaPound is part of an international front rallying on behalf of the Syrian president and sending solidarity delegations to the war-ravaged country.


More at: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/i ... 53121.html
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Re: The Far Right's Love of the Kremlin’s Policies

Postby American Dream » Fri Feb 16, 2018 5:02 pm

Orthodox Internationalism: Why religion matters in global history and International Relations

PUBLISHED ON February 5, 2018 by CIGH Exeter

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The Russian Orthodox Church was vocal in its support of the Russian military intervention in Syria. ‘The fight with terrorism is a holy battle and today our country is perhaps the most active force in the world fighting it,’ declared Vsevolod Chaplin, former head of the Church’s public affairs department, who also called for a more active Russian military engagement in Ukraine.

Tobias Rupprecht
University of Exeter


Russia has re-emerged as an imperial power during Vladimir Putin’s third term as president. In the Syrian civil war, the Russian military intervention turned the tides in favour of Bashar al-Assad. The Kremlin has incited separatism and war in Ukraine, supports Serbian nationalists and secessional Abkhazians, has refreshed traditional friendships with Bulgaria and Macedonia, and it has struck a deal with the Cypriote government that allows the Russian navy to use the island’s ports. In the Southern European debt crisis, Russia offered substantial financial aid to Greece. What links all these countries is that they all are traditionally home to large groups of Orthodox believers. Is this a coincidence?


https://imperialglobalexeter.com/2018/0 ... relations/
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Re: The Far Right's Love of the Kremlin’s Policies

Postby American Dream » Mon Feb 19, 2018 8:50 am

The three degrees of separation between Lyndon LaRouche, the left, and the alt-right (part five)

This is the fifth and final installment in a series of articles about LaRouche’s movement that began on July 31, 2017 with the intention of demonstrating what a real fascist movement in the USA looked like as compared to the spectacles mounted by Richard Spencer and alt-right websites like the Daily Stormer. Unlike the fascists of today, LaRouche had built bridges to the CIA and important rightwing politicians, including Reagan administration officials. Even though objective conditions precluded him from ever achieving his dream of becoming the American Führer, his reach extended into the ruling class as well as into the corrupted trade union movement, especially the Teamsters.

In exploiting the fund-raising potentials of his cult members phone-banking elderly Republican Party voters to support the “Reagan revolution”, LaRouche diverted funds into his lavish life-style, including a 13-room mansion in Leesburg, Virginia.

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The authorities finally caught up to him in 1988. After being found guilty of conspiracy to commit mail fraud of more than $30 million in defaulted loans, eleven counts of actual mail fraud involving $294,000 in defaulted loans, and a single count of conspiring to defraud the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, he was sentenced to 15 years but was released on January 26, 1994.

Keep in mind that LaRouche’s basic program prior to his imprisonment mapped closely to the Reagan administration’s, including the ardent support of Star Wars and the expansion of NATO. A lot of his economic policies had much more in common with “statism”, including the support of vast infrastructure projects that sounded both like what FDR carried out as well as Hitler and Mussolini. In addition, his primary allies were outright fascists such as Roy Frankhouser Jr., a former Grand Dragon of the KKK.

Much of my analysis was based on Dennis King’s “Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism” that concludes with his arrest in 1986. I had not given much thought to LaRouche in the more recent period except to take the time to give his cult followers a hard time whenever they set up a table in front of my high-rise on the Upper East Side.

However, after my first installment appeared, I was startled to discover from a friend and comrade that his movement was deeply involved in the propaganda network defending Bashar al-Assad and the Russian intervention in the Ukraine.

So I’ve come across the Larouchies several times while covering the Syrian conflict. While the Larouche organization itself is persona non grata in mainstream political circles there are several Larouchie and ex Larouchie organizations and individuals who are very active on the “alt right” and the Assadist pro-Putin “alt left.” There is a lot of spillover with Russia Today as well. it’s notable that during the 2011 Tahrir Square protests Russia Today featured Lyndon Larouche himself as an expert on the events. Many Larouche affiliated organizations seem to enjoy very active relationships with authoritarian regimes, an alliance that has become more useful to these governments after the Arab Spring created the need for a fresh crop of conspiracy theories to justify remaining in power.

Syrian UN ambassador recently spoke at a Schiller Institute a few months ago and he appeared very familiar with the individuals and the organization. The Virginia State senator Richard Black, who has raised red flags with his repeated contacts with the Assad regime, including a visit during which he posed in the cockpit of a Syrian government fighter Jet, has been a go to commentator on Syria for the LarochePAC YouTube channel. In a shockingly bizarre incident earlier this year, The Schiller Institute Chorus sang the Russian National Anthem after somehow duping local law enforcement into holding a ceremony with Russian diplomats after the crash of a Tu-154 crash that killed the Red Army Choir. It’s very noteworthy that the ceremony treats the incident as a terrorist attack and tries to draw a parallel to the 9-11 attacks even though the official Russian position is that this incident was an accident.


Continues at: https://louisproyect.org/2018/02/18/the ... part-five/
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Re: The Far Right's Love of the Kremlin’s Policies

Postby American Dream » Mon Feb 19, 2018 2:52 pm

MAGAs insist that Mueller’s indictment of Russians somehow proves there was “no collusion.” It doesn’t.

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I think there might be something to see here


The notion that today’s indictment somehow “clears” Trump and his pals is of course absurd. Insofar as it is based on anything at all, it is based on a gross misunderstanding or deliberate misrepresentation of a couple of remarks from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s announcement of the indictments today.

Rosenstein, clearly choosing his words carefully, noted in his remarks that “there is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity.”

Nothing in this statement suggests that there was “no collusion.” Rosenstein is simply noting that no Americans are being charged with collusion “in this indictment.”

Mueller isn’t closing up shop just yet, and we can expect more indictments to come. Some of which will, I suspect, involve charges against more than a few Americans for knowingly conspiring with the Russian election-meddlers.

Rosenstein also noted that “there is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.”

Again, that’s not PROOF that there was no effect, or anything like that. The DOJ has made clear in the past that it is not their job to prove or disprove that the Russian meddling led to Trump’s victory, merely that Russians did in fact meddle. The DOJ is professionally agnostic on the issue of effect.

Don’t expect any of this to penetrate the MAGA mind. Indeed, alt-lite conspiracy-monger and alleged wannabe adulterer Jack Posobiec is even charging “The Left” with ignoring reality. (A bit rich coming from a former Pizzagate promoter.)


http://www.wehuntedthemammoth.com/2018/ ... it-doesnt/
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Re: The Far Right's Love of the Kremlin’s Policies

Postby American Dream » Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:38 pm

Significant Updates And Revisions

written by ARoamingVagabond

I have added significant updates, revisions and corrections to An Investigation into Red-Brown Alliances: Third Positionism, Russia, Ukraine, Syria, and the Western Left and request everyone who has republished it to please update their republication.


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Re: The Far Right's Love of the Kremlin’s Policies

Postby American Dream » Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:33 am

The Anthropology of Death

by Igor Yakovenko
13 February 2018


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When Russian MP Vyacheslav Nikonov, speaking on the TV program Evening with Vladimir Solovyov, suggested honoring Roman Filippov, the SU-25 pilot who was killed in Syria on 3 February, with a minute of silence, the American expert [sic] Gregory Vinnikov retorted, “He quit his hut and went to fight for the land of Syria.”

This provoked Nikonov and Solovyov’s other guests to try and kick Vinnikov out of the studio. Ultimately, they were joined by Solovyov himself, who told the studio and home audience that there is a “respect for death” in Russia. So Vinnikov had to leave.

When Dmitry Gudkov was still an MP, he tried twice—in February 2015 and February 2016—to ask his fellow MPs to honor the memory of Boris Nemtsov, who was assassinated a few steps away from the Kremlin, with a minute of silence. The MPs refused both times. The degree to which death is respected in Putinist Russia depends on the dead person’s political stance.

In recent years, the Putin regime has murdered over ten thousand Ukrainian citizens, and, in cahoots with the Assad regime and its accomplices, has murdered several hundred thousand Syrian citizens. No one on Solovyov’s program or in the Russian State Duma has ever proposed honoring these victims of Putinist fascism. The degree to which death is respected in Putinist Russia depends on ethnicity and nationality. The death of “one of our boys” is deserving of respect, while the death of a stranger or outsider is not.

Roman Filippov was a fighter pilot. He flew an attack aircraft in the skies of a foreign country. His objective was to “destroy ground targets,” which included killing people on the ground. We do not know how many Syrians were killed by Filippov, but he was an enemy of the Syrian people. When he was dying, Filippov cried out, “For the boys!” Neither Syria nor its people have attacked Russia. Filippov and his military buddies (“the boys”) attacked Syria and its people on Putin’s orders. The Syrians have been fighting a war at home against invaders (Russians, Iranians, Turks) and the puppet dictator Assad.

Putin awarded the title of Hero of Russia to Filippov, who was made an invader by his grace and was killed as an invader in a foreign country. Tens of thousands of people attended Filippov’s funeral in Voronezh. The media say the figure was thirty thousand. Judging by the photographs and videos from the scene, this is no exaggeration. I don’t agree with those who claim all those people were forced to attend. Many of them clearly believed a hero who had perished defending the Motherland was being buried. Television has a firm grip on them.


Continues at: https://antidotezine.com/2018/02/21/the ... -of-death/
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Re: The Far Right's Love of the Kremlin’s Policies

Postby American Dream » Fri Feb 23, 2018 9:41 am

Russia and the Western Far Right: Introduction


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Introduction*

In the recent few years, there has been a growing concern in the West about the convergence or, at least, marriage of convenience between Vladimir Putin’s Russia and far-right forces in the West, most notably in Europe. Indeed, we have witnessed the increasing number of far-right politicians’ statements praising Putin’s Russia and contacts between the Western far right and Russian officials and other actors.

Concerns about these developments seem to be even more pronounced given the present condition of the West characterised – among many other ills – by the threat of terrorist attacks, migration and refugee crises, austerity policies, the Eurozone crisis and perceived lack of effective leadership. Moscow’s apparent cooperation with the far right, which blame liberal-democratic governments for the West’s woes, is often interpreted, especially in the Western mainstream media, as an attempt to weaken the West even further and undermine liberal democracy internationally. For example, an article in Foreign Policy argues that ‘Russian support of the far right in Europe has [to do] with [Putin’s] desire to destabilize European governments, prevent EU expansion, and help bring to power European governments that are friendly to Russia’. An article in The Economist presumes that the rise of the far right ‘is more likely to influence national politics and to push governments into more Eurosceptic positions’ and this will make it harder ‘for the Europeans to come up with a firm and united response to Mr Putin’s military challenge to the post-war order in Europe’.

Are these fears and anxieties regarding Moscow’s intentions or expectations justified? Does Putin’s Russia – by cooperating with illiberal and isolationist politicians and activists in the West – pursue policies seeking to undermine Western liberal-democratic governments and weaken Western unity? At the same time, why has Putin’s Russia recently become a focal point for many Western far-right parties and organisations and what do they expect from cooperation with Russia? These questions constitute some of the main issues addressed in this book.

However, they cannot be pursued out of a more general context. Thus, before I proceed with a discussion of the existing literature on the subject and outline the main hypotheses and structure of the book, I will provide this general context by giving a brief overview of Russia’s contemporary relations with the West, on the one hand, and surveying the contemporary far-right milieu, on the other, as well as explaining major concepts and terms used throughout the book.

Re-emergence of the Russian challenge

After the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, the West welcomed Russia as a democratising state and embraced its apparent desire to integrate into the Western markets and political institutions. As a legal successor of the Soviet Union, post-Soviet Russia assumed the Union’s seat in the United Nations (UN), including the permanent seat in the UN Security Council, thus retaining the powerful instrument of exerting international influence. The European Economic Community and, later, the European Union (EU) became Russia’s main trading partner; Russia joined the Council of Europe (CoE) in 1996 and was admitted into the Group of Seven (better known as G7), the elite club of major industrialised countries that, consequently, became G8 in 1997. The same year, the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council was created and then replaced, in 2002, by the NATO-Russia Council, ‘a mechanism for consultation, consensus building, cooperation, joint decision and joint action, in which the individual NATO member states and Russia work as equal partners on a wide spectrum of security issues of common interest’. It appeared that – recalling the intellectual movements in the Russian Empire in the nineteenth century – the Russian Westernisers (zapadniki) eventually won over the Slavophiles (slavophily), the adherents of Russia’s authoritarian ‘special path’.

In reality, however, the relations between the West and Russia already in the 1990s were a cynical case of (self-)deception. While presenting itself as a striving liberal democracy, Russia occupied part of post-Soviet Moldova and backed the creation of an unrecognised state of Transnistria in 1992. In 1994–1996, Russian armed forces ruthlessly suppressed the Chechen separatists during the First Chechen War. None of these developments hampered Russia’s joining the CoE. Perhaps predictably, Russia has failed to honour some of the most important obligations and commitments that it undertook when it joined the CoE: it has not ratified Protocol No. 6 to the European Convention on Human Rights concerning the abolition of the death penalty; neither has Russia denounced the concept of ‘near abroad’ that effectively identified the other former Soviet republics as Russia’s zone of special influence; nor has Russia withdrawn its troops from Transnistria although it officially agreed to do it first by 1998 and, later, by the end of 2002. The CoE would repeatedly reprimand the Russian authorities over the non-fulfilment of their obligations and commitments, but Russia ignored the appeals and went unpunished.

Western liberal progressivists assumed that it was necessary to be patient with Russia: its pace of reforms might not be as fast as that of Poland or Hungary, but Russia’s integration into the capitalist market and international institutions would put the country firmly on the track democratising political reforms. This assumption failed miserably.

In the 1990s, Russia’s transition from a socialist planned economy to a capitalist market economy turned into a catastrophe for the Russian society. As David Satter put it, the course of reforms in Russia was shaped by a set of attitudes that included ‘social darwinism, economic determinism and a tolerant attitude toward crime’. While the population became impoverished, money was concentrated ‘in the hands of gangsters, corrupt former members of the Soviet nomenklatura, and veterans of the underground economy. Resources were controlled by government officials’. The Russian state itself turned into what can – in an exaggerated form – be called ‘a mafia state’. Ironically, the first noteworthy assessment of Russia as a mafia state originated from Russia’s first president Boris Yeltsin himself: in 1994, he publicly described his own country as the ‘biggest mafia state in the world’ and the ‘superpower of crime’. Behind these sensationalist terms was the fact that [int he words of Serguei Cheloukhine and Maria R. Haberfeld]:

Corruption in Russia has penetrated the political, economic, judicial and social systems so thoroughly that has ceased to be a deviation from the norm and has become the norm itself. By pursuing poorly thought-out actions during its transition to a market economy [in the 1990s], the state became a generator of crime; in other words, the authorities became criminal-based institutions generating a social behaviour.


All-permeating corruption became a major foundation of the ‘virtuality’ of Russia as a democratic state. This ‘virtuality’ was further advanced by the development of a new class of people who helped the ruling elites run the country, namely political technologists, ‘ultra-cynical political manipulators who created a fake democracy because Yeltsin couldn’t build a real one, and who distracted the population with carefully scripted drama because the energy wealth had temporarily stopped flowing’. In a sense, political technology in Yeltsin’s Russia became a substitute for efficient political institutions, just as corruption was a substitute for working economic institutions that Yeltsin failed to build after the demise of the Soviet Union.

The West played a detrimental role in this process: not only did Western capitals ignore the negative developments in Russia, ‘the Western community [also] allowed the Russian elite to turn its banks and business structures into machines for laundering Russian dirty money. And the West’s political and business circles understood perfectly what was going on’.

Western governments did heavily criticise the Russian authorities over their actions during the Second Chechen War that started in 1999. There were strong statements and speculations about Western economic sanctions against Russia. US President Bill Clinton threatened that Russia would ‘pay a heavy price’ for its actions, while UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook compared Russia’s tactics in Chechnya to those of Yugoslavia’s President Slobodan Milošević in Kosovo – this was a menacing statement considering that NATO allies had bombed Milošević’s Yugoslavia for the persecution of the Albanian population in Kosovo. However, no matter how strong the words of Western leaders were, none of their statements was accompanied by any policy initiative. The head of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) acknowledged there was little that the organisation could do ‘beyond attempting to put moral pressure on Moscow’. The Parliamentary Assembly of the CoE (PACE) suspended Russia in 2000 because of the human rights violations in Chechnya, but reinstated it within less than a year, despite the fact that Russia continued to violate human rights in the insurgent region.

After Putin replaced Yeltsin as Russian president, the situation gradually worsened. Not only did Russia maintain military presence in Moldova’s Transnistria in violation of its commitments and invade Georgia in 2008 without any consequences from the West, but Putin’s regime became also increasingly right-wing, authoritarian, patrimonial and anti-Western.

To thwart the attempts of some countries in the ‘near abroad’, in particular Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, to move closer to the West, Moscow drew upon the Soviet experience of so-called active measures (aktivnye meropriyatiya). According to one Soviet top-secret counterintelligence dictionary, active measures are ‘actions of counterintelligence that allow it to gain an insight into an enemy’s intentions, forewarn his undesirable moves, mislead the enemy, take the lead from him, disrupt his subversive actions’. Active measures are implemented through ‘actions aimed at creating agent positions in the enemy camp and its environment, playing operational games with the enemy directed at disinforming, discrediting and corrupting enemy forces’. Oleg Kalugin, former Major General of the Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti (Committee for State Security, KGB), described active measures as ‘the heart and soul of the Soviet intelligence’:

Not intelligence collection, but subversion: active measures to weaken the West, to drive wedges in the Western community alliances of all sorts, particularly NATO, to sow discord among allies, to weaken the United States in the eyes of the people of Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and thus to prepare ground in case the war really occurs. To make America more vulnerable to the anger and distrust of other peoples.


From a practical perspective, according to Richard Shultz and Roy Godson, active measures could be ‘conducted overtly through officially sponsored foreign propaganda channels, diplomatic relations and cultural diplomacy’, while covert political techniques included ‘the use of covert propaganda, oral and written disinformation, agents of influence, clandestine radios, and international front organizations’. Scientific progress and subsequent technological innovations since the Cold War have obviously contributed to the enhancement of both overt and covert political techniques.

Until 2014, the extent of Russia’s active measures in the West – perhaps with the exception of the Baltic states – was limited. Russian authorities preferred to use their personal contacts with Western leaders and economic cooperation to advance their interests in the West. Given the domination of postmodern Realpolitik in the West, the Kremlin was largely successful in its endeavours, while Putin’s apparently friendly relations with Silvio Berlusconi (Prime Minister of Italy in 1994–1995, 2001–2006 and 2008–2011), Gerhard Schröder (Chancellor of Germany in 1998–2005) and, to a lesser extent, Nicolas Sarkozy (President of France in 2007–2012) allowed Moscow and Western capitals to ‘smooth away’ their differences to the disadvantage of human rights and political freedoms in Russia, as well as national security of the countries in the ‘near abroad’. In 2009, even the Obama administration, following the Russian invasion of Georgia, attempted to improve relations with Russia with the help of a so-called ‘reset’, although it did not collaborate as closely.

After Russia had occupied and then annexed Ukraine’s Autonomous Republic of Crimea and invaded Eastern Ukraine in 2014, some Western leaders belatedly realised – often without admitting their own complacency – that Putin’s regime became too assertive and defiant, as well as directly threatening European security and challenging the post-war order. Russia was suspended from the PACE and G8, while the EU, United States, Canada, Norway, Switzerland and some other nations imposed political and economic sanctions on Russia and its officials over the aggression against Ukraine.

Not only did Moscow respond with anti-Western sanctions, but also Russian state-controlled structures as well as groups loyal to the Kremlin dramatically stepped up active measures and other subversive activities inside the West. According to a report by the Chatham House, Putin’s Russia has used ‘a wide range of hostile measures’ including ‘energy cut-offs and trade embargoes, . . . subversive use of Russian minorities, malicious cyber activity of various forms, and the co-option of business and political elites’. A report by the Center for European Policy and Analysis argues that, in the West, the Kremlin ‘promotes conspiratorial discourse and uses disinformation to pollute the information space, increase polarization and undermine democratic debate. Russia’s actions accelerate the declining confidence in international alliances and organizations, public institutions and mainstream media’. Moreover, Russia ‘exploits ethnic, linguistic, regional, social and historical tensions, and promotes anti-systemic causes, extending their reach and giving them a spurious appearance of legitimacy’.

To a certain extent, today’s cooperation between various Russian pro-Kremlin actors and Western far-right politicians may be seen as an integral part of Moscow’s active measures in the West. However, it seems to be oversimplification to limit the relations between Russia and the Western far right to the Kremlin’s active measures, at least because such an assumption would reduce the agency of the other major element of this relationship, namely the far right itself.

European far-right milieu

The term ‘far right’ is used here as an umbrella term that refers to a broad range of ideologues, groups, movements and political parties to the right of the centre right. It is probably impossible to define an umbrella term such as ‘far right’ as anything less vague than a range of political ideas that imbue a nation (interpreted in various ways) with a value that surpasses the value of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Thus, the concept of a nation is central to all manifestations of the far right, but they differ in the ways they imagine the ‘handling’ of a nation.

The exponents of fascism, which was the very first far-right ideology to have acquired worldwide significance, offered arguably the most radical approach to ‘handling’ a nation. According to Roger Griffin, fascism can be defined as

a revolutionary species of political modernism originating in the early twentieth century whose mission is to combat the allegedly degenerative forces of contemporary history (decadence) by bringing about an alternative modernity and temporality (a ‘new order’ and a ‘new era’) based on the rebirth, or palingenesis, of the nation. Fascists conceive the nation as an organism shaped by historic, cultural, and in some cases, ethnic and hereditary factors, a mythic construct incompatible with liberal, conservative, and communist theories of society. The health of this organism they see undermined as much by the principles of institutional and cultural pluralism, individualism, and globalized consumerism promoted by liberal ism as by the global regime of social justice and human equality identified by socialism in theory as the ultimate goal of history, or by the conservative defence of ‘tradition’.


In the two twentieth-century European regimes, which successfully implemented essential tenets of fascism on the state level, namely Benito Mussolini’s Italy and Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich, fascisms differed largely in that Italian Fascists conceived the nation in ethnic terms, while the German National Socialists articulated their idea of the nation in racial terms, or to be more precise, in terms of the Volk, a metaphysical notion incorporating the concepts of race, German history and culture. The difference in these interpretations of the nation as the core concept for the definition of fascism allows for distinguishing a very specific form of fascism, namely National Socialism or Nazism, that emphasises a specifically racist or völkische interpretation of one’s own nation.

After the military defeat of the Third Reich in 1945, fascism was forced to evolve into three major forms. Organisations that still wanted to participate in the political process had to dampen their revolutionary ardour rather dramatically and translate it ‘as far as possible into the language of liberal democracy’. This strategy gave birth to the non-fascist phenomenon of radical right-wing political parties. Revolutionary ultranationalists, on the other hand, retreated to the fringes of sociopolitical life in the West. As they still remained true to the idea of an alternative totalitarian modernity underpinned by the palingenesis of the nation – however unrealistic its implementation was in the post-war period – their ideas and doctrines were termed as neo-fascist (but sometimes simply fascist) or neo-Nazi. The third form of post-war fascism appeared only at the end of the 1960s and was associated, first, with the French New Right (or Nouvelle Droite) and, later, with the European New Right. This is a movement that consists of clusters of think-tanks, conferences, journals, institutes and publishing houses that try to modify the dominant liberal-democratic political culture and make it more susceptible to a nondemocratic mode of politics. Importantly, the European New Right has focused almost exclusively on the battle for hearts and minds rather than for immediate political power. As biological racism became totally discredited in the post-war period, the European New Right came up with the idea of ethno-pluralism arguing that peoples differed not in biological or ethnic terms but rather in terms of culture. Naturally, the above-mentioned forms of the far right thought need to be treated as ‘ideal types’ in the Weberian sense of the term. The boundaries between them are often blurred, while their various permutations – including those adopting elements of other, non-nationalist ideologies – embodied in the plethora of groups, movements and organisations have acquired new names such as national-revolutionary and national anarchist movements, racial separatism, Radical Traditionalism, national communism, Identitarian Movement, Third Position, neo-Eurasianism, etc.

Radical right-wing political parties are arguably the most widespread form of far-right politics today. Michael Minkenberg defines right-wing radicalism as ‘a political ideology, whose core element is a myth of a homogeneous nation, a romantic and populist ultranationalism directed against the concept of liberal and pluralistic democracy and its underlying principles of individualism and universalism’. He argues that ‘the nationalistic myth’ of right-wing radicalism ‘is characterized by the effort to construct an idea of nation and national belonging by radicalizing ethnic, religious, cultural, and political criteria of exclusion and to condense the idea of nation into an image of extreme collective homogeneity’.

Cas Mudde provides yet another insightful interpretation of what he calls ‘radical right-wing populism’ suggesting that it can be defined as a ‘combination of three core ideological features: nativism, authoritarianism, and populism’. As Mudde argues, nativism ‘holds that states should be inhabited exclusively by members of the native group (“the nation”) and that non-native elements (persons and ideas) are fundamentally threatening to the homogenous nation-state’; authoritarianism implies ‘the belief in a strictly ordered society, in which infringements of authority are to be punished severely’; and populism ‘is understood as a thin-centred ideology that considers society to be ultimately separated into two homogeneous and antagonistic groups, “the pure people” versus “the corrupt elite”’.

There is less academic consensus on the differences between the radical right and the extreme right, and, for example, French and German scholars of far-right politics use the terms like droite radicale or Rechtsradikalismus less often than the terms extrême droite or Rechtsextremismus when they refer to the political phenomena that, especially in the Anglo-Saxon academic world, would generally be distinguished between right-wing radicalism (or radical right-wing populism) and right-wing extremism. In this book, this distinction exists and implies that the difference between radical right-wing and extreme right-wing movements and parties is their attitude towards violence as an instrument of achieving political goals: the former reject it, while the latter tolerate or even embrace it.

The blurring of the boundaries between various forms of far-right politics is also reflected in the ideological heterogeneity of the electorally most successful far-right parties of today, namely the radical right-wing populist parties. Many of these parties have long political histories, and, over the years, they have integrated many activists coming from the movements and organisations of varying degrees of radicalism or extremism. Activists who have fascist, neo-Nazi or extreme-right background may and usually do moderate under the pressure of the party leadership who – for political or tactical reasons – believe that extremist ideas and rhetoric will be harmful for electoral success.

Indeed, the deradicalisation process has become a common stage for the most successful European far-right parties today. The Norwegian Fremskrittspartiet (Progress Party), which was considered a radical right-wing party in the past, has gradually removed or toned down most of its hardliners and now perhaps cannot be even considered a far-right party anymore. In the European Parliament, the Dansk Folkeparti (Danish People’s Party) and Perussuomalaiset (The Finns) prefer to cooperate with conservative parties such as the UK’s Conservative Party and Poland’s Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (Law and Justice), rather than with the radical right-wing populists represented, for example, by France’s Front National (National Front, FN), Austria’s Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs (Freedom Party of Austria, FPÖ) or Italy’s Lega Nord (Northern League, LN). However, the FN, FPÖ and LN have taken steps to moderate too. Under the leadership of Marine Le Pen, the FN even expelled her father and the FN’s long-time President Jean-Marie Le Pen for his radicalism. In the recent years, Hungary’s radical right-wing Jobbik party, too, has considerably toned down its anti-Semitic and anti-Roma rhetoric, and the deradicalisation strategy has proved to be relatively successful: at the time of the writing, Jobbik is the second most popular party in Hungary.

There is a historical precedent for this process: the most notable early example of deradicalisation of the far-right is the refashioning of the fascist Movimento Sociale Italiano (Italian Social Movement) into a ‘post-fascist’ party in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This was followed by the expulsion of right-wing extremists and transformation into the national-conservative Alleanza Nazionale (National Alliance) in 1995, and, eventually, the merger of the Alleanza Nazionale into Silvio Berlusconi’s now defunct centre-right Popolo della Libertà (People of Freedom) in 2009.

Deradicalisation has contributed to the growing popular support for the ‘moderated’ radical right-wing parties, allowing them to enter sectors of the political spectrum that mainstream parties have long abandoned. Compared to the 1990s, the ‘moderate’ radical right now have even more appeal to liberal voters concerned about identity issues, to the working class on labour and immigration issues, and to conservative voters anxious to preserve so-called traditional values.

Doubtlessly, deradicalisation is not a mandatory condition for the electoral success of the far right, which is corroborated by the electoral fortunes of the Greek neo-Nazi Laïkós Sýndesmos – Chrysí Avgí (Popular Association – Golden Dawn, XA) at the parliamentary elections in 2015 or the Slovak extreme-right Kotleba – Ľudová strana Naše Slovensko (Kotleba – People’s Party Our Slovakia) at the parliamentary elections in 2016. However, in general, the more extreme the far-right parties are, the less electoral support they have, and vice versa. Some of the more extreme far-right parties of today, for example, the British National Party (BNP), Italian Forza Nuova (New Force), Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands (National-Democratic Party of Germany, NPD) or Svenskarnas parti (Party of the Swedes) have rarely had any tangible electoral successes. Even if many citizens of Western countries are seeking existential refuge in national identities, they are predominantly repulsed by blatant right-wing extremism and racist rhetoric. Some elements of the electorate of radical right-wing populist parties may clearly be driven by more extreme views than those espoused by their political favourites, but the majority of the voters do not seem to be racists or ultranationalists. Elaborating on the observation made by Laurent Fabius, France’s Socialist Prime Minister (1984–1986), who said in 1984 that the FN’s Jean-Marie Le Pen asked the right questions but came up with the wrong answers, one can suggest that the greater part of the electorate of radical right-wing parties make their electoral decisions because they are tempted by the right questions that the more moderate far-right politicians ask – about the efficiency of the liberal-democratic establishment, economic inequalities, job security, social cohesion, immigration, religious traditions and identity. Not that the far right give smart answers, but their defiant readiness to pose questions, some of which very few mainstream politicians would dare to address or even ask, bolsters their support.

The more support the radical right-wing populists have, the more opportunities they have to promote their visions and utopias in the socio-political environment in which political postmodernists are crushing despondent liberal progressivists, while disgruntled Western citizens are increasingly disaffected with the mainstream political class as a whole.

Research background

Until 2014, apart from occasional references to pro-Russian statements of some European far-right leaders, few scholars and experts observed a growing rapprochement between the Western far right and Putin’s Russia. Arguably the first investigation that reported on this development was a report titled ‘Russia’s Far-Right Friends’ and published in 2009 by the Hungary-based Political Capital Institute. On the basis of their research, its authors argued that ‘far-right parties in several eastern European countries [had] become prominent supporters of Russian interests and admirers of the Russian political-economic model’ and that, for Russia, ‘forming partnerships with ultranationalists could facilitate its efforts to influence these countries’ domestic politics . . . until Moscow finds an even more influential ally elsewhere on the political spectrum’.

In 2010, Angelos-Stylianos Chryssogelos analysed the foreign policy positions of the radical right-wing FN and FPÖ, as well as of the German left-wing populist Die Linke (The Left), and specifically focused on their attitudes towards the United States, transatlantic relations, NATO and Russia. He concluded that these parties were united in their aversion of NATO and American influence in Europe, but, at the same time, they looked favourably at Putin’s Russia. According to Chryssogelos, ‘populist parties see Russia as a source of energy and military clout as well as an attractive partner with similar cultural traits as Europe has’, while by discarding ‘issues of human rights and democracy in their relations with Russia’, these ‘populists reinforce their vision of sovereign nation states furthering their interests without reference to universal values or prior institutional commitments’. The author, however, did not elaborate on the Russian agenda behind the cooperation with the European far right.

The international expert and academic community in general started to pay attention to the relations between Russia and the Western far right in 2013–2014. For example, Marcel Van Herpen noted that West European far-right parties were moving away from ‘their traditional anti-communist and anti-Russia ideologies, with many expressing admiration – and even outright support’ – for Putin’s regime. Van Herpen asserted that, since Putin’s regime did not ‘openly reject democracy or explicitly advocate a one-party state’, it might serve as a model for the far-right parties, which could not ‘openly advocate an authoritarian regime or a one-party system’. Moreover, through its specific policies and practices, Putin’s regime was able to demonstrate to the illiberal European political forces ‘how to manipulate the rules of parliamentary democracy . . . to serve authoritarian objectives’.


http://www.tango-noir.com/introduction/
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Re: The Far Right's Love of the Kremlin’s Policies

Postby American Dream » Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:59 am

Pro-Assad Conspiracy Theories add to Syrian Suffering.

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How Syria’s White Helmets became victims of an online propaganda machine

Olivia Solon

The Syrian volunteer rescue workers known as the White Helmets have become the target of an extraordinary disinformation campaign that positions them as an al-Qaida-linked terrorist organisation.

The Guardian has uncovered how this counter-narrative is propagated online by a network of anti-imperialist activists, conspiracy theorists and trolls with the support of the Russian government (which provides military support to the Syrian regime).

The White Helmets, officially known as the Syria Civil Defence, is a humanitarian organisation made up of 3,400 volunteers – former teachers, engineers, tailors and firefighters – who rush to pull people from the rubble when bombs rain down on Syrian civilians. They’ve been credited with saving thousands of civilians during the country’s continuing civil war.

They have also exposed, through first-hand video footage, war crimes including a chemical attack in April. Their work was the subject of an Oscar-winning Netflix documentary and the recipient of two Nobel peace prize nominations.

Despite this positive international recognition, there’s a counter-narrative pushed by a vocal network of individuals who write for alternative news sites countering the “MSM agenda”. Their views align with the positions of Syria and Russia and attract an enormous online audience, amplified by high-profile alt-right personalities, appearances on Russian state TV and an army of Twitter bots.

The way the Russian propaganda machine has targeted the White Helmets is a neat case study in the prevailing information wars. It exposes just how rumours, conspiracy theories and half-truths bubble to the top of YouTube, Google and Twitter search algorithms.

Here, this week, is a deeply saddening account of the effect these lies can have.


Syrians explain how pro-Assad conspiracy theories are hurting them

The background of this unrelenting human suffering are the increasingly high-pitched squeals emanating from the keyboards and social media accounts of Western supporters and defenders of Assad.

An amalgam of far-left and far-right bloggers, cranks, conspiracy theorists and loons have converged since the beginning of the conflict to disseminate pro-Russia generated propaganda that serves only to conceal both Russia and Assad’s war crimes, and smear victims of their genocide.

No doubt you’ve heard each one of these entirely and widely debunked pro-Assad conspiracy theories by now: that the peaceful protests against Assad were the product of a foreign driven “regime change” operation; that the White Helmets, a volunteer rescue group that has been credited with saving more than 100,000 lives in rebel held territory, is somehow either a “regime change” propaganda tool or a public relations front for al Qaeda or both; that Assad didn’t use chemical weapons but the rebels used them on their own families to gain international sympathy; that Assad is fighting “terrorists,”; that the entirety or majority of Assad’s opponents are foreign-born jihadists; that the rebels poisoned Damascus’ water supply; and so on and so on.

The purpose of this article is not to debunk all of these smears, false narratives, and crackpot conspiracies. They’ve been comprehensively debunked and discredited here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and also here.

“The sad thing is that so many Syrian activists and journalists spend a lot of time refuting these s**t conspiracies because they can have such a damaging impact on real people and their lives,” tweeted Leila al Shami, a Syrian human rights activist and author, in response to a claim that the White Helmets belong to Al Qaeda.

These pro-Assad conspiracies have gotten so out of hand that Vanessa Beeley — who has become one of the most prominent dispensers of total and utter nonsense — called on Russia to carry out airstrikes against the White Helmets, and for me to be imprisoned for “enabling the destruction of Syria and its people”.

Others like Eva Bartlett have falsely accused the White Helmets of either being a figment of Hollywood’s imagination, or staging their videos.

Patrick Hilsman, a freelance journalist who has visited rebel held territory three times, laughed when I mentioned these claims about the White Helmets.

“I first encountered them by simply asking my driver what the building to our right was, and he said ‘It’s civil defense.’ We then walked in unannounced and encountered people without weapons, hard at the unglamorous work of digging a well,” he told me.

“I wasn’t helped by any think tank, no one told me what to say, no one warned the rescuers to start acting for the freelancers with their crappy cameras.”

Unfortunately, however, pro-Assad/Russia loons and propagandists have been so effective in muddying the waters, casting aspersions on Assad’s victims, and deflecting criticism away from this century’s most brutal dictator that they undermine any coordinated and sustained international effort to protect the Syrian people from a genocide.

So I asked a number of Syrians what damage these debunked conspiracy theories have imparted on the Syrian people and the pro-democracy revolution.

“This propaganda facilitates the gas attacks, hospital bombings, sectarian cleansing, and so on, “Robin Yassin-Kassab, co-author of Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War, told me.

“It also contributes to the general demonization of Muslims and Arabs in our culture. Beyond hurting Syrians, Arabs and Muslims, it is also damaging our civic and political life in the West, but the main purpose of this propaganda, because it has been carefully planted and guided, is to distract attention from the crimes committed by Assad and the Iranian and Russian occupations against civilians in Syria, and to prevent solidarity with those victims.”

When I interviewed Alaa al Ahmad, a Syrian journalist, he told me finds it deeply distressing to read pro-Assad Westerners describe him and the 300,000 other Syrians he is trapped alongside with in besieged Eastern Ghouta as a “terrorist,” asking, “Am I terrorist because I demand a civil state and I fight the factions that seek to establish an Islamic caliphate or the like?”

Qusay Noor, another Syrian journalist who is documenting the Assad’s regimes crimes against humanity in Ghouta also believes these conspiracy theories are meant only to smear Assad’s opposition as “terrorists,” and thus have only empowered Assad’s authoritarian rule, setting back the ideals of the revolution.

Ultimately, these conspiracy theories will evaporate any international pressure on the Assad regime, and at a time when Syrians need that pressure the most.

“It is essential the international community remains united with those in Syria who want a democratic solution, free from Assad and free from terrorism. That is why we need the international community to apply pressure on Russia to cease its bombing and its support for Assad, so that we can work towards a peaceful political settlement,” writes Mardini.

And when all has been said and done, a peaceful political settlement was the only thing demanded of Assad in the first place, seven long and bloody years ago.


More at: https://tendancecoatesy.wordpress.com/2 ... suffering/
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Re: The Far Right's Love of the Kremlin’s Policies

Postby American Dream » Tue Feb 27, 2018 12:09 pm

Victory of Assad Regime in Ghouta Is Major Defeat for Those Fighting Racism and Capitalist Authoritarianism Globally

Feb 25, 2018

Those who oppose both the Assad regime and the Jihadists and all the imperialist powers, need to focus on a glaring fact: Support for Assad and Putin has become a rallying cry for Western white supremacist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic organizations and parties. We need to show that opposing the Assad regime’s war on the Syrian masses is absolutely necessary for fighting the growth of white supremacy in the U.S. and other Western countries. Indeed it is necessary for challenging the growth of capitalist authoritarianism around the world. Assad’s Syria could be our future.

Frieda Afary
February 24, 2018

There is no lack of evidence about the barbarity of the Assad regime. Supported by Putin’s Russia and the Iranian regime, it is currently massacring 400,000 innocent civilians in Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus which it has kept under siege since April 2013 and subjected to chemical warfare as well. The intensified daily bombing and shelling of Eastern Ghouta which started in November 2017 and has led to hundreds of deaths of innocent civilians in just the past few days, is part of the Assad regime’s systematic destruction of the Syrian revolution since 2011. Ghouta has also suffered from the practices of a reactionary Salafist movement, Jaysh al-Islam, which has repressed and killled democratic activists.

While the U.S. and European powers such as France shed crocodile tears over Ghouta, by now it should be clear that neither the U.S., not any of the Western powers ever genuinely supported the Syrian revolution or wanted the overthrow of the Assad regime. At most, they wanted the regime without the person of Assad because they considered the regime necessary for imposing “stability” in the region. Even in April 2017 when the Trump administration carried out a missile strike against a Syrian government airbase where a chemical attack was launched, its aim was to show the U.S.’s imperial might.

None of these powers could ever have any genuine concern for the Syrian masses who rose up against an authoritarian and butcher regime. The capitalist and imperialist foundation of these powers would not allow them to do so.

Need for a New Discourse of Solidarity
Those who oppose both the Assad regime and the Jihadists and all the imperialist powers, need to focus on a glaring fact: The authoritarianism that we see in the Assad regime, Putin’s Russia and the Iranian regime is increasingly growing in Western countries as well. Assadism and Putinism might be the face of the future of the Western liberal democracies. Indeed, support for Assad and Putin has become a rallying cry for Western white supremacist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic organizations and parties from the U.S. alt-right to the Italian far-right Forza Nuova, all of whom are becoming more and more mainstream.

Facing up to this fact, can also help us find a pathway forward in our solidarity work: We need to show that opposing the Assad regime’s war on the Syrian masses is absolutely necessary for fighting the growth of white supremacy in the U.S. and other Western countries. Indeed it is necessary for challenging the growth of capitalist authoritarianism around the world. Assad’s Syria could be our future.

The current evidence about the relationship between the Assad regime and the U.S. and European far-right, reveals that Assadist totalitarianism has become an “inspiration” for various parties representing the more openly authoritarian and racist direction of capitalism. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/i ... 53121.html

Thus the need to oppose the Assad regime’s bombing of Eastern Ghouta and Idlib is not only a concern for people in the Middle East but should also be a concern for anti-racist activists around the world. Allowing Assad and his allies to continue their massacres in the name of “fighting terror” will greatly strengthen those who want to repeat that scenario in the U.S. and Europe and elsewhere. It will have consequences for Black Lives Matter, Latinos, all people of color, Muslims and Jews.


Continues at: https://www.allianceofmesocialists.org/ ... -globally/
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Re: The Far Right's Love of the Kremlin’s Policies

Postby American Dream » Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:32 pm

The World Must Act Now on Syria

An Open Letter

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A Syrian man rescuing a child after an air strike on eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, on February 21

It will be redundant to list the nature and magnitude of all the crimes that the Assad regime has committed against Syrians, aided by local and foreign militias, by Iranian strategic and financial aid, by Russian airpower and mercenaries—and by international indifference. The world that watched and averted its eyes is its passive enabler.

Syrians were shot and killed in broad daylight for protesting injustice. They were imprisoned, tortured, and executed. They were bombed and shelled. They were besieged, raped, and humiliated. They were gassed. They were displaced and dispossessed.

Those with the power to act have been generous with expressions of sympathy but have offered nothing beyond the wish that this war on civilians—which they grotesquely call a “civil war”—would end. They call on “all parties” to show restraint, even though one side alone has a virtual monopoly on violence; they encourage all parties to negotiate, even though the opposition is entirely without leverage. They say there is “no military solution” though the regime has given no indication that it believes in a solution of any other kind. Meanwhile, pleas from aid agencies and endangered Syrians fall on deaf ears.

Refugees—the only Syrians to have received some assistance—have seen their plight depoliticized, isolated from the terror that forced them to flee.

Today, as Idlib and Afrin burn, the inevitable is unfolding in Ghouta, the huge open-air concentration camp about to enter its fifth year under siege. What happens next is predictable because the same formula has been applied repeatedly over the past seven years. After holding a civilian population hostage, blocking food, medicine, and aid of any kind, the regime bombs the area relentlessly, in particular its medical facilities, until it capitulates. Those who survive are then forced from their homes that are then expropriated for demographic engineering with the aim of creating politically homogeneous geographies.


http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/02/27 ... -on-syria/
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Re: The Far Right's Love of the Kremlin’s Policies

Postby American Dream » Wed Feb 28, 2018 6:55 pm

Post-Soviet Neo-Eurasianism, the Putin System, and the Contemporary European Extreme Right

Posted on 16th February 2018

A review essay by Andreas Umland


...Based on a variety of academic approaches and considerable empirical research, the Eurasianists believed that they had located a third continent between Europe and Asia that is neither European nor Asian. They were actively seeking and thought to have found various historical, geographical, linguistic, and other characteristics of the territory of the Tsarist and Soviet empires that led them to allege the existence of a separate Eurasian civilization different from—what they saw as—the “Romano-Germanic” culture of Central and Western Europe. Eurasian civilization is illiberal, non-democratic, and anti-individualistic, the Eurasianists asserted; it should thus be kept separate from both European civilization and supposedly universal-humanistic ideas. With such a vision, classical Eurasianism was remarkably similar to the concurrently emerging so-called Conservative Revolution of the Weimar Republic.23

While Duginite neo-Eurasianism is also outspokenly ideocratic and particularistic, it has far less academic clout than classical Eurasianism, is heavily conspirological, and often simply plagiarizes ideas from international anti-Western thought.24 Rather than developing classical Eurasianism, neo-Eurasianism is a hybrid, drawing primarily on nineteenth- and early twentieth-century mystical geopolitics, the German Conservative Revolution, European National-Bolshevism, British Satanism, the French New Right, Italian neo-Fascism, Integral Traditionalism, and some other non-Russian radical intellectual, as well as political, movements.25 To readers of Western anti-liberal thought, Dugin’s basic idea may thus sound familiar: World history’s basic conflict is that between collectivistic and traditionalist Eurasian landpowers (tellurocracies), on the one hand, and individualistic and liberal Atlantic sea-powers (thallasocracies), on the other. The hidden war of their contemporary leaders— Russia vs. America—is currently entering its Endkampf (final battle) and will involve a Russian domestic, as well as the world’s geopolitical, revolution. In Dugin’s fluctuating outlook (recently re-labelled, by him, as “the fourth political theory”26), the extension of “Eurasia” is less clear than in classical Eurasianism, and may also embrace other territories than the former Tsarist/Soviet empire, including continental Central and Western Europe, various Asian countries, or even entirely different parts of the world, if they decide to adhere to tellurocratic and traditional values. Both the largely Western sources of neo-Eurasianism and its geographic flexibility became major reasons that Dugin and his various organizations were well-positioned to participate not only in interconnecting the EU’s and Russia’s radically nationalist scenes, but also in linking some representatives of Putin’s regime to the Western far right.

...On the one hand, Moscow behaves pragmatically when, in its capacity as a kleptocracy, it tries to establish as many as possible links to influential Western mainstream politicians and businesspeople, without regard to their political views or ideologies. The Kremlin only turns to various radicals in the West to the degree that it cannot build close relationships within the establishment in the respective countries, and when it can instead get access—sometimes via middlemen like Dugin—to alternative political circles. Moscow then also supports these often populist and nationalist forces as its allies and as troublemakers in the EU and Atlantic alliance.

On the other hand, however, Moscow’s growing international isolation and intensifying contacts with the far right, within and outside Russia, are also ideologically driven, and feed back into the self-definition of the regime. As an autocracy in need of consolidation, Putin’s regime is being naturally drawn—both domestically and internationally—to groups whose ideologies support illiberal policies and undemocratic practices. The far-right groups, in turn, profit from public alignment to the world’s territorially largest country and a nuclear superpower. The result has been, as Shekhovtsov outlines, constantly deepening relationships between Russian officials and Western far-right activists since the mid-2000s.

One reason that Russian society, in spite of its deep-seated anti-fascism, accepts the growing interpenetration between the far right and Russian government is the spread, authority, and discourse of neo-Eurasianism. Some elements of this pan-national, yet also ethno-centrist ideology of radical anti-Westernism—above all, its Russian exceptionalism and geopolitical Manicheanism—have made deep inroads into Russian intellectual life, higher education, and mass media over the last 25 years, i.e., already before Putin came to power in summer 1999.39 The idea that Russia is a civilization that is not only separate, but also opposed to the West has today approached something close to cultural hegemony in Russian society...


http://www.tango-noir.com/2018/02/16/po ... eme-right/
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Re: The Far Right's Love of the Kremlin’s Policies

Postby American Dream » Tue Mar 06, 2018 8:46 am

Second Steele memo alleges Kremlin blocked Romney from becoming Secretary of State

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Remember last year when Trump was considering Mitt Romney to become secretary of state after he was elected? In the end Trump dumped the idea of Romney and Rex Tillerson got the job. Now, a second Steele memo that surfaced in November 2016 reveals that Tillerson might not have really been Trump's idea, but might actually have been a decision made by Trump's boss, the Kremlin.

According to The Daily Beast:

A new New Yorker profile of Trump-Russia dossier author Christopher Steele reports on a lesser-known memo the former MI-6 spy allegedly discussed with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators. According to the report, in late November 2016, Steele relayed information from his Russian sources that senior Kremlin officials had intervened to block Mitt Romney as President-elect Trump’s choice for secretary of State.


More: https://boingboing.net/2018/03/05/secon ... s-kre.html
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