As Facebook starts to cull ‘Abolish ICE’ and anti-facist pages, Russiagate succeeds in stifling political dissent beyond Joseph McCarthy’s wildest dreams.

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Among the first victims of a Congress-pressured attempt at purging dastardly Russian agents from Facebook are a group of American anti-racist activists that have never even visited Saint Petersburg, Florida, let alone the bunkers of Putin’s mystical Internet Research Agency.

A Facebook event intending to mobilise a counter-protest against another Unite the Right rally – a year after anti-facist activist Heather Heyer was slaughtered in its previous iteration – was shut down by the company due to a malign foreign actor supposedly pulling the strings.

Admins of Shut it Down DC and Smash Racism DC, who are organising the event, saw their hard work to foment a popular anti-facist alliance on the website destroyed overnight. They have since made another page, but lost 2,000 people who RSVP’d to the demonstration. According to @notinmynypd on Twitter it was the only counter-protest of Unite the Right, and thus anti-Racism campaigners saw no choice but to simply start again – the only other other option being to let Neo-Nazis march through the capital unopposed.

Another ostensibly positive political direction that has been rendered taboo by the media’s insatiable Russiagate obsession is the ‘Abolish ICE’ movement. ICE are separating children from parents at the border; they are raping children and losing track of vulnerable youngsters after releasing them into America’s trafficking underground. Despite this, it’s ‘not the time’ to push for the destruction of something regarded as an obnoxious cancer by everyone who doesn’t visit the mall in a MAGA hat because that would apparently be ‘helping Putin’.

The rationale – though unevidenced publicly – is the amplification of the #AbolishICE hashtag by supposed Russian bots: a kind of guilt by association that the media accept with a certain aloofness. It is playing out behind closed doors; what is kosher is decided purely between feverish Congressional Committees, the Global Engagement Center, established under the Department of State in April 2016,  and Mark Zuckerberg, compelled to comply with authorities owing to his many transgressions regarding the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Hardly a recipe for creating an enlightened and transparent political discourse in order to ‘safeguard American democracy’, whatever that means.

Former FBI director James Comey summed up the current climate in his trademark boy scout fashion by Tweeting that the ‘Russians know a house divided against itself cannot stand’. The problem with attempting to whip up this ‘them vs us’ jingoistic frenzy is that the ‘we’ in question excludes the bulk of the American population: a plurality of voters under 30 support abolishing ICE, and the vast majority of America saw last year’s Charlottesville farce through gaps in their fingers. The ‘division’ which James Comey sees actually represents galvanising popular movements for most of America – the kind of earnest civil rights movements the FBI infilitrated and undermined for so long under Comey’s watch.

The idea that Americans should keep a lid on their protests, ideas and problems because they could be exploited by an abstract alien adversary is old and predictable. J. Edgar Hoover stated in 1964 that ‘Communist influence does exist in the Negro movement’, making headlines in the New York Times and effectively nipping the civil rights movement in the bud for white liberals.

Exploiting American racism did little to promote the Soviet Union or communism in general; the FBI knew this, they only intended to shut down internal dissent against their racist regime. Likewise the US Intelligence Community have no sincere concerns about Russian cyber warfare in 2018. The NSA are able to surveil the entire world’s internet traffic and phone conversations; the CIA possess backdoors to infiltrate every popular technological device and application you could name – do you honestly believe that they are truly concerned about phishing attacks on John Podesta’s gmail account or Russian agents purchasing Facebook targeted ads for low effort fake news WordPress sites aimed at Midwest soccer moms?

This has always been an issue of internal policing, of establishing a firmer grip on political narratives in an era when social media has gone stratospheric. Russia is a useless bankrupt backwater populated by a thoroughly uninteresting people. The disparity between Russia the country and Russia the political tool has reached truly farcical levels, but the American media still eat it up with a spoon.

There is no doubt that Russia used fake news sites and Facebook ads to promote Trump in 2016. They also hacked Democratic National Committee emails, but can you honestly look at the the tabled response to this and claim it’s proportionate? The unopposed gutting of America’s First Amendment.

The obvious solution to Russia exploiting palpable American discontent at ICE – who effectively operate as a Stasi racial militia staffed by officers who failed the regular police fitness test – is to create legislation to abolish ICE and ensure that it is never rebirthed in any form, in tune with the wishes of huge swathes of Americans. The obvious solution to Russia exploiting US anti-facist agitation is to halt the germination of a foul far-right wave in America.

The reason these self-evident solutions will never be actioned is because the US Intelligence Community and Congress aren’t concerned about Russia ‘hijacking’ the Abolish ICE movement or Antifa protests; they are concerned about the Abolish ICE movement and Antifa protests, and see Russia as a suitable tool to bludgeon them into the ground.

See also:

I Was Smeared By Public Radio For Being A Black Activist Trying To Get My Message Out – Anoa Changa was dismissed as a foreign agent for voicing her opinions on a Sputnik radio show.

How to Abolish ICE by Domenic Powell – Jacobin Magazine

Learning to Love McCarthyism – Many American liberals who once denounced McCarthyism as evil are now learning to love the ugly tactic when it can be used to advance the Russiagate “scandal” and silence dissent, reports Robert Parry.

Noam Chomsky on Mass Media Obsession with Russia & the Stories Not Being Covered in the Trump Era – Democracy Now

US media is more neo-McCarthyism than journalism – Andrew Brennan for Asia Times

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Rory Wood

Holder of 84th position in the Mario Kart Wii Rainbow Road European Leaderboard October 2010. Successfully completed at least two Thomas Pynchon novels and the director's cut of Das Boot and lived to humblebrag about it insufferably. amityunderground@protonmail.com