fuck this, nazi garbage

As US election approaches, NYT intensifies its anti-Russia disinformation campaign
Joseph Kishore, WSWS, Oct 23 2020

In the final weeks of the election campaign, as the Trump administration intensifies its coup plotting and incitement of fascistic violence, US intelligence agencies, with the assistance of the NYT, are once again spreading unsubstantiated propaganda that Russia is seeking to “interfere” in the elections and “sow chaos” in the US. In the space of three days this week, the NYT, the main newspaper politically aligned with the Democratic Party, published three articles focused on the supposed Russian plot. All were co-authored by the NYT’s most reliable stenographer for the CIA, David Sanger. The latest offensive in the NYT’s McCarthyite anti-Russia campaign follows a typical pattern. Ominous assertions and claims are presented as truth, devoid of any concrete facts. Everything is attributed to generally unnamed “intelligence officials,” backed by statements from security firms with close ties to the state. On Tuesday, Sanger and Nicole Perlroth, under the headline “As Election Nears, Government and Tech Firms Push Back on Russia (and Trump),” wrote:

Over the past two weeks, US CYBERCOM and a group of companies led by Microsoft have engaged in an aggressive campaign against a suspected Russian network that they feared could hold election systems hostage come November.

This was followed Wednesday by an article co-authored by Sanger and Julian Barnes, “Iran and Russia Seek to Influence Election in Final Days, US Officials Warn.” The article reported on an announcement the same day from DNI Ratcliff and FBI Director Wray. The NYT claimed:

Iran and Russia have both obtained American voter registration data, top national security officials announced late on Wednesday, providing the first concrete evidence that the two countries are stepping in to try to influence the presidential election as it enters its final two weeks.

Then on Thursday, Sanger, Perlroth and Barnes joined forces to center attention on Russia in the third article, “Russia Poses Greater Election Threat Than Iran, Many US Officials Say.” Pushing back against the efforts of Trump administration officials to focus on Iran, the NYT asserted:

While senior Trump administration officials said this week that Iran has been actively interfering in the presidential election, many intelligence officials said they remained far more concerned about Russia, which in recent days has hacked into state and local computer networks in breaches that could allow Moscow broader access to American voting infrastructure.

All of these reports are based on crass fabrications. Thursday’s article, for example, breathlessly reports:

The discovery of the hacks came as American intelligence agencies, infiltrating Russian networks themselves, have pieced together details of what they believe are Russia’s plans to interfere in the presidential race in its final days or immediately after the election on Nov 3. Officials did not make clear what Russia planned to do, but they said its operations would be intended to help President Trump, potentially by exacerbating disputes around the results, especially if the race is too close to call. FBI and DHS officials also announced on Thursday that Russia’s state hackers had targeted dozens of state and local governments and aviation networks starting in September.

In reporting on the claim that “Russia” has targeted “dozens” of local governments, the NYT links to releases from the FBI and the Cyber-Security and Infrastructure Security Agency. The release reports on the activities of one individual that it claims, without proof, is sponsored by Russia. The technical details in the report note that the IP addresses used in the alleged hacking are actually from Turkey, and there is no attempt to connect the activity with anyone in Russia, let alone the Russian government. As for claims that Russia is trying to manipulate the vote, the NYT notes far down in the article that, even assuming everything they report is true:

Officials say Russia’s ability to change vote tallies nationwide would be difficult, given how disparate American elections are. The graver concern is the potential effect of any attack on a few key precincts in battleground states. Russian hackers recently obtained access “in a couple limited cases, to election jurisdiction, an election-related network,” Christopher C Krebs, the director of the Cyber-Security and Infrastructure Security Agency, said on Thursday. But he was careful to note that the breaches had “nothing to do with the casting and counting” of votes.

The NYT bolsters its claims by citing statements from FireEye, whose CEO, Kevin Mandia, is a former special agent in the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and a former contractor for military industry giant Lockheed. In 2018, FireEye was centrally involved in a move by Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms to censor and close down predominantly left-wing pages and accounts on the basis of allegations of “coordinated inauthentic behavior.” The NYT states:

The officials fear that Russia could change, delete or freeze voter registration or pollbook data, making it harder for voters to cast ballots, invalidating mail-in ballots or creating enough uncertainty to undermine results. “It’s reasonable to assume any attempt at the election systems could be for the same purpose,” said John Hultquist, the director of threat analysis at FireEye, a security firm that has been tracking the Russian group’s foray into state and local systems. “This could be the reconnaissance for disruptive activity.”

Hultquist’s bio on the company website notes that he was “previously involved in counter-insurgency operations in the US Army.” The intensified NYT-CIA operation of “Russian meddling” serves several interrelated political aims. First, there is an ongoing battle within the state over the direction of foreign policy. Thursday’s article in the NYT was aimed at pressing back at the efforts of the Trump administration to focus on Iran at the expense of Russia. For the past four years, opposition within the state to Trump has centered on the concerns within the factions of the military-intelligence apparatus for which the Democrats speak that Trump has been insufficiently aggressive against Russia. The NYT quoted Nancy Pelosi as saying:

Russia is the villain here. From what we have seen in the public domain, Iran is a bad actor, but in no way equivalent.

At the presidential debate on Thursday night, Biden seized on a question from moderator Kristen Welker about the reports that “both Russia and Iran are working to influence this election” by attacking Trump for being soft on Russia, threatening:

They will pay a price if I’m elected! They’re interfering with American sovereignty! And to the best of my knowledge, I don’t think the President said anything to Putin about it!

Second, it is part of the official cover-up the very real and ongoing conspiracy by the Trump administration to stoke fascistic violence and remain in power whatever the outcome of the vote. As the NYT hysterically reports on manufactured claims of Russian interference, it has entirely dropped coverage of the coup by fascistic militia, encouraged by the White House and with ties to sections of the police, to kidnap and murder the Democratic governors of Michigan and Virginia. While Biden and Trump traded accusations on Thursday of being in the pockets of Russia and China, not a word was said about these plots or Trump’s efforts to establish a presidential dictatorship. As a party of Wall Street and the military, the Democrats are terrified of the growth of popular opposition to the Trump administration that will develop into a broader struggle against the ruling class and the capitalist system. Thus, as Trump calls on his supporters to monitor polling stations, arms in hand, it is supposedly Russia that is responsible for “undermining American confidence in the election” and “exacerbating disputes around the results,” as the NYT put it.

Finally, the anti-Russia campaign of the Democrats and the intelligence agencies has always been connected to demands for increased internet censorship and the criminalization of domestic opposition. The growth of mass anger in the US is to be attributed not to unprecedented levels of social inequality, the endless string of police murders or the ruling class’s criminal pandemic policy that has resulted in the deaths of nearly 230k Americans, but the efforts of Russia to “sow discontent.” Even as it covers up Trump’s coup plotting in the final weeks of the elections, the Democratic Party is engaged in discussions behind the scenes with sections of the state and the Republican Party over what to do if Trump attempts to remain in power even if he loses. If the Democrats come to power next year, it will be on the basis of a commitment to intensified war abroad, further attacks on democratic rights within the US, and the strengthening of the power of the military-intelligence apparatus.

Right-wing groups sue Michigan over ban on weapons at polling stations
Michael Anders, WSWS, Oct 23 2020

In this Apr 15 2020 file photo, protesters carry guns outside the Capitol Building in Lansing, Mich.
(Photo: Paul Sancya File/AP)

A week after Michigan Sec State Jocelyn Benson issued an order banning open carry of firearms at polling stations, police and sheriffs are still refusing to enforce the order, the purpose of which is to bar extreme right-wing militias across the state from assaulting voters and potentially staging a takeover of the state Capitol. Two weeks ago, federal officials arrested 13 people in Michigan for plotting to do just this. The militiamen also planned to kidnap and execute the state’s Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer. Yesterday, three right-wing organizations filed a lawsuit to overturn the order and to support the semi-rebellion by police against the state’s elected officials. These organizations are Michigan Gun Owners, Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners, and Michigan Open Carry Inc, whose lawyer Dean Greenblatt has filed the suit with the Michigan Court of Claims. Greenblatt is suing Attorney General Dana Nessel, Sec State Benson, and director of the Michigan State Police Joe Gasper.

When statewide police and sheriffs’ organizations came forward to say they would not enforce the order last week, Nessel stated that the state police would step in and enforce it for them. Nessel has also warned that the plot against Whitmer remains a live threat, and that what has been revealed in court so far is “just the tip of the iceberg.” The fight over weapons at the polls in Michigan raises the question, which authorities are in charge of the state: police or the state’s elected officials? The issue is being closely followed on a national level because Trump has called for his supporters to “go into the polls and watch very carefully.” This is a blatant threat to carry out violence against voters and is a critical element of Trump’s strategy to remain in power no matter the outcome of the Nov 3 vote. In a statement published on his Facebook page, Greenblatt claims:

The Sec State’s order disenfranchises voters who wish to exercise their fundamental right to self-protection. The Sec State requires that voters either abandon their Second Amendment right of self-protection or their fundamental right to vote.

In reality, the purpose of the lawsuit is to facilitate fascist militias’ plans to prepare right-wing violence at polling stations on election day. These are the same arguments made by representatives of the state’s police and sheriffs’ associations in refusing to enforce the order. In refusing to enforce the order, the police and sheriffs are operating with the support of the Trump campaign and state Republican leadership. Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey has denounced the order against open carry at the polls. His spox Amber McCann derided the secretary of state’s concerns, saying:

But we recognize her actual job is not as attention-grabbing as making up firearm policies less than 20 days before an election.

Police opponents of the order include the executive director and CEO of the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association, Matt Saxton, and Livingston County Sheriff Mike Murphy. According to Saxton, “the order was a solution in search of a problem,” while Murphy stated:

You vote where you live. The chances of having an outside influence come in and be disruptive, I don’t see that happening.

These statements are denials of the danger posed by far-right militias who were just exposed as having attempted to kidnap and murder the governor. Another lawsuit has also been filed by Robert Davis, which echoes the argument that the order protects against a non-existent threat. According to Davis:

The Sec State is creating hysteria that simply is not there. This Sec State is driven by power. It’s quite evident that this is the classic example of the most egregious government overreach that I’ve witnessed.

During the first presidential debate, President Trump ordered the fascist Proud Boys to “Stand back and stand by.” In a campaign video posted to Facebook the week before the debate, Donald Trump Jr urged Trump’s supporters to become part of the “army for Trump’s election security operation.” This was followed by the revelation of the plot against Whitmer by militia with ties to the anti-lockdown protests funded by Republicans close to Trump.

The Democratic Party in Michigan has made no appeal to the public about the danger to voting rights. The corporate media has not made an issue out of the fact that almost an entire state’s police and sheriffs are refusing to obey the orders of elected officials. Instead, the Democrats are relying on loyalist elements in the State Police to prevent the continuing coup attempts. They are aware that stating the truth about what is happening in Michigan would only engender opposition to the police and radicalize the population. The Democrats are appealing to the police, the very same forces in rebellion against them, as being the final arbiters of democratic rights in Michigan. Recently, the Michigan Dept of Civil Rights has announced support for having the police at the polls. Its director, James E White, who retired as Detroit’s Assistant Chief of Police to take the position, stated:

The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy. We take very seriously anything that interferes with that right in violation of state and federal civil rights laws.

The presence of police at polling stations, however, will only make matters worse and will depress the vote in predominantly working class areas, where police violence is most prevalent and severe, to say nothing of the threat that the police themselves will facilitate militia intimidation against voters. In its response to the police actions, the Democratic Party is playing into Trump’s hands in this critical battleground state.

Boogaloo adherent charged by FBI with shooting Minneapolis police precinct during George Floyd protests
Jacob Crosse, WSWS, Oct 23 2020

46635b39-0c0a-4a14-acf4-d62c7a252823Ivan Hunter and Benjamin Teeter
(Photo from sworn FBI affidavit)

On Friday the US Dept of Justice released a federal criminal complaint against Ivan H. Hunter, 26, of Boerne, Texas, charging him with participating in a riot for his alleged role during protests in Minneapolis, Minnesota following the police murder of George Floyd on May 25. Hunter was arrested in Houston, Texas. The allegation against Hunter is only the latest in over a dozen instances so far this year of violence by adherents of the far-right movement known as the boogaloo boys that has resulted in either criminal charges, arson or death. The affidavit contains several startling revelations, including that Hunter was in communication with several other boogaloo boys including Steven Carrillo, Michael Solomon, and Benjamin Teeter, prior to, during and after, all three committed their alleged separate crimes. All four are currently in police custody. Carrillo is currently facing the death penalty and multiple life sentences for his alleged role in killing Federal Protective Services Officer David P Underwood on May 29, and for killing Santa Cruz County Sheriff Damon Gutzwiller on Jun 6. Meanwhile, Solomon and Teeter were arrested on Sep 3 for their alleged role in providing weapons to FBI agents posing as Hamas members in order to fund terrorist attacks. The multiple charges against members of the far-right group fly in the face of claims made by Trump, Barr and Democratic governors such as Minnesota’s Tim Walz that violence at protests is predominantly the fault of “anarchists” and “antifa.” According to the affidavit, Carillo and Hunter had a close working relationship that goes back to at least last year. In one example cited, Hunter messaged Carrillo on Mar 14:

It’s time to start drafting that op. The one we talked about in December. I’ma green light some shit.

Carrillo responded, “Sounds good, bro!” The boogaloo boys are an anti-communist, libertarian movement that first sprang up on online forums 4chan and the neo-Nazi Iron March forum in the early 2010s. The movement, filled with ex- and current US military members, glorifies capitalism, nationalism and guns while advocating homicidal terrorist violence against the US government including against the police and agents with the FBI and the BATFE. Donning floral pastel shirts, body armor and semi-automatic weapons, boogaloo adherents have been spotted at anti-lockdown rallies in the winter and spring and at protests against police violence throughout the summer. While sometimes feigning sympathy with black victims of police violence, the movement is dominated by white supremacist ideology. In private messages, members have professed to using demonstrations as a cover to advance their apocalyptic “revolution” by instigating violence between protesters and police via terrorist actions.

As part of this “accelerationist” outlook, Hunter is alleged to have fired 13 rounds from an “AK-47 style semi-automatic” into the Minneapolis Police Third Precinct on May 28, while people believed to be protesters were still inside the building. Last month the DOJ charged four people (Dylan Robinson 22, Davon Turner 24, Bryce Williams 26 and Branden Wolfe 23) with conspiracy to commit arson for allegedly starting the precinct on fire. It is unknown what connection those four had with Hunter, if any. According to the complaint, which utilized cell phone information obtained through a search warrant, Hunter answered a public May 26 Facebook post by Solomon requesting a “head count.” Hunter replied, telling Solomon the next day that he was “72 hours out.” On May 27, Teeter, driving from North Carolina, messaged Hunter:

We’re still in route. Once we arrive we’re going to get a central command established and primary and secondary comms channels.

That same day, Teeter also publicly posted on Facebook:

Lock and load boys. Boog flags are in the air, and the national network is going off.

After arriving in Minneapolis, the affidavit alleges Solomon and Hunter coordinated a rally point in a grocery store parking lot near the police precinct on May 28. Hunter messaged Solomon to let him know they had “a team of 5” at 8:30 pm At 10:30 pm, Hunter again messaged Solomon letting him know in “2 min, you’ll [see] my truck.” Cell phone tracking data placed his location two blocks from the precinct. The government alleges it was at this time that Hunter fired 13 rounds into the building, which was captured on video. In the tape, which has not been publicly released, the shooter, wearing a tactical vest and a skull mask similar to Hunter’s, high-fives an unidentified person after shooting the building, exclaiming, “Justice for Floyd!” After the shooting Hunter texted back and forth with Carrillo as they both offered each other encouragement. Hunter began by telling Carrillo to “Go go go” and “boog.” Carrillo responded: “did,” a reference to the drive-by shooting he committed roughly four hours earlier which killed one person and left another one injured. Hunter responded: “Luv.” Carrillo advised Hunter that he was in “hide mode,” when Hunter replied that he should, “go for police buildings,” Carrillo replied, “I did better lol.” Two days later, while Carrillo was on the run, Hunter sent him a Facebook message asking him for money, Carrillo responded he was going to “I’m gonna be in the woods for a bit” and then sent him $200. Hunter thanked him for the money, to which Carrillo responded, “You’re doing good shit out there, stay safe,” Hunter replied, “You too King!”

Hunter left Minnesota on May 30 and participated in a Jun 3 George Floyd protest near Austin, Texas. During the protests the affidavit states that Austin police officers, “observed Hunter and two other men wearing tactical gear and carrying rifles… The three men entered a pick-up truck and drove off, officers watched the vehicle commit numerous traffic violations.” During the traffic stop, police “observed a baggie of suspected marijuana in plain view,” which Hunter, sitting in the passenger seat, claimed was his. Police also “observed” Hunter wearing a tactical vest that had “six loaded magazines for an AK-47 style assault rifle” while the two other passengers also had “AR-15 magazines affixed to their vests.” In addition to the magazines and drugs, police found five weapons, including two AR-15’s, an AK-47 and two pistols. One of the AK-47 magazines had a distinct floral pattern on it, which Hunter had posted on Facebook four days earlier. During the traffic stop Hunter denied owning any of the weapons to police, but did volunteer to Austin police that “he was the leader of the Boogaloo bois in South Texas and that he was present in Minneapolis when the Third Precinct was set on fire.” The police confiscated the weapons and drugs, and then let all three men leave the scene. In August, a confidential human source working with the FBI said Hunter admitted to him that he had fired his weapon into the precinct and helped set it on fire. Hunter told the informant that he is a boogaloo boy and that he and Carrillo were the founding members of the “Happy Friends Group” which according to Hunter is a “fire team” that will respond to police attempting to confiscate weapons.

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