Fake-fictions – Ghosts Of Abu Ghraib http://ghostsofabughraib.org/ Wed, 25 May 2022 00:55:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9 https://ghostsofabughraib.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/icon-120x120.jpg Fake-fictions – Ghosts Of Abu Ghraib http://ghostsofabughraib.org/ 32 32 ‘Prehistoric Planet’ on Apple TV+ brings dinosaurs to life https://ghostsofabughraib.org/prehistoric-planet-on-apple-tv-brings-dinosaurs-to-life/ Mon, 23 May 2022 17:03:08 +0000 https://ghostsofabughraib.org/prehistoric-planet-on-apple-tv-brings-dinosaurs-to-life/ As simple as the phrase “66 million years ago” is, it is impossible for a human mind to truly understand. A notion of a time so, so long ago is simple enough to conceptualize in books, scholarly journals, and encyclopedias, in writing, and in conversation, but it conjures up a period of time that feels […]]]>

As simple as the phrase “66 million years ago” is, it is impossible for a human mind to truly understand. A notion of a time so, so long ago is simple enough to conceptualize in books, scholarly journals, and encyclopedias, in writing, and in conversation, but it conjures up a period of time that feels false, like something foreign. The plants were different, the insects were huge, the continents were in the wrong places, the very air was made up of a different combination of fundamental elements. Not to mention the reptilian beasts that populated almost every corner of the globe. prehistoric planetthe five-night event series on Apple TV+, offers a new way to look at an ancient past: not as an alien world, but as a time remarkably similar to our own.

In 1999, Walk with the dinosaurs, a co-production between the Discovery Channel and the BBC, premiered on television and changed the face of dinosaur documentaries forever. The most expensive documentary mini-series ever made, the show used a combination of hands-on puppets and cutting-edge computer-generated imagery and the latest (for the time) scientific knowledge to bring a long-lost world to life. . It was followed by 2011 Dinosaur Planetwhose recreations of prehistoric landscapes and over 50 species were entirely digital. prehistoric planet is the third in the BBC’s dinosaur event series, its five episodes airing over five consecutive nights, superimposing updated versions of its digital dinosaurs over real footage of modern nature.

Fashioned like nature documentaries, these three shows stand out for their treatment of their subjects: not as terrifying movie monsters or brutal walking nightmares, but as the animals they were, using a combination of the fossil record , many decades of history. the evolution of scientific theory and what we know about the wildlife that exists today to give us as close a glimpse as possible of creatures that have been extinct for millions of years. It helps that prehistoric planet is also narrated by David Attenborough, the voice of a whole generation of nature shows and films.

prehistoric planet takes place entirely in the Late Cretaceous period, around 66 million years ago (the most recent era of the dinosaurs). This time around, things look markedly different: most of the creatures we see on screen in this series have the rudimentary beginnings of feathers, even tyrannosaurus rex, the young of which, perhaps, were covered with a bird’s down. Because the show is limited to a single geological period, there’s plenty of room for the more obscure dinosaurs to take center stage. T. rex and Velociraptor and Triceratops are there, but also Barbaridactulysa huge pteranodon with an antler-like head crest half the length of its wingspan; olorotitan, four-legged herbivores that travel in herds in the desert; and Deinocheirus, a feathered, waterlogged giant wandering through fly-infested swamps. Frog lovers will appreciate the surprise appearance of Beelzebufoa huge carnivorous amphibian with a name like a witch’s curse.

prehistoric planet, and docu-series like this, are versatile. They’re fun and entertaining shows for those who just want to dip a toe into another world for a few hours, but they’re also fascinating visualizations of the leaps and bounds that scientific knowledge of fossils has crossed over the years, especially when seen in conjunction with all of the above.

We’ve only been studying dinosaurs as we know them for about 200 years. Something new is discovered several times a year. Theories are constantly being debated and developed. Feathers, a relatively new discovery, allow visual effects artists to play with the colors and patterns that may have existed, fashioning one particular species of raptor after the lunar face of a barn owl, and another with the iridescent blue shine of a peacock. They seem to have more weight, more meat on their bones, much like today’s warm-blooded animals. Compared to the round predators of prehistoric planetthe menacing presence at Nosferatu of jurassic parkis iconic T. rex looks almost skeletal.

Because this is presented as a nature documentary, little effort is made to describe what Earth was like millions of years ago, which causes a bit of time confusion. Attenborough will describe a subject as living in “modern North America”, which is accurate insofar as that is where the fossils were undoubtedly found. found, but ignores the fact that none of our continents actually existed at the time. Closest to any reference to an ancient map is a nod to the “Sea of ​​Tethys”, a body of water separating the supercontinents Laurasia to the north and Gondwana to the south, which eventually became the landmasses on which we live today. (If you are very bothered by this #erasure of continental drift, at the end of each episode viewers are directed to the show websiteupdated with more detailed information.)

Unlike a nature documentary, a large part prehistoric planet cannot simply be taken at face value, despite Attenborough’s benevolent and authoritative voice. We have no idea if any of the interspecies dramas we see on screen – an aquatic Mosasaur swim out T. rexa Carnotaurus using its hilarious tiny arms for a mating display – even “has happened”, beyond what is present in the fossil record. Instead of treating that as a weakness, the almost totally hypothetical nature of this show is a testament to the work that has gone into it, from paleontologists to behind-the-scenes visual effects artists, the unsung heroes of the entertainment industry.

prehistoric planet is built on such contradictions, a documentary made up of fictions, fictions made up of indisputable facts, a vision of a distant past that could only be made from our knowledge of the present. A show like this is a kind of time travel. There’s a reason the only non-digital images are landscapes: jungles and temperate forests, deserts and snowy expanses – which of course were captured here in our time. This world of 66 million years ago looks so much like our planet because it once did. Thinking about it this way, it doesn’t seem far off at all.

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A Power Rangers actor was arrested for setting up fake companies to do digital scams https://ghostsofabughraib.org/a-power-rangers-actor-was-arrested-for-setting-up-fake-companies-to-do-digital-scams/ Fri, 20 May 2022 18:52:22 +0000 https://ghostsofabughraib.org/a-power-rangers-actor-was-arrested-for-setting-up-fake-companies-to-do-digital-scams/ One of the actors of the memorable series of the 90s Power Rangers It was stopped this Thursday after being involved in a digital scam related to COVID-19 loans. From what the magazine pointed out People, Austin Saint John -whose real name is Jason Lawrence Geiger- could face up to 20 years in prison. I […]]]>

One of the actors of the memorable series of the 90s Power Rangers It was stopped this Thursday after being involved in a digital scam related to COVID-19 loans.

From what the magazine pointed out People, Austin Saint John -whose real name is Jason Lawrence Geiger- could face up to 20 years in prison.

I also read: The curse of the ‘Power Rangers’: an accident that left the cast orphaned, the crime with a saber and a brutal murder on a yacht

Why was the red power ranger arrested

Officers of the FBI They raided the St. John’s home in McKinney, Texas on Thursday and discovered that the actor, along with other people, had tried to defraud the Federal Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program.

This system is somewhat similar to what Argentina became known as IFEalthough in this case the loans were at the corporate level and not personal.

Austin St. John as Red Power Ranger. (Photo: Saban Entertainment/Courtesy: Everett Collection)

The man who played Jason Lee Scott on the show, along with the other defendants, received over $3.5 million in 16 separate loans, which aimed to relieve businesses that could not work due to the restrictions. in full quarantine.

The supplemental indictment alleges the wire fraud was allegedly led by two defendants, Michael Hill and Andrew Moran, who arranged for the 18 defendants to apply for loans through existing or newly created small businesses. The actor appears on this list.

What was “Power Rangers” about and what tragedies there were among the actors

original series Power Rangerswhich was called in English Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, It was one of the most watched cycles in the 90s. Created by Shuki Levy there Haim Sabanwere three seasons that ran between 1993 and 1996 in 156 episodes, according to IMDbwhich lasted about half an hour.

In the plot, a group of ordinary young people are specifically selected by the magician Zordon to have superpowers and, with the help of robots called DinoZordsto be able to defend the Earth from the clutches of the evil witch Rita Repulsa.

Within the cast, there have been police situations, tragedies and scandals. One was the Thuy Trang, the yellow Power Ranger. On September 3, 2001 and at the age of 27, she went as a bridesmaid at the wedding of her friend, Angela Rockwood. The car she was in as a passenger deviated from the route, crashed into a ditch and rolled over: she bled to death when she was airlifted to hospital.

"Power Rangers" It aired in the mid-90s. (Photo: YouTube capture)
“Power Rangers” aired in the mid-1990s. (Photo: YouTube capture)

There are two shocking police cases that intersect with two different casts. One concerns an actor who, at the age of 14, participated as an extra in the original series in the episode “Second Chance”, broadcast in 1994. It is Skylar Julius DeLeon, who was convicted of murder in the first year Tom and Jackie Hawks, a couple who he was looking to sell his yacht.

Another brutal crime was related to one of the performers who put on the red costume. is about Ricardo Medina, Jr.., who played one of the superheroes in the only season he had Power Rangers Wild Force in 2002, one of many replicas of the original series. The actor not only took part in this fiction but he also worked on ER Emergencies there Expert: Miamiamong other minor fictions.

I also read: Power Rangers actor Pua Magasiva has died

The murder took place on February 1, 2015. The interpreter had a fierce fight with a friend, Josh Sutter, after finding his girlfriend at his house. During the discussion, the former Power Ranger took a sword and stabbed him several times. The bladed weapon was not just any: it was a saber similar to the ones in the movie Conan the Barbarianas described by you IMDb.

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Unearthed evidence maps Western Tigray conflict https://ghostsofabughraib.org/unearthed-evidence-maps-western-tigray-conflict/ Fri, 13 May 2022 07:00:00 +0000 https://ghostsofabughraib.org/unearthed-evidence-maps-western-tigray-conflict/ Two recently discovered 19th century maps show Welkait as part of Tigray. Western Tigray is important not only because of the multiple war crimes committed there since November 2020, but also because the Amhara region claims it as historical land of Amhara and annexed it unconstitutionally. According to the Ethiopian constitution, regional boundaries are based […]]]>

Two recently discovered 19th century maps show Welkait as part of Tigray.

Western Tigray is important not only because of the multiple war crimes committed there since November 2020, but also because the Amhara region claims it as historical land of Amhara and annexed it unconstitutionally.

According to the Ethiopian constitution, regional boundaries are based on ethnolinguistic settlement patterns, not historical administrative arrangements. As a result, Western Tigray became part of Tigray as there was a predominance residents of Tigrigna mother tongue.

However, many Amhara nationalists have used Amhara’s alleged historical ownership over these areas as justification for annexation. While this “historical ownership” argument is irrelevant to the current federal arrangement, further examination of these claims from Amhara irredentists is warranted.

After all, Amhara irredentism was one of the driving forces behind the war against Tigray and the withdrawal from this fertile area of ​​Tigray seems to have been part of the strategy of subjugating the region.

As proof, a supporter of the Ethiopian regime proudly declared in July 2021: “Let them go! The defeated Greater Tigray had to abandon the fertile regions it had stolen from the Amharas in the 1990s and had to retreat to its arid regions. heimat… Tigray no longer has modern agriculture and industry, the infrastructure is destroyed.

In a fascinating presentation April 13 in Berlin Horn of Africa Scientific Working GroupProfessor Wolbert Smidt has shown for the first time extracts from a map which contradicts the Gondarine account of the history of western Tigray.

In further detailed research, we uncovered several maps from the mid-19and Century in which Western Tigray is clearly mapped as part of the then Confederate arrangement of Tigray.

The purpose here is not to rule on land claim based on specific maps, but rather to demonstrate that CF Weiland (1841) and FH Handtke (1849) fit into a wide range of historical maps and documents that jointly reveal that territorial organization has varied enormously over time.

In other words, the Amhara nationalist narrative of western Tigray ancestral ownership is disconnected from the historical record. Either way, rather than relying on historic ownership debates, territorial disputes should reflect current realities.

Handtke’s map

In view of its greater accuracy, I have chosen to focus on Handtke’s map (1849), which was prepared by a German atlas printer in the mid-19and century.

Handtke’s map measures 39cm wide and 66cm high and is printed on paper glued to fabric. The scale is approximately 1:5,600,000; the relief is represented by short lines representing the aspect of the slope and a general impression of inclination (hatching).

The mapbased on early and mid 19and diplomatics of the century and other sources, was produced by lithographic printing, with manual coloring of the outlines, as has been done for many maps prepare at this moment.

The work was created in one of the few most solid cartographic publishing houses of the 19and century in Germany, led by Carl Flemming (1806-1878). Flemming was helped by the cartographer Friedrich Handtke (1815-1879), who work on almost every mapping assignment for the company.

Northeast Africa in 1849

The map shows that the geography of the Red Sea coast, Egypt and “Nubia” was fairly well known, as well as that of the northern and central highlands of Ethiopia. These have been mapped in relative detail for “Tigris”, “Amhara” and to the south with fuzzy boundaries for “Schoa”, as the mapmakers made reference to these areas.

Due to inaccessibility, the physical geography of the otherwise well-mapped northern highlands contains a major error: the Areqwa River, which flows directly into the Tekeze River, was erroneously mapped as parallel to Tekeze and intercepting other tributaries or tributaries such as the Giba and Weri’i Rivers (Fig. 1).

Further south, “Enarea”, “Dschimma” and “Kaffa” are positioned with little detail. A generic name “Habesch” is written diagonally across the highlands.

Maps of North East Africa from the 19and century provide extensive information on toponyms – which include place names, regional names, and the territorial extent of groups – as well as local ideas of boundaries and routes, overlapping political claims, and conflicts and interactions ethnic.

In other words, they were not just the work of visiting cartographers and scholars; they were the result of interaction with experienced local partners, experts in territorial knowledge and socio-political practices.

Fig. 1. “Habesh” as mapped by Handtke.

On Handtke’s map, Ras Ali’s “Amhara” largely corresponded to the current Amhara region, but with Wollo as a separate entity. The territorial organization of the “Tigris” included the Eritrean highlands (“Baharnagasch”) and the current Tigray region, including “Walkayt” and “Waldubba” in the west (Fig. 1).

It doesn’t have to be seen as a unified “country”. Rather, “Tiger” territory denoted a Confederate-style structure of largely independent provinces and principalities within an alliance that were pacified by Dejazmatch Wubie. Intermediate rivers that were impassable during the rainy season contributed provincial sovereignty within the larger structure.

In 1849, long before the scramble for Africa, Eritrea had not yet entered existence as a separate territory and therefore does not appear on Handtke’s map (1849). On this map, the lowlands west of “Habesh” were also poorly defined, with the appearance of names like “Schangalla”, “Kolla Mazaga” or “Dar El Berta”.

Ongoing litigation

Before Weiland and Handtke, Rigobert Good had already mapped the less precise outlines of a Confederate “Tigray.”

These maps are part of several historical maps that have been omitted from Achamyeleh Tamiru’s work. review which was written to substantiate the claims of Amhara nationalists on Welkait. References to “Wälqayt in Tegré” by Richard Pankhurst (1990) have also been omitted.

These maps show how the argument that Welkait still belonged to provinces like Begemdir comprising Amharic speakers that today make up the Amhara region is not based on evidence, apart from a territorial reorganization in the early and mid-twentieth century.

Indeed, the Abyssinian emperors Menelik II and Haile Selassie I divided the country into provinces, replacing territories that had once been ruled semi-autonomously.

As colonial powers did elsewhere, Haile Selassie cut into these existing territories and used this territorial reorganization as a way to reward his allies. The resulting provinces were built with the strength of local powers, regardless of their ethnic composition.

Fig. 2. Map of the languages ​​of Ethiopia by Trimingham, republished by Westphal, with zoom on the languages ​​of northern Ethiopia. Pejorative xenonyms that were used for certain ethnic groups are not removed.

In contrast, the legitimacy of contemporary Tigray stems from the current federal structure created by the 1995 constitution. ethnolinguistic settlements were favored over historical maps.

Remarkably, all linguistic maps of the Ethiopian state maintain the current borders of the Tigray region. This is the case of the map of the languages ​​of Ethiopia established by J. Spencer Trimingham, and reposted by Egbert Westphal in 1975 (Fig. 2).

The Trimingham and Westphal maps use the provincial boundaries as they were in the 1960s and early 1970s. The northernmost province, Eritrea, has since become an independent state. The Tigray region after 1994 encompasses the Tigrinya-speaking regions of Ethiopia.

Historical maps researched by Ethiomap research projectwith Smidt working on maps of the Ethiopian highlands and northern territories, further findings on the context of the 19th century maps are expected.

In summary, historical cartography demonstrates that claims of long-standing Amhara dominance over Welkait are false. If arguments about historical ownership are to take place, they must consider the full range of evidence. Also, the settlement of territorial disputes should above all reflect the ethnolinguistic situation both before 1991 and before 2020.

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Main photo: “Tiger” as it was mapped in 1841 by Weiland.

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Operation Mincemeat: The True Story of the Netflix WWII Spy Movie https://ghostsofabughraib.org/operation-mincemeat-the-true-story-of-the-netflix-wwii-spy-movie/ Thu, 12 May 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://ghostsofabughraib.org/operation-mincemeat-the-true-story-of-the-netflix-wwii-spy-movie/ Ironically, Madden says he realized after creating his own German third-act double agent solution in Ground Meat Operation that the filmmakers of The man who never was arrived at a similar conundrum over 65 years ago when they separately came up with the vanity of an Irish spy with German sympathies infiltrating London to check […]]]>

Ironically, Madden says he realized after creating his own German third-act double agent solution in Ground Meat Operation that the filmmakers of The man who never was arrived at a similar conundrum over 65 years ago when they separately came up with the vanity of an Irish spy with German sympathies infiltrating London to check documents on the person of Major Martin and seeing the woman who replaces Jean Leslie (whose name is not used in this film) at a distance in order to measure her level of mourning after the death of her supposed fiancé.

“Their response to the third act was to make it an instant verification of the wallet letter and all of its details,” Madden explains. “Which is a perfectly valid answer to the material. Our path was completely different. It suddenly dawned on us that ultimately the third act was about their inability to control and their inability to know what had happened. So ultimately they are faced with a situation akin to existential terror where they have no idea if the other party is actually selling them a piece of disinformation, which could have completely catastrophic effects.

The truth is that there is a debate as to whether the German intelligence services really believed in the bait or simply decided not to tell the Führer.

“Once you’re in that part of the story, there are a number of theories, and you’ll find different ones,” Madden explains. But what is indisputable are various heads of German military intelligence and the military as a whole participated in the July 20, 1944, assassination attempt on Hitler’s life. The Field Marshal who was to replace Hitler as Commander-in-Chief, Erwin von Witzleben, was executed in 1944, and the head of the Abwehr, Willhelm Canaris, was executed in 1945.

Von Witzleben was Hitler’s most trusted confidant on military matters, according to Madden, “and for his treachery he was hung on a meat hook and left to die in that condition for three days or so.” In other words, the revenge was beyond belief. Still, it’s hard to say whether German intelligence was deliberately working against Nazi leaders in 1943, let alone in relation to the body of a British officer found in Spain.

“That’s the fascinating realm you’re getting into with this,” Madden says. “It’s still a guess at this point. It’s true [the British] pushed an open door with the idea that the attack was going to pass through Greece and Sardinia. And the cover plane for this alleged attack was Sicily, which is a nice flip. It’s true that Hitler was extremely paranoid at the time because the war machine had been built entirely out of materials he was getting from the Balkans, and obviously having no idea how long that conflict lasted, it was a very, very essential factor for him. So he was probably inclined to believe this idea in some ways.

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the artist explores the ill-gotten art and jewelry of the Marcos family as his son Ferdinand Jr leads the presidential elections https://ghostsofabughraib.org/the-artist-explores-the-ill-gotten-art-and-jewelry-of-the-marcos-family-as-his-son-ferdinand-jr-leads-the-presidential-elections/ Mon, 09 May 2022 11:27:34 +0000 https://ghostsofabughraib.org/the-artist-explores-the-ill-gotten-art-and-jewelry-of-the-marcos-family-as-his-son-ferdinand-jr-leads-the-presidential-elections/ Filipinos go to the polls today to elect their next president, and the leading candidate according to recent polls is a controversial figure: Ferdinand Marcos Jr, the son of ousted former dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his wife, Imelda. Among the concerns raised by human rights groups at the prospect of Marcos Jr’s election victory is […]]]>

Filipinos go to the polls today to elect their next president, and the leading candidate according to recent polls is a controversial figure: Ferdinand Marcos Jr, the son of ousted former dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his wife, Imelda. Among the concerns raised by human rights groups at the prospect of Marcos Jr’s election victory is what will happen to legal efforts to recover the more than $10 billion that his family is suspected of having hijacked the country to finance their luxurious lifestyle, which included secret Swiss bank accounts, real estate in Manhattan, millions of dollars in rare jewelry and hundreds of works of art, many of which are still missing.

Known as Bongbong, Marcos Jr spent his political career rewrite the history of his family, downplaying the human rights abuses committed during his father’s reign of martial law and describing this period as a “golden age” of prosperity and order in the Philippines. Marcos Jr’s recent rise to prominence and popularity has been attributed to a disinformation campaign and social media blitz. A particularly outrageous lie that has proliferated is that the Marcos family’s inexplicable wealth stems from a legendary gold stash, which was either hidden by a Japanese general on the islands during World War II and found by the elder Marcos, or given to him as a gift for legal services rendered to a mythical royal family.

“The Marcos have always been incredibly good at using political fiction for personal gain”

Pio Abad, artist

In reality, the Marcos family was accused of large-scale corruption and embezzlement, and soon after Ferdinand Sr. was removed from office in the People Power Revolution of 1986, an agency known as the Presidential Commission on good government (PCGG) was created to track down the family’s illicit assets. Around $5 billion was clawed back by the PCGG, its chairman John Agbayani told Reuters, but another $2.5 billion is tied up in legal cases, and more is still missing. Imelda Marcos was sentenced for seven registry accounts in 2018 and sentenced to 42 years in prison, although she is appealing this decision.

Manila-born, London-based artist Pio Abad pictured at his exhibition The fear of freedom makes us see ghosts at the Ateneo Art Gallery in Quezon City Courtesy of the artist

“The PCGG, a Presidential Commission, was created specifically to find the Marcos’ ill-gotten assets and liquidate them on behalf of the Philippine Treasury. There is still Marcos loot in the custody of the PCGG, including Imelda’s horde of jewellery,” says Pio Abad, a Manila-born, London-based artist who uses his art to expose the history of exploitation. of the family. “What will happen when a Marcos heads a commission to prosecute the Marcos family for their crimes? It’s not hard to guess.

Abad is currently showing a series of works that examine the corruption of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos in the solo exhibition The fear of freedom makes us see ghosts at the Ateneo Art Gallery in Quezon City (until July 30). The museum is on the campus of the Ateneo de Manila University, where Abad’s parents were arrested on campus in 1980 for their political activism against the Marcos regime, after being released from incarceration in a military camp .

The exhibition opens with a photograph taken by the artist’s mother, Dina, at the presidential residence Malacañang Palace. Abad’s parents were among the first wave of protesters to enter the Marcos’ lavish home hours after the family was driven out of the country on February 25, 1986. Pictured, Abad’s father Butch poses at alongside a portrait of Ferdinand Marcos portrayed as Malakas, the first man in Philippine mythology. Imelda was often introduced as Maganda, her female counterpart.

“The Marcos have always been incredibly adept at using political fiction for personal gain,” says Abad. “At the height of the dictatorial illusion, Ferdinand and Imelda portrayed themselves as the Adam and Eve of Philippine mythology, emerging naked from a single stalk of bamboo.” The propaganda machine has only gotten better technologically since the family returned from a short exile in Hawaii to reintegrate into the political world of the Philippines.

At Pio Abad Malakas to Maganda (1986-2022) (2014-22), an enlarged replica of a sculpture by Anastacio Caedo Courtesy of the artist; Photo: In Maculangan

“The weaponization of social media and the rise of fake news that has empowered Trump, Putin, Duterte and other authoritarian regimes has also been the perfect vehicle for the Marcoses to spread more lies and disinformation,” he said. Abad said. “They used troll farms to attack and harass their enemies and deployed Tiktok, Facebook and Youtube to rewrite history and portray dictatorship as a golden age in the Philippines. And all this using the money they stole from the Filipino people.

Perhaps the clearest demonstration of how the Marcos family stole the country’s resources is shown by Abad The Jane Ryan and William Saunders Collection, a series of works recreating the jewels smuggled out of the country by Imelda Marcos. The title is based on the fake names the couple used open bank accounts at Credit Suisse in Zurich, where they channeled millions of dollars for their own use.

Working in collaboration with his wife, Frances Wadsworth Jones, who is a jeweler, Abad made 3D replicas of the former first lady’s stash of gems, which have been confiscated by the government and are kept in a bank vault in Manila. The copies are based on photographs taken of the collection when it was appraised by Christie’s in 2016, in preparation for sale at auction, although that sale never took place.

Works from The Jane Ryan and William Saunders Collection (2019) by Frances Wadsworth Jones and Pio Abad, with Jillian Robredo, daughter of opposition leader Leni Robredo, in the background Photo: Clefvan Pornela

The hoard of lavish jewelry has been valued at over $21 million, and with his recreations, Abad highlights the social services and public uses the gems could have paid for. A Cartier tiara, for example, could fund the treatment of 12,051 tuberculosis patients until they are fully recovered, while a heart-shaped ruby ​​cabochon and matching necklace, bracelet and earring set could pay 52,631. textbooks for 11th and 12th graders. Imelda has fought several times in court to get the jewelry back, but so far without success.

“The depiction of Imelda Marcos as a ridiculously outlandish figure also served as an elaborate distraction from their crimes, as she served as an entertaining smokescreen for human rights abuses, state-sponsored killings and the large-scale plunder that occurred during the Marcos kleptocracy,” says Abad.

Since the family was allowed to return to the Philippines in 1991 after the death of Ferdinand Sr, they have rebuilt their grip on power. Imelda Marcos ran for president twice, unsuccessfully, but served in the House of Representatives for three terms. His daughter Imee Marcos is currently a senator and previously served as governor of the province of Ilocos Norte, a family stronghold. Ferdinand Jr also served as a senator and governor of Ilocos Norte, before running for vice president in 2016, which he lost to his current presidential opponent, lawyer and human rights activist Leni Robredo. male.

Judy Taguiwalo, an activist imprisoned during the dictatorship, examining Abad’s postcards which collect Marcoses’ collection of old master paintings Photo: Clefvan Pornela

In addition to the whitewashing of history the family promoted, many voters may not have clear memories of the dictatorship, as they were too young or unborn when Ferdinand Sr was ousted from power. . “The absence of the horrors of the dictatorship from the educational curricula is also a contributing factor,” says Abad. “You have to take into account this history and the need to create a structure to teach this history. We cannot claim that we will never forget if we do not actively remember.

But despite polls showing Ferdinand Jr winning the election by a wide margin, Abad sees hope in the candidacy of Vice President Leni Robredo, who he says “inspired an explosion of creativity and passion. citizenship among many Filipinos”. The artist’s brother, Luis Abad, for example, is running as deputy for the island of Batanes, where their father’s family is from, on a list of the Liberal Party, the same party as Robredo.

“What happens on the ground goes against the readings,” says the artist. “This weekend alone, nearly a million people turned out for Leni Robredo’s latest campaign rally. The entire stretch of Ayala Avenue in downtown Manila was filled with people dressed in pink (the color of its campaign). This is not an isolated event either, as Robredo campaigned across the country, people rallied in their hundreds of thousands to support his vision of decency and transparency in government, and to rally against the return of fascism to the country.

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Fact checkers call fake pre-election news ‘firehose of lies’ https://ghostsofabughraib.org/fact-checkers-call-fake-pre-election-news-firehose-of-lies/ Sun, 08 May 2022 21:10:00 +0000 https://ghostsofabughraib.org/fact-checkers-call-fake-pre-election-news-firehose-of-lies/ Photo from INQUIRER.net file MANILA, Philippines — More than 65 million Filipino voters will head to the polls on Monday, after being inundated with an unprecedented amount of fake news spread across multiple platforms and formats akin to a “fire hose of lies,” according to Tsek.ph — an independent fact-checking coalition. Even more alarming, Tsek.ph […]]]>

Photo from INQUIRER.net file

MANILA, Philippines — More than 65 million Filipino voters will head to the polls on Monday, after being inundated with an unprecedented amount of fake news spread across multiple platforms and formats akin to a “fire hose of lies,” according to Tsek.ph — an independent fact-checking coalition.

Even more alarming, Tsek.ph noted, is the increased proliferation of lies that have targeted the Electoral Commission, the Catholic Church and the media for their supposed role in perpetuating electoral fraud that can steal the election from the country. current favourite, Ferdinand. Marcos Jr.

“If the public has little confidence in these institutions, the electoral process would be less credible because these institutions play a crucial role on election day,” said Tsek.ph organizers Yvonne Chua, Diosa Labiste and Felipe Gonzales.

In its second analysis of disinformation across multiple social media platforms, Tsek.ph – a nationwide coalition of universities, civic and legal groups, and fact-checking media outlets regarding election-related disinformation – said that it “tracked a high volume of multi-pronged, multi-platform news of attacks on selected targets using traditional media and social media sharing communities to spread messages and false narratives.

Specifically, it targeted the top two frontrunners in the presidential race: Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Leni Robredo, as well as allies and groups associated with their candidacy.

Since the start of the election campaign, the two men had been at the center of a so-called “fire hose strategy” intended to inundate consumers with messages peddling lies and fictions, Tsek.ph organizers said. Chua, Labiste and Gonzales.

In their first analysis, which covered 200 fact checks from November 2021 to early February, much of the misinformation they tracked was aimed at suppressing Robredo and improving the tainted image of Marcos Jr.

For the second analysis, which covered 685 fact-checks from February to the end of April, Tsek.ph pointed to several content seeking to “sow confusion in the conduct of the vote, which could undermine the results of the election”, have organizers said.

What’s even more significant is “how supporters of the Marcos-Duterte tandem have managed to further strengthen the narratives in their favor through an increase in the volume of negative posts against Robredo,” organizers said.


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Who will fight for democracy? https://ghostsofabughraib.org/who-will-fight-for-democracy/ Thu, 05 May 2022 04:57:42 +0000 https://ghostsofabughraib.org/who-will-fight-for-democracy/ THE TIME couldn’t have been better – or worse – depending on which side of the political divide you stand on. First, Trevor Mallard authorizes letters to be sent to Winston Peters, Matt King and (apparently) other former MPs, barring them from Parliament for two years. Then, just 24 hours after this story appeared, Hobson’s […]]]>

THE TIME couldn’t have been better – or worse – depending on which side of the political divide you stand on. First, Trevor Mallard authorizes letters to be sent to Winston Peters, Matt King and (apparently) other former MPs, barring them from Parliament for two years. Then, just 24 hours after this story appeared, Hobson’s Pledge inserted a full-page advertisement in the herald usurp the star wars frankness and announcing an “attack on the votes”.

Leaving aside the double standards of the herald: whose editorial team, despite deeming an advertisement by the group Speak Up For Women (featuring nothing more incendiary than the dictionary definition of “woman”) too much for its readers to bear, was nonetheless willing to bear any harm. graphic intervention could inflict on the body politic; the announcement itself reflects growing public unease with this government’s commitment (or, more accurately, lack of commitment) to basic democratic principles.

At present, most of this malaise is concentrated in the older age brackets of the population. It was New Zealanders who came of age at a time when the two main political parties represented clear and distinct approaches to defining and securing the public good.

The votes cast by New Zealanders in that distant era steered the nation left or right in ways that must seem rather odd to those accustomed to the immutable neoliberal parameters of the MMP. The fact that the National Party won more frequently than Labor was disappointing but not discouraging for Labor supporters. They understood that when the election planets finally aligned for their party, big changes would follow. Changes that, historically, National was more likely to accept than reverse.

In short, older New Zealanders still remember when politics worked. Specifically, they remember when even those on the right of the political spectrum accepted that what Martin Luther King called “the great arc of history” tilted in the direction of justice. They, or their parents, had been brought to the edge of the moral precipice into which right-wing extremism had tried to drag humanity. People who still thought so – even after Auschwitz – were kept on the furthest fringes of political life. The vile content of the letters they sent to the nation’s editors never saw the light of day. Their fascistic delusions were systematically deposited in the nearest garbage can.

With New Zealanders under 40, however, all that political nostalgia means little. Politics has not deviated noticeably since the 1980s, becoming in the 21st century a battle between marketing strategies, not ideologies. Young New Zealanders are criticizing political ads in the same way their parents and grandparents once criticized major party election manifestos. The “look” and “tone” of a political leader matter far more than the ideas he might have. What matters most is that the leader of “your” party doesn’t look like an “asshole”.

“Democracy” no longer enjoys the universal admiration it garnered around the world when it stood before the broken bodies of fascism and militarism at the end of World War II. As Dame Anne Salmond reminded us Writingthe other day, article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 admits “no ifs, no buts, no exceptions” when it states:

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and must act towards each other in a spirit of brotherhood.

TDB recommends NewzEngine.com

But, if those words carried the ring of indisputable truth for the parents and grandparents of today’s young voters, those same young voters are more likely to regard them as a wildly dubious set of philosophical assumptions. Where, for example, does the “spirit of brotherhood” leave the women of the world?

“Democracy” in the 21st century offers voters next to nothing in terms of alternative economic policies. Economics is no longer seen as an appropriate subject for the kind of vigorous political contestation that distinguished political parties in the 19th and 20th centuries. In the age of neoliberalism, the economic principles by which a nation is governed have become fixed. Politicians do not question these principles, confining themselves to debating which party is best equipped to implement them most effectively and efficiently.

For young people on the losing side of the economic – that is, class – struggle, it doesn’t matter whether the Labor Party or the National is in power. Neither party would dream of overstepping the bounds of neoliberal orthodoxy. No matter which political formation occupies the Treasury benches, housing is not becoming more affordable, poverty is not being alleviated, unions remain peripheral and climate change is not being seriously considered. As the anarchist slogan goes, “Don’t bother voting – politicians always win.”

The situation we face in 2022 is comparable to the years following the First World War. The vaunted concepts of democracy and progress had presided over carnage without historical parallels – and for what? The enlargement of the British and French empires? The elevation of American capital to world preeminence? The obscene wealth of war profiteers? Mass unemployment and homelessness for those who had survived the horrors of the trenches?

The stench of old doctrines and old values ​​was worse than the stench of rotting Cordite comrades. No wonder veterans have responded so enthusiastically to far-left and far-right demagogues who have denounced democracy as a failed toilet flush.

As in the 1920s and 1930s, the most radical political ideologies of the 21st century are devoted to the nature of human identity and the possibility of human transformation. Ethnicity and nationality remain central obsessions of the far right, while the possibility of transformation continues to guide the left. Where the Soviets dreamed of creating a whole new type of human being – gay soviet – the dream of the modern identity left of evolutionary leaps made possible by the elimination of oppression and privilege.

Dreams on this scale cannot be realized by the sordid compromises of democratic politics. The key objective of the extreme right and the extreme left is to conquer the political apparatus and harness it to the primordial task of human transformation. The modern ideologue fears nothing more than the democratic mobilization of ordinary citizens for the modest purpose of achieving all those ordinary things that make life safe and comfortable. Security and comfort are Kryptonite to the radical political personality.

Guided more by intuition than by ideology, Hobson’s Pledge “captures” the totalitarian implications of a political project guided not by what people Actually want, but what they shouldwant to. His choice of the Star Wars franchise to hang his advertising campaign there is a good one. For what is George Lukas’ fantasy if not ancient mythology, with all its archetypal heroes and villains, tricked out in the dazzling accoutrements of space-age technology?

If “Episode 1” of “The Democracy Wars” was the occupation of Parliament and Trevor Mallard’s furious response to the mob threatening its marble halls; and “Episode 2” is Labour’s “Attack On The Votes”; then the third episode, which is scheduled for release around the end of 2023, can only be – “The People Strike Back”.

But, if Hobson’s Pledge and its allies are to defeat the curious mix of ethno-nationalism and transformative identarism that constitutes Labour’s “Empire”, then its aging leadership will first have to convince young New Zealanders that democracy worth fighting for.

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Citizens of GJ rally to protest the Supreme Court’s draft opinion stating that the Court will vote to eliminate the constitutional right to abortion https://ghostsofabughraib.org/citizens-of-gj-rally-to-protest-the-supreme-courts-draft-opinion-stating-that-the-court-will-vote-to-eliminate-the-constitutional-right-to-abortion/ Tue, 03 May 2022 07:00:00 +0000 https://ghostsofabughraib.org/citizens-of-gj-rally-to-protest-the-supreme-courts-draft-opinion-stating-that-the-court-will-vote-to-eliminate-the-constitutional-right-to-abortion/ Abortion rights supporters attend a hastily called rally outside the Old Mesa County Courthouse on 5/3/22 to protest an impending Supreme Court ruling that threatens the rights of American women to get an abortion. the Mesa County Women’s Rights Action League organized a rally on short notice today in response to a leaked draft of […]]]>

Abortion rights supporters attend a hastily called rally outside the Old Mesa County Courthouse on 5/3/22 to protest an impending Supreme Court ruling that threatens the rights of American women to get an abortion.

the Mesa County Women’s Rights Action League organized a rally on short notice today in response to a leaked draft of a major Supreme Court decision published by Politico this indicates that the far-right majority on the Court will vote to eliminate women’s constitutionally guaranteed right to obtain an abortion, a right women have enjoyed for 50 years. The decline in women’s freedom would be unprecedented.

Guest speakers included Jennifer Hancock, Board Member of Cobalta Colorado-based organization that helps people access abortion, Heidi Hesse of One Colorado, jeriel clark and Pastor Valerie Carlson of the American Lutheran Church.

Hesse told the crowd, “The overthrow of Roe, even the suspicion of it, devalues ​​more than half the population of our country, and it must not be tolerated or taken lightly.” She encouraged people not to feel defeated by the Supreme Court leak, but to use it as motivation to get others to register to vote and get active. Pastor Carlson spoke about how Christianity should not tolerate unwarranted intrusions into the personal lives of others. Clark opened up about her personal experience of getting pregnant at 16 and the difficulties she faced trying to access help.

Participants in the rally expressed their anger, despair, frustration and exhaustion at constantly having to fight for basic rights. Some people lamented having to fight the same fight as 50 years ago. Others expressed frustration at having other people’s religious beliefs imposed on them to the point of threatening their bodily autonomy.

Around 75 to 100 people attended the rally, which was called just hours before 5 p.m. via social media.

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An overview of a pro-Russian telegram channel https://ghostsofabughraib.org/an-overview-of-a-pro-russian-telegram-channel/ Wed, 27 Apr 2022 01:42:50 +0000 https://ghostsofabughraib.org/an-overview-of-a-pro-russian-telegram-channel/ If you spend time reading pro-Russian media like the U_G_M Telegram channel, you will notice three distinct categories of messages: dehumanizing Ukrainians, glorifying Russia, and demonizing the West. And the vein running through all three is the same: creating “news” that supports the Russian message. The telegram is a vital source of uncensored information for […]]]>

If you spend time reading pro-Russian media like the U_G_M Telegram channel, you will notice three distinct categories of messages: dehumanizing Ukrainians, glorifying Russia, and demonizing the West. And the vein running through all three is the same: creating “news” that supports the Russian message.

The telegram is a vital source of uncensored information for Russians, but also a powerful outlet for disinformation.

The message of U_G_M is clear: heroic Russians liberate Ukraine from fascists and Nazis. Claiming to speak from Ukraine’s Russian-controlled region of Donbass, the Telegram channel began sharing its partial truths and outright fictions after protests in Ukraine toppled Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014. Yanukovych currently lives in exile in Russia.

The acronym U_G_M says a lot about the channel’s ideology. It’s a term used to make fun of Ukrainians, meaning something like “Ukrainian brain disease”, and implying that the whole notion of Ukrainian identity is a lie. This reflects the Russian argument that Ukraine is an extension of Russia.

To spread its pro-Kremlin and anti-Ukraine message, U_G_M offers a continuous stream of news that used some of the most malicious lies we’ve seen in this war, including the false story that Ukrainian soldiers were using dummies to simulate civilian deaths. .

The channel also shared doctored “BBC” video claiming Ukraine attacked Kramatorsk train station, killing at least 52 people, including five children. In response, the BBC said the video was fake.

To better understand the tactics of these pro-Russian media channels, WhoWhatWhy translated and edited posts that U_G_M has been sharing for years with its 23,107 followers.

U_G_M, Telegram

U_G_M telegram start page. Photo credit: Telegram screenshot

before the invasion

U_G_M was created on May 11, 2020, lay dormant for several months in 2021, then relaunched with its current name about three months before Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

In their first post on May 12, 2020, U_G_M showed a video of someone waving a Ukrainian swastika flag, and the words: “The Reich comes out.” Two years later, Vladimir Putin would use such images as justification to attack Ukraine, claiming that Russia “will seek to … denazify Ukraine”.

Besides publishing lies claiming that Ukraine is populated by Nazis, U_G_M glorifies the time when Ukraine was ruled by Russians: “Before, Mariupol (Zhdanov) was one of the most important [manufacturers] of the USSR,” says one of his earlier posts from August 2020.

In these previous posts, U_G_M describes contemporary Ukraine as isolated, viewing its neighbors as enemies, as seen in this map with the word vorogy (enemies) encircling the country, and under this statement: “The whole essence of the modern Ukrainian worldview.

As Russia began to threaten another invasion of Ukraine, the U_G_M turned its attention to the Ukrainian people, encouraging them to cede Ukrainian territory. In one post, they call Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a clown who slaughters young soldiers:

🤷‍♂️Not too late???🤷‍♂️

Ze🤡 wants to mobilize young people for the slaughter⁉ As for me, it’s better to abandon this damn territory and live in peace, and not turn into a real clown in front of the public❗💢 How many guys are going to die 😒

During the war

On the day of the Russian invasion, U_G_M’s rhetoric became more charged: “This ghoul Zelenskyy is sending [children] at slaughter. Son, go home to your parents. It’s the best thing you can do,” a February 24 post states.

Also on February 24, U_G_M created a lie — which the Kremlin would repeat throughout the early days of the war — claiming that Ukraine was hiding military equipment in residential areas and schools: “🇺🇦 In Mariupol, equipment Ukrainian is hiding in residential areas,” one article read.

The Kremlin used this claim as an excuse to bomb residential areas and kill civilians. Recent reports indicate that a total of 2,435 civilians were killed, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The real number is probably much higher. Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko said his city alone supported at least 10,000 victims.

U_G_M likes to focus on Russian “success”. On February 24, the channel had this volley of messages:

“The [Ukrainian] the fighters lay down their arms, realizing it is the only way to save their lives.

“An entire convoy of Ukrainian soldiers was liquidated on the border with Crimea.”

“Ukrainian radars near Mariupol.”

“And 5 km from Kherson, on the Antonovsky Bridge, Ukrainian tanks are already taking losses.”

Alongside such military successes, U_G_M calls for the surrender of Ukraine:

⚡A group of Verkhovna Rada deputies appealed to Zelenskyy with a call to immediately start negotiations with Russia,” one post said.

Another post challenges Ukrainian soldiers: “Why are you dying like cannon fodder for this f***? Just surrender your weapons.

Other posts claim that the Ukrainian military was calling for surrender: “🔥 Calls for surrender have appeared on Ukrainian military websites.”

As the war dragged on for weeks, U_G_M continued to dehumanize Ukrainians. Some posts like this claimed that the majority of the residents of the eastern Ukrainian town of Izyum were Nazis:

“An ordinary house of an ordinary Ukrainian in Izyum🤷‍♂️

Another post is more threatening: “Nothing changes and the awareness does not come… Denazification awaits them all.

U_G_M also continues with its false claims that Ukraine is responsible for Russian attacks on Ukrainian schools:

💥💥💥 #Mariupol today

The frame shows a #armoured personnel carrier #of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, which was hiding behind the sports field near the school.

In early March, U_G_M also launched the narrative that Ukraine planned to attack residential areas and then blame Russia, a lie that continued throughout the war:


🇬🇧We have received information from our friends in the Ukrainian security forces that a provocation is being prepared using artillery. Under the barrel are the settlements of Bashtanka and Snegirevka of the Nikolaev region.

It should be noted that the texts of messages for the media have already been prepared and approved, which will have to massively disseminate information about the aggression of the Russian army.

Several weeks later, U_G_M would falsely claim that Ukraine had bombed the Kramatorsk train station, citing a fake BBC report:

From the start, U_G_M has portrayed Russia as a saviour. A post, titled “We’ve been waiting for our – #Russians,” includes a video of a woman saying, “We thought we’d never get out of here. We counted the days. They tell us — another day, two more. And then a week, a second, a second is already over. That’s when our guys came – we cried. When the man came in he said good evening – we realized it was the #Russians #come.

Other images mix contemporary Russian soldiers with WWII Russians, reflecting the Russian state’s narrative that the military is fighting an equally just war:

Attacking the West is another common theme on the Telegram channel. Disturbingly, U_G_M repeatedly uses comments made by unwitting US Republican pundits to support their false claims or twist the truth. Two posts, in particular, refer to the conservative Tucker Carlson show on Fox News.

In one, U_G_M quotes Carlson saying, among other critical comments about the United States, that the US dollar is collapsing while the Russian ruble is rising. They call Carlson’s heavily biased talk show “American news.”

In another post, they include a video of conservative political commentator Candace Owens, who reiterated Russian propaganda when she falsely stated that “Ukraine wasn’t a thing before 1989.” She also said people misunderstand Putin’s goals in Ukraine, saying it was wrong that Russia was committing “genocide”.

“A Fire Hose of Lies”

Taken as a whole, the U_G_M propaganda assault presents a picture of Russian infallibility against a backdrop of enemies against whom Russia must defend itself.

A message summarizes the U_G_M message in a poem. In the post, the channel shares a video that combines the Ukrainian and American flags, while a female narrator reads a poem that attacks Ukrainians as savages and the United States as meddling in foreign affairs, while calling Russians of heroes of the civilized world.

The poem recounts how Europe turned a blind eye to “Ukrainian fascism,” and the United States was the main force behind the 2014 protests that toppled the Russian-backed government in Ukraine. The poem says that Ukrainians killed children in Donbass and are now called upon to kill Russians, just like they did in 2014.

Yet the poem says that brave Russians are the only ones with the courage to end fascism, but violence is necessary: ​​”Sometimes to remove gangrene you have to cut the vein with a knife.”

Below the video, U_G_M quotes a Russian saying: “Russia never started wars, it ended them.

According to a report by the American think tank Rand Corporation, U_G_M fits the mold of most Russian propaganda. Rand characterizes Russian propaganda as a “firehose of lies because of two of its distinguishing characteristics: a high number of channels and messages, and a shameless willingness to spread partial truths or outright fictions. In the words of one observer, “[N]The new Russian propaganda entertains, confuses and overwhelms the public.

Russia’s information war seems to be working, at least among Russians. The Washington Post led a survey between February 28 and March 1 which revealed that 58% of Russians support the war, while only 23% oppose the invasion.

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Hitler among conspiracy theorists • International Socialism https://ghostsofabughraib.org/hitler-among-conspiracy-theorists-international-socialism/ Wed, 20 Apr 2022 12:26:18 +0000 https://ghostsofabughraib.org/hitler-among-conspiracy-theorists-international-socialism/ A review of The Hitler Conspiracies: The Third Reich and the Paranoid Imagination, Richard Evans (Penguin, 2021), £9.99 Even a historian as astute as Richard Evans could never have foreseen the excellent timing of his latest work, which emerged amid the maelstrom of Covid-19 conspiracy theories. We have witnessed, among other conspiracy phenomena, the QAnon […]]]>

A review of The Hitler Conspiracies: The Third Reich and the Paranoid Imagination, Richard Evans (Penguin, 2021), £9.99

Even a historian as astute as Richard Evans could never have foreseen the excellent timing of his latest work, which emerged amid the maelstrom of Covid-19 conspiracy theories. We have witnessed, among other conspiracy phenomena, the QAnon ‘cult movement’ flashing across the United States, claiming that Hilary Clinton is part of a child abuse ring and making many other bizarre claims . With his latest book, Evans explores the various conspiracy theories surrounding Hitler – from his rise to his downfall and beyond – occasionally tearing them apart with humor.

Having a clear definition of conspiracy theories is important. Paraphrase Lobster magazine editor Robin Ramsay, conspiracy research is about separating “the wheat from the chaff for real conspiracy research”. Indeed, there have been many real conspiracies, including, for example, the Watergate scandal and the Iran-Contra affair. Evans concedes this, stating that “many real conspiracies exist”, but also rightly points out that, for the conspirator, “no major event in history happens by chance”. Of course, such disbelief in chance differs from the conscious peddling of propaganda lies by Joseph Goebbels and Donald Trump. The famous words of Karl Marx in relation to the philosophy of GWF Hegel come to mind: “All great world historical facts happen twice: the first time as a tragedy, the second as a farce.”

Evans’ range is wide, even citing a The Simpsons episode that ridicules the myths about Hitler. He explains: “With many conspiracy theories, the truth doesn’t matter. The truths, even if they refute a given conspiracy theory, seem irrelevant. The disturbing number of people following Q – the anonymous poster of the picture board that led the QAnon movement – ​​shows that “once down the rabbit hole, rationality can quickly dissolve”.

Evans was a key witness in the trial involving Holocaust denier David Irving, who lost heavily after suing historian Deborah Lipstadt for libel in 1996. Irving’s courtroom defeat owes much to Evans’ authority. Methodically, Evans disentangles “fantasies and fictions” concerning the revisionist myths around Hitler and the Third Reich. Among these are claims by David Icke, Britain’s most prominent conspiracy theorist, that Hitler fled to Colombia. The intertwining of QAnon and fake Hitler stories can be seen from the ‘Pizzagate’ conspiracy theory, which emerged after emails between Hillary Clinton and her presidential campaign chairman, John Podesta , were published online in 2016. claimed that Angela Merkel was one of Hitler’s daughters.

A theme that will interest more than one is the hoax surrounding The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Evans notes that Jewish-German philosopher Hannah Arendt argued that the Nazis used the Protocols as a textbook for their anti-Semitism despite being “widely discredited”. Parallels can be seen between Hitler’s worldview and QAnon believers today, who see Jewish financier George Soros and the “New World Order” as the “true forces behind the story.” However, Evans shows that the Protocols do not have as much influence on Nazi ideology and barbarism as many claim. The book was a vile forgery, largely written under the anti-Semitic Tsarist regime in Russia, which purports to describe a plot for Jewish world domination. As Evans explains, the text’s power was in revealing the alleged “fundamental truth” that Jews want world hegemony, and this gave it continued influence despite the common knowledge that it was a falsification. . Evans shows that the Protocols were shaped by far-right anti-Semitism in the French Third Republic, of which the Dreyfus Affair was another product. The tsarist popularizers of the text relied on French and German anti-Semitism, and Evans demonstrates that the Protocols themselves were actually drawn from a number of earlier sources. Nevertheless, their impact in Russia was considerable; for example, the counter-revolutionary White armies held that the Bolsheviks were representatives of the Elders of Zion.

the Protocols found a huge following in Weimar, Germany. By the time Hitler came to power in 1933, 33 editions had been printed, although it is unclear how widely read they were, Evans points out. Hitler himself never fully believed Protocols, but that didn’t stop him from using them. Hitler’s propaganda maintained that the Protocols revealed the plans of the Jews, even though the individual Jews knew of these plans only “unconsciously”. The secret machinations of the Jews did not require conscious conspiracy; instead, it was enough to have Jewish genetic material to be implicated in the conspiracy. Goebbels’ use of the “big lie” is here broadly.

Defenders of the Churchill statue in Westminster might think differently from him reading here that Churchill also praised the Protocols. Yet, despite their enormous influence, the lies of Protocols were exposed by a highly publicized court case that began in 1933 in Bern, Switzerland. The court condemned the far-right Swiss National Front for distributing the Protocols, which he condemned as “laughable nonsense”. Nevertheless, of course, the Nazis continued the myth of a worldwide Jewish conspiracy.

The chapters on the Reichstag fire of 1933 and Hitler’s alleged escape from his Berlin bunker at the end of World War II show Evans’ great strengths as a historian. Putting together immense data, he demolishes the absurd claims of various charlatans. As Evans says, to really work, a conspiracy must be tightly knit; here, small is beautiful. Evans argues that “false narratives” and vague allegations can give conspiracy theories malicious force. Those who become “believers” can see a conspiracy in anything and the hidden hand everywhere. This was evident at many recent anti-lockdown protests during the Covid-19 pandemic. Evans documents incredible arguments from those describing Hitler’s alleged post-war travels in Latin America. Living in an “ideologically sealed cocoon”, many do not accept rational criticism. The numbers perpetuating such wild claims show how far such illusions can go.

Evans’ rigorous examination of the myths surrounding the disastrous escape of Vice-Führer Rudolf Hess to Britain in 1941 is gripping. Several ridiculous but profitable tomes about Hess’s flight have surfaced. Evans painstakingly proves that Hess’s mission was pure hubris rather than a calculated Nazi effort backed by pro-appeasement sections of British politicians – however real those political currents are. However, a necessary caveat comes from Tim Tate Hitler’s British Traitors: The Secret History of Spies, Saboteurs and Fifth Columns; contrary to Evans’ claims that there is no evidence of an organized plot to overthrow Churchill, the M15 files reveal that such plots existed. For example, the Right Club, led by Scottish Unionist MP Archibald Maule Ramsay, plotted a fascist coup.

Evans’ conspiracy debunking sometimes overstates his case. Is it correct to say that the objections to the official account of the 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas are merely pseudo-explanations? The rigorously researched work of acclaimed writers such as Anthony Summers runs counter to this.

Throughout the book, Evans points to the pervasive anti-Semitism in establishment circles in Germany and elsewhere. The alleged “stab in the back” by the German army in 1918 was littered with myths about “Jewish crooks” who allegedly shied away from war duty. Germany’s tiny Jewish population was also the target of accusations that the “Jewish spirit” was causing huge wartime inflation. As Richard Donnelly has written recently, there are material economic, social and political circumstances that provide important backdrops for which bizarre and illogical conspiracies can unfortunately strike a chord with many (“Conspiracy Theories: Feeding Off the Social Faintness”, Socialist Review 462).

Evans’ work here is significant, although it is surprising that no reference is made to American fascist philosopher Francis Parker Yockey and his book Imperium: the philosophy of history and politicswho is very influential among today’s neo-Nazis and Trump fanatics.

John George’s and Laird Wilcox’s Nazis, Communists, Klansmen, and Other Marginalized: Political Extremism in America is a useful companion to Evans’ book. George and Wilcox focused on Nazi conspirators. QAnon’s anti-Semitic tropes about Mark Zuckerberg and other high-profile Jews have their precedents. Evans’ emphasis on debunking “unscientific” conspiratorial explanations around Hitler carries a lot of weight. The preponderance of far-right material on new social media platforms such as Parler, Gab and Telegram means that Evans is playing a valuable role. Conspiratorial movements such as QAnon have had dire consequences; not only did QAnon help fuel the riots at the United States Capitol in January 2021, but its themes influenced the murderer of 11 people in the 2018 Tree of Life synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Its “believers” often deny that ethnic minorities possess “civilized values”, which reinforces Islamophobic and anti-Semitic theories of the “great replacement” of a global conspiracy against the “white race”.

Evans’ book is a vigorous outburst against these “alternative knowledge communities”, and Marxists will agree with his conclusion that “the elaboration of what happened in history matters” and that ” careful research and evidence” are essential. Not all views carry the same weight – Holocaust denial is “the denial of the existence of millions of people”. History, Evans argues, can only be revised and challenged when subjected to reason, science, and proven assumptions. This book empowers anyone who appreciates history, and anyone looking to find meaning in history will benefit from reading it. It is a deeply informed book that will enrage little Hitlers who seek to distort the historical record. Evans’ acquisition of particle-by-particle information is a solid, refreshing, and welcome defense of the discipline of history.

Paul Silet previously worked for Unite Against Fascism and Stand Up to Racism. He now works in security.

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