Trump administration threatens Assange, world wide press freedom

This 16 November 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Exclusive: WikiLeaks Lawyer Warns U.S. Charges Against Assange Endanger Press Freedom Worldwide

The Justice Department has inadvertently revealed that it has prepared an indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. In an unusual development, language about the charges against Assange was copied and pasted into an unrelated court filing that was recently unsealed.

In the document, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kellen S. Dwyer wrote, “Due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged.”

The news broke on Thursday night just hours after The Wall Street Journal reported the Justice Department was planning to prosecute Assange.

Assange has been living since 2012 in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London where he has sought refuge and political asylum. It’s unclear what charges may be brought against Assange; the Justice Department has previously considered prosecuting him over his role in the release of hacked DNC emails during the 2016 presidential campaign, as well as over the release of the so-called Iraq and Afghanistan War Logs, shared by U.S. military whistleblower Chelsea Manning.

The Assange case has been closely followed by advocates for press freedom. Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch tweeted, “Deeply troubling if the Trump administration, which has shown little regard for media freedom, would charge Assange for receiving from a government official and publishing classified information—exactly what journalists do all the time.” We speak with human rights attorney Jennifer Robinson, who has been advising Julian Assange and WikiLeaks since 2010.


Japanese cyberspace minister knows nothing about computers

This 15 November 2018 video says about itself:

A Japanese minister in charge of cyber security has provoked astonishment by admitting he has never used a computer in his professional life, and appearing confused by the concept of a USB drive.

Yoshitaka Sakurada, 68, is the deputy chief of the government’s cyber security strategy office and also the minister in charge of the Olympic and Paralympic Games that Tokyo will host in 2020.

In parliament on Wednesday however, he admitted he doesn’t use computers. “Since the age of 25, I have instructed my employees and secretaries, so I don’t use computers myself”, he said in a response to an opposition question in a lower house session, local media reported.

He also appeared confused by the question when asked about whether USB drives were in use at Japanese nuclear facilities. His comments were met with incredulity by opposition lawmakers.

“It’s unbelievable that someone who has not touched computers is responsible for cyber security policies”, said opposition lawmaker Masato Imai.

And his comments provoked a firestorm online. “Doesn’t he feel ashamed?” wrote one Twitter user. “Today any company president uses a PC. He doesn’t even know what a USB is. Holy cow.”

Another joked that perhaps Sakurada was simply engaged in his own kind of cyber security. “If a hacker targets this Minister Sakurada, they wouldn’t be able to steal any information. Indeed it might be the strongest kind of security!”

Sakurada has been in office just over a month, after being appointed in a cabinet reshuffle following Prime Minister Shinzo Abe‘s reelection as head of his political party. But he has already come fire for other gaffes in parliament including garbling an opposition lawmaker’s name and repeatedly stating “I don’t know the details” when questioned about his new Olympic brief.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Japanese cyber minister knows nothing about computers

The Japanese internet security minister is under attack because he knows nothing about computers. Minister Yoshitaka Sakurada (68) has admitted that he has never used a computer.

Sakurada was installed a month ago. In parliament he received questions about malware (malicious software) and what a USB port is for. When the minister said that such a port was practically never used, the MPs began to laugh incredulously. The interrogation was directly visible on Japanese TV.

Mr Sakurada is in the right-wing government of Prime Minister Abe. To become a minister in that government, you don’t have to know anything about anything. You just have to be right-wing. Eg, Mr Sakurada said that World War II comfort women [women forced into prostitution] were “professional prostitutes. That’s business.”

Mr Sakurada is in a government which does not know, or pretends not to know, that militarism is wrong; that the Japanese regime in World War II practiced forced prostitution and other crimes; that nuclear plants are dangerous; that Fukushima food is hazardous to eat; etc.

I guess that the only thing that Mr Sakurada does know about computers is that his job is to, like in the USA, France, Germany etc., censor pro-peace leftist Internet sites.

Facebook’s anti-Semitic smear campaign after privacy scandal

This video about the USA says about itself:

Facebook reportedly used anti-Semitic attacks to discredit its critics

14 November 2018

Criticized for months about how it provides a platform for hate speech,

eg, for the Hitler fans of Dutch neofascist party Nederlandse Volks-Unie (NVU)

Facebook reportedly took a novel approach to answering its attackers: Dabbling in anti-Semitic and extremist speech itself. Facebook and its executives, Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, spent the last year and a half trying to protect the company’s reputation by calling in favors from high places and using questionable back channels to manipulate its public narrative, according to a blockbuster new report by the New York Times. But it seems those plans are starting to backfire even more. The report outlines damning allegations that Facebook accused its critics of anti-Semitism, all while it financed groups that peddled notoriously anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on its platform.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

‘After the data scandal, Facebook had public relations firm smear critics’

When the criticism of Facebook reached its peak earlier this year, an aggressive lobbying operation was set up in the background. The goal: to counter criticism. In the same period [Facebook boss] Mark Zuckerberg was working on his sorry campaign, following the data scandal with Cambridge Analytica.

This is evident from a large study by The New York Times. The newspaper reconstructed how the social network went from crisis to crisis over the past three years and how the company tried to manage it.

Sheryl Sandberg, operational director and Zuckerberg’s right-hand woman, oversaw a strategy whereby, eg, a public relations firm was hired to discredit opponents. This happened partly by linking them to the billionaire George Soros, writes the paper.

Anti-Semites accuse Jewish George Soros of being secretly behind all sorts of things which they hate. United States President Donald Trump accused Soros, without any evidence, of being behind the caravan of refugees from Central American regimes. He called these Central Americans ‘invaders’ and threatened to kill them. That was the inspiration for the anti-Semitic mass murder at the Pittsburgh synagogue (a synagogue which did help Central American refugees).

It is paradoxical that Mr Zuckerberg and Ms Sandberg, both from Jewish families, use the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that Soros is supposedly under all beds. So does the son of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, so they are not alone. Facebook also does not censor anti-Semitic Holocaust denial, but does censor critics of Trump’s xenophobia.

Anti-Facebook movement

The firm is said to have distributed a research paper among journalists in which Soros was depicted as an “unrecognized force” behind an anti-Facebook movement. …

The PR agency also urged journalists to investigate financial ties between Soros and organizations that were members of ‘Freedom from Facebook’. …

The agency, Definers Public Affairs, was initially hired by Facebook in October 2017 to monitor reporting on the platform. At Definers, people who were involved in this process work with Republican presidential campaigns.

Negative messages about Apple and Google

According to The New York Times, the agency also distributed messages on a news website – NTK – which was linked to them in which Google and Apple were accused of wrong practices.

Before she was at Facebook, Ms Sandberg used to be at Google. Was this a settling of old scores with her ex-employer?

NTK itself is not that big, but the messages were picked up by, eg, [also far-right site] Breitbart, writes the newspaper.

Hours after the publication, the newspaper reported that Facebook stopped working with the company. …

The New York Times story comes a day after The Wall Street Journal published an internal survey of optimism among employees of the corporation. This showed that this has dropped sharply: from 84 percent last year to 52 percent now. Add this story and Facebook does not seem to be finished with its crisis mode for the time being.

What further consequences the investigation by the newspaper will have is unclear. Techsite Recode is already addressing the question asked this year: should someone be fired? Zuckerberg can not really be dismissed because he has a majority vote in the supervisory board. So he would have to leave himself and he said earlier this year he would not. Whether his right hand Sandberg will leave is also very much the question.

Macron’s, Facebook’s censorship plan in France

This Associated Press video says about itself:

(1 Feb 2018) A French teacher, whose Facebook account was suspended in 2011 after he posted a photo of a famous 19th century nude painting, is suing the California-based social network for alleged “censorship“.

After years of legal battle by Facebook to escape a trial in France, a Paris civil court is set to hear the case Thursday. The account was suspended hours after Frederic Durand-Baissas, a 59-year-old Parisian teacher and art lover, posted a photo of Gustave Courbet’s 1866 painting “The Origin of the World”, which depicts female genitalia.

Durand-Baissas wants his account reactivated and is asking for 20,000 euros (23,500 US dollars) in damages. He also wants Facebook to explain why his account was closed.

By Alex Lantier in France:

Macron and Facebook announce joint social media censorship plan in France

14 November 2018

On Monday, less than a week after he provoked disgust among working people in France and beyond, by praising France’s Nazi-collaborationist dictator, Philippe Pétain, French President Emmanuel Macron held meetings with Facebook to plan the censoring of social media in France.

At an official Forum for the Governance of the Internet at UNESCO in Paris, Macron argued that the world is on the brink of catastrophe due to the exercise of free speech on the internet. While the internet was initially a “fantastic opportunity”, he declared, now “it is also starting to be described as a threat to our democratic societies.”

Macron denounced “anonymity” online, warning that the “internet is being used in our democracies by totalitarian regimes to destabilize us.” He called on France to find a Third Way between a supposedly unregulated “California internet” and the heavily censored “Chinese internet.”

As a result, for six months starting at the beginning of 2019, French officials are to operate a joint program with Facebook giving them access to the tools that Facebook uses to censor “racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic or sexist” speech.

These must be really strange Facebook tools. As in practice, Facebook censors anti-racists, anti-fascists; while allowing anti-Semitic Holocaust denial. As in practice, Facebook censors LGBTQ people rather than homophobes. As in practice, Facebook censors feminism rather than sexism.

Macron added, “This is a first. It is a very innovative experimental method which illustrates the cooperative methods I support.”

This program is a fundamental assault on democratic rights. The target of Macron’s internet censorship campaign is not the threat posed by foreign totalitarian enemies or far-right hate speech, but domestic left-wing political opposition in general, and the World Socialist Web Site in particular.

Macron’s presentation is a pack of lies from start to finish, aiming to provide pseudo-democratic cover for the building of a regime of police-state censorship. This process is well underway in both Europe and the United States, where the major tech firms have thousands of employees working on censoring the internet. The “California internet” Macron held up as a terrible model of free speech is, in fact, run by a handful of powerful corporations implementing mass censorship.

Facebook, Macron said, “will soon host a delegation of French regulators tasked, together with Facebook experts, with making precise, concrete joint recommendations on the struggle against hateful and offensive speech.”

A dozen anonymous individuals, working either for Facebook or the French government, will apparently run this censorship program, without public oversight or reporting of what content they are deleting from social media. Their power to eliminate content that they claim someone might construe as “hateful and offensive” amounts to a license to delete virtually any political content. This constitutes a blatant attack on freedom of expression.

Le Monde reported that the French presidency had also contacted Google, asking for similar access to the tools Google uses to censor internet search results. The Elysée palace has stated that this is a way for tech firms to “show whether or not firms are acting in good faith and making the necessary efforts” to remove content the French state objects to. Google has until now refused to develop a collaboration with the French state censors.

Macron was undeterred, however. “There will inevitably be more regulation in the future”, he declared at the Monday Forum, adding: “It is not the big firms’ job to fix doctrine about hate or free speech … But we must escape the black-and-white dichotomy between editors of content (with strong legal responsibility) and firms hosting content (like YouTube or Facebook). The big firms must not be exonerated from all responsibility. These platforms must accept reinforced obligations, because they are accelerators of content.”

The attempt to pass off censorship as a defense against foreign totalitarian enemies—echoing Charles de Gaulle’s denunciation of masses of striking communist workers as tools of the Kremlin during the May–June 1968 general strike, 50 years ago—is a political fraud. So are the attempts by Macron, who recently hailed Pétain the genocidal anti-Semite, to portray his censorship as being driven with deep concern about the struggle against racism.

Both in Europe and in the United States, where mass censorship on Facebook and Google began last year, the target is growing political opposition in the international working class to policies of austerity and militarism that have been implemented over decades.

During a congressional hearing calling for internet censorship last year, former FBI official Clint Watts declared: “Civil wars don’t start with gunshots, they start with words. America’s war with itself has already begun. We all must act now on the social media battlefield to quell information rebellions that can quickly lead to violent confrontations and easily transform us into the Divided States of America. …Stopping the false information artillery barrage landing on social media users comes only when those outlets distributing bogus stories are silenced…”

It is widely known in official circles in France that censorship targets left-wing opposition. In January 2018, Pierre Rimbert wrote in the well-known monthly Le Monde diplomatique on Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s promise to demote Russian state media in search results. Noting the WSWS’s analyses of this censorship’s impact on readership of anti-war web sites, he asked whether internet censorship is “killing pluralism in the name of better informing the public.”

He wrote: “How to separate the wheat from the chaff? ‘In a statement issued on April 25, Ben Gomes, the company’s vice president for engineering, stated that Google’s update of its search engine would block access to “offensive” sites, while working to surface more “authoritative content”’, write Andre Damon and David North of the World Socialist Web Site (, August 2, 2017). Using an internet tracking firm, the Trotskyist site measured the effect of new algorithms that, by default, see the dominant media as reliable and the alternative press as suspect. ‘A massive loss of readership observed by socialist, anti-war and progressive web sites over the past three months has been caused by a cumulative 45 percent decrease in traffic from Google searches.’”

This censorship is being continually escalated. Coincidentally or otherwise, as Macron announced his Facebook censorship plan on Monday, Facebook was removing a WSWS article from social media, claiming it violated “community standards.”

Macron is launching his censorship program as his approval ratings collapse to a historic low of 21 percent. Universally reviled in the working class as the “president of the rich”, his government is on high alert in the face of a planned mass protest and blockade of French cities on November 17 by truck and car drivers protesting a regressive proposed gasoline tax. Fifty years after the May–June 1968 general strike, France and Europe are on the brink of a revolutionary explosion.

Under these conditions, sections of the media are demanding that the state censor expressions of opposition to Macron. In one remarkable article, La Voix du Nord denounced its own readers, boasting that it was censoring their online comments about its coverage of Macron.

“Thus under each article on his trip commemorating World War I”, it wrote, “we have deleted dozens of comments and insults against this president you say is ‘indifferent to the people’ and ‘only helping the rich.’ … The level of violence in comments on the president is unprecedented. Each of his actions provokes hundreds of comments on our social networks, calls for hate and violence. …”

Criticisms of Macron and similar governments are not the expression of dangerous foreign totalitarian subversion, but of growing, legitimate social anger in the working class. To the extent that the French state sees as its goal the suppression of social anger and the class struggle through such means as censorship and states of emergency, it will be treading a path returning to the type of regime overseen by Macron’s military hero, Philippe Pétain.

Facebook’s decision to appoint former British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg as its vice-president of Global Affairs and Communications epitomises the integration of the social media giants and the capitalist state apparatus in every country: here.

Facebook censors Sri Lankan left

This 13 September 2018 video from the USA is called Facebook Is Now Censoring Progressives, It’s Official.

By Andre Damon:

Washington’s censorship regime goes global

Facebook deletes WSWS post on Sri Lanka

14 November 2018

On Monday, Facebook removed a post on Sri Lanka by the World Socialist Web Site’s official Tamil-language Facebook page. The alleged reason was violation of unspecified restrictions in Facebook’s “community standards,” which is no explanation at all.

The Tamil language, spoken by 74 million people, is the language of the ethnic Tamil minority in Sri Lanka and South India, as well as a large global diaspora.

The move is the latest in the crackdown on left-wing, anti-war and socialist organizations by US-based technology monopolies including Google, Facebook and Twitter. As these companies integrate themselves ever more closely into the American state apparatus, they are increasingly weaponized to promote US imperialist aims all over the world. At the center of this drive is the suppression of socialist political viewpoints.

This is not the first time that the World Socialist Web Site’s Tamil-language Facebook page has been targeted by Facebook. On two separate occasions, Facebook removed the “share” option from public meetings promoted by the page.

The World Socialist Web Site has been a central target of internet censorship more broadly, with its search traffic falling by more than 75 percent after Google announced a change to its search algorithm aimed at limiting “alternative viewpoints”.

Amid a deepening political crisis in Sri Lanka, the United States is seeking to exclude Chinese influence in the island country, located off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. The country of 21 million sits astride the world’s most heavily trafficked west-bound trade route and boasts a busier port than any in the United States.

On October 26, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena removed Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister and replaced him with former president Mahinda Rajapakse. Washington has made clear that the appointment of Rajapakse is unacceptable, due to his “excessively close ties to China”, as the New York Times put it.

The modern history of Sri Lanka has been dominated by the use of communal politics by all factions of the ruling class to stoke divisions between the country’s Sinhalese majority and its Tamil minority. Anti-Tamil discrimination by successive Colombo governments fueled tensions that broke out in a bloody civil war that raged between 1983 and 2009, costing more than 100,000 lives.

While every capitalist political party in Sri Lanka has sought to base itself on one or another ethnic faction, the Sri Lankan Trotskyist movement has carried out a decades-long political fight to unite Sinhalese and Tamil workers on the basis of a common socialist program.

This struggle has won the Socialist Equality Party of Sri Lanka widespread support, and the World Socialist Web Site has a higher per-capita readership in Sri Lanka than anywhere else in the world.

The WSWS has warned that since the brutal suppression of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in 2009, the Tamil nationalist parties have lined up ever more directly with the interests of US imperialism in the country. The article censored by Facebook explains that the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has opposed the appointment of Rajapakse to curry favor with its American allies. It states:

“The TNA’s decision to support Wickremesinghe has nothing to do with defending democracy. Rather, the organisation is pursuing the same pro-imperialist course that saw it support the US-sponsored regime-change operation that brought Sirisena and Wickremesinghe to power in 2015. That operation was aimed at installing a pro-US government in Colombo in line with Washington’s war preparations against China.”

The article pointed to the growing strike movement “among workers of all ethnicities in Sri Lanka”, including protests by thousands of Tamil-speaking plantation workers in the days preceding the sacking of Wickremesinghe. It argued that “the only way forward is on the basis of the struggle being waged by the [Socialist Equality Party] to unify the working class of all nationalities on a socialist and revolutionary perspective.”

While Facebook has given no explanation for the removal of the article, its motivations are self-evident. The company is not only increasingly integrated into, but more and more staffed by, current and former officials of the US intelligence agencies. These state agencies see the growing audience for international socialism as an obstacle to their efforts to exploit ethnic divisions in developing countries to further the geopolitical aims of US imperialism.

There can be no doubt that last month’s speaking tour in Sri Lanka by WSWS Editorial Board Chairman David North, which was given prime time coverage by leading media outlets in the country and was closely followed by workers, has provoked consternation in Washington.

Facebook’s action comes amid a growing demand in the Western press that the social media giant step up political censorship in developing countries, with Sri Lanka singled out in particular.

A leading role in this campaign has been played by the New York Times, which has published a series of articles claiming, absurdly, that freedom of expression on the internet is responsible for communal violence in developing countries, including Sri Lanka.

The Times complained in an April 21 front-page article that amid “Facebook’s rapid expansion in the developing world,” the company “pushes whatever content keeps users on the site longest—a potentially damaging practice in countries with weak institutions.”

In an article focused almost exclusively on Sri Lanka, the reference to “countries with weak institutions” is a euphemism for former colonies. The Times is implying that unless Facebook censors speech in such countries, their populations, apparently unable to control themselves, will massacre each other out of communal hatred.

The Times, speaking for the “Quiet Americans” of the US intelligence agencies, claims that the people of developing countries must be gagged and told what to think by American corporations to keep them from committing criminal acts. Such arguments border on open racism: a 21st century invocation of the “white man’s burden.” The only justifiable response to this neo-colonialist garbage is contempt for the hacks who churn it out.

When Sri Lanka’s Sirisena government last March temporarily shut down Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, the Times lauded the move as necessary to “stem mob violence directed at its Muslim minority.” This is yet another lie, echoing the Sri Lankan government’s self-serving justifications for censorship.

The aim of Sirisena’s shutdown of Facebook was not to prevent ethnic violence, but to cover it up. The Sri Lankan regime wanted to shut down social media in areas affected by violence largely to hush up reports of complicity in the incidents by the police and armed forces of the US-backed regime.

The well-known collusion of the army and police with fascistic rioters was a central point made in the Socialist Equality Party’s March 10 statement, “Oppose Sinhala racist violence against Muslim community in Sri Lanka.” That statement observed:

“Senior government minister Sarath Amunugama was forced to admit on Wednesday that mobs were transported from other areas and that there was evidence of the involvement of retired and active security personnel. Social media posts showed videos and photos of police special task force (STF) officers watching mobs carrying out attacks on shops and houses.”

The only perspective capable of opposing communalism and uniting workers of every nationality is that of socialist internationalism. But this is precisely the perspective that Facebook, Google and the other technology giants are intent on suppressing, because it cuts across the efforts of US imperialism to exploit communal divisions to further entrench Washington’s global dominance.

These efforts at state censorship must be opposed! The World Socialist Web Site calls on its readers to take up the struggle against internet censorship in the United States, in Sri Lanka and all over the world!

Versatile Blogger Award, thanks Er. Mukhtar Zahid!

Versatile Blogger Award

Thank you so much, Er. Mukhtar Zahid of the blog of the same name, for nominating Dear Kitty. Some Blog for the Versatile Blogger Award!

Rules of this award:

• If you are nominated, you’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger Award

• Thank the person who gave you the award

• Include a link to their blog

• Select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly

• Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award

• Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself

Seven things about me:

1..Which blog posts and pages attracted most visits to my blog this week?

November 4, 2018 to Today

Title Views
Home page / Archives More stats 927
Dutch war crimes in Indonesia, new evidence More stats 65
Girl abused, Pentecostalist church covered up More stats 48
British fat cats’ anti-orangutan censorship More stats 27
‘War on terror’ comes home to Thousand Oaks, USA More stats 22
Great grey owls in Sweden, many videos More stats 22
Heineken beer, corruption, abuse, genocide in Africa More stats 22
Rubens, Rembrandt, differences in what they painted More stats 22
Brunstad Christian Church, controversial in Norway More stats 21
Birds, how high do they fly? More stats 21
How wolves help beavers More stats 20
British artists about why they vote Labour More stats 20
Big Brother pseudoscience for Dutch corporations’ workers More stats 20

2. Which blog posts and pages attracted most visits to my blog this year?

November 11, 2017 to Today

Title Views
Home page / Archives More stats 21,099
Girl abused, Pentecostalist church covered up More stats 1,136
History of sugar, and slavery, at Amsterdam museum More stats 1,075
Rubens, Rembrandt, differences in what they painted More stats 945
Gay animal sex More stats 908
Brunstad Christian Church, controversial in Norway More stats 716
Massive animal abuse in Belgian corporate slaughterhouse More stats 657

3. Which referrers referred most to my blog this year?

Referrer Views
Search Engines 47,631 Reader 33,839
Facebook 1,984
WordPress Android App 1,226
Twitter 829 398 382
Pinterest 240 234 200
WordPress Dashboard 117 111
Wikipedia 104

4. Which search terms brought most visits to my blog this quarter?

August 13, 2018 to Today

Search Views 61 11
kelt-9b hottest planet 8
tsunami sulawesi 8
hurricane usa 6 5 4
twitter rape in abu ghraib prison 4
nico vervelde corruption 4
dalai lama sexual abuse 4
des austin abuse investigation benedictines 4
female sexual abuse by sisters of the good shepherd 3
mattheus van der steen 3 3
science 3

5. I heard a robin sing recently.

6. I had an interesting stay on Rügen island in Germany, seeing, eg, birds.

7. Today, a great tit and house sparrows at the bird feeders.

My 15 nominees are:

1. leisad

2. Life of Aishana

3. kelleysdiy

4. James A. Best- Author

5. One Million Photographs

6. Free and Vibrant Life

7. A Voice from Iran

8. Wanna Be Dasheen

9. Savera Society For Human Initiatives

10. MounterWorld

11. Ezekiel Rodriguez

12. From My Window

13. Stephanie Orhelein

14. Through The Sight of A Pakistani

15. Annette Rochelle Aben

Anti-Semitism in the USA and the Netherlands

This New York Times video from the USA says about itself:

The Rise of the Ironic Racist | Internetting with Amanda Hess

21 November 2017

If white supremacists used to hide their faces under hoods, today’s internet-savvy racists cloak their ideology in irony, provocation, and trolling.

Translated from Dutch daily De Volkskrant, 9 November 2018:

How alt-right online disseminates hatred of Jews

Antisemitism is very common on extreme right-wing Internet platforms. But also in circles considered to be mainstream, pointing the finger at Jews is no longer taboo. How is that possible?

By Annieke Kranenberg and Hassan Bahara

‘As a fervent /pol/ visitor I can say that I have also become anti-Semitic‘, Roel wrote, a graduate in his early thirties …

A few emails later Roel appears to be open to a discussion about his radicalization process – although he prefers to talk about a process of ‘waking up’ – on the 4chan online platform, and in particular on the ‘politically incorrect’ discussion forum /pol/, which is notorious for the extreme right-wing expressions of its anonymous users ….

That ‘core of the matter’ that Roel is talking about, goes back to the National Socialism of the nineteen thirties. Only this is now packaged in a new package, with new words, symbols and forms of expression. ‘The basic idea’, says Roel enthusiastically, ‘is that Jewish people are busily undermining the white Christians so that the white race will disappear. They are behind everything: they push immigration, promote all kinds of fetish habits, stimulate homosexual relationships and indoctrinate children with gender neutral education so that they become confused about their sex.’…

Online anti-Semitism is not limited to the outer flanks of the alt-right, an ‘intellectual’ right-wing extremism based on racist doctrine. The Volkskrant – which could watch for months on closed chat groups on Discord and Whatsapp – also found this new Jew-hatred in online discussions between Forum for Democracy members and supporters. …

The Forum for Democracy is a misogynistic Islamophobic far-right party with two MPs in the Dutch parliament. They have links to US American racist and anti-Semite Jared Taylor and French neofascist Jean-Marie Le Pen.

After analyzing 30,000 Twitter accounts within the alt-right domain, Vox-Pol discovered that Dutch is the second biggest language group with 6 percent. At first place is English with a share of 75 percent. Probably the percentage of Dutch alt-right‘ers is actually higher, since many of them – like Roel – communicate online only in English. The Dutch alt-right scene is very focused on what happens in the US. …

Before [Roel] made the crossing to 4chan … he mainly read [Dutch far-right site] GeenStijl. Politically he feels most at home with Forum for Democracy (FvD). …

Jews, Roel believes, are the source of all identity-political troubles. Examples include: “The discussion about Zwarte Piet [Black Pete, a blackface character in the Dutch Saint Nicholas holiday] is a Jewish trick. They (Jews, ed.) want to undermine that tradition because it is a white tradition. “And take all those films on which Jews make their mark”, Roel continues. Like the latest Star Wars film, The Last Jedi: ‘In this they wanted to promote diversity, all leaders were female! Then we (the anti-Semitic people on 4chan, ed.) will push back.’…

In the book (((Semitism))), Being Jewish in America in the Age of Trump, [Jonathan] Weisman discovered, among other things, that a lot of online anti-Semitism has a link with Trump. Eg, he describes a meme that he and many other Jewish journalists have received, in which the face of the upset journalist is stuck into a gas chamber. In addition, a smiling Trump in Nazi uniform pushes the switch for the gas chamber.

In Trump’s defense, it is often stated that he can not be anti-Semitic because his daughter Ivanka has converted to Judaism, some of his grandchildren are Jewish, and because his government has a pro-Israel policy. … But according to Weisman, two things can be true at the same time: Trump may not be an anti-Semite, but his behaviour on social media does legitimize anti-Semitism. He does this by, among other things, maybe consciously retweeting tweets by anti-Semites.

Moreover, the logic of alt-right anti-Semitism fits perfectly with Trumps pro-Israel stance. They want the Jews to leave, that they leave towards their own state. Along that line, it can not hurt that Trump helps Israel build a strong nation-state.

The biggest neo-nazi site in the USA, the Daily Stormer, says: ‘Fellow nazis, don’t worry too much about Trump’s Jewish son-in-law and pro-Netanyahu policies. Important is that Trump fights the [so-called] ‘Jewish agenda’ by fighting LGBTQ people, fighting liberals and socialists, hating Muslims, hating Latin Americans etc. That is more important than going no further against Jews directly than dog whistles‘.

Trump promotes anti-Semitism indirectly even when not mentioning Jews at all. By maligning refugees from Central American dictators as ‘invaders‘ and criminals, he inspired the bloodbath in the Pittsburgh synagogue. Which was not just any synagogue, but a synagogue helping Latin American refugees. If it is supposedly OK to hate one ethnic group ‘because the president says so’, then it will become supposedly OK to hate other groups.

The ADL does not hold the president personally responsible for the resurgence of anti-Semitism. But, like Weisman, they see a strong connection. Before Trump’s election, “anti-Semitic attacks were rare and unexpected” in the USA. In the Trump era, anti-Semitism has been ‘normalized and became a daily practice’. One indication for this, according the ADL, in the top five of words that appear in biographies of Twitter users who spread anti-Semitism: ‘Trump’ is one of those five words.

Marilyn Mayo [of the ADL] sees another example of how Trump and other Republicans indirectly promote anti-Semitism in the demonization of the billionaire … George Soros, who – like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama- received a pipe bomb by mail from the radical Trump fan Cesar Sayoc.

Anyone who visits the Dutch language /pol/ on 4chan – also called /polder/ – immediately knows that he is entering anti-Semitic territory. “Jews not allowed” is in the introduction. …

Recently, a user found it interesting to place the front page of Storm, magazine of the Dutch SS (the edition of September 25, 1942) on the forum. …

All the time you notice how much attention goes to FvD politician [their leader Thierry] Baudet. So his remarks about Soros are received with great enthusiasm …

“I’m sure Thierry is a White Nationalist, the question is whether he can become the biggest party (sic).” …

The greatest common denominator is that they speak in favour of Forum for Democracy. … Sometimes they post photos of the JFvD [FvD youth branch] events they visit, some of them share a picture of a FvD membership card. …

Most attacks by Dutch anti-Semites focus on American Jews, and less on Dutch Jews, although sports journalist Barbara Barend this week on Twitter was attacked as a ‘stinking Jewess’ ….

Why the Dutch Jews receive little attention so far is explained in a podcast of [extreme right organisation] Erkenbrand. Fausto, a prominent member, says that the ‘Jewish power’ only is a factor in Amsterdam, but according to him they are not a problem elsewhere in the Netherlands. Between the lines the message is clear: the ‘problem’ in this country has been resolved years ago. “Although I will not shed any tears if the trains to the east will ride again“, he adds.

Raging Trump Fan Shouts ‘F—ing Jews’ At Florida Recount Protest: here.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s count of hate crimes against Jews jumped significantly in 2017, according to an annual report released Tuesday morning: here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018, by Common Dreams. ‘Hate Is Rising in America’: During Trump’s First Year in Office, Largest Spike in Hate Crimes Since 9/11. “Words matter—hate speech has consequences.”