Saturday, February 04, 2012

Initial Thoughts on Anonymous's Hack of "American Third Position"

This is the de-facto flag of the organization ...Image via Wikipedia
Background: Persons purporting to represent Anonymous claim to have hacked the web site of the American Third Position Party, a "white separatist" group, and have published a dump of forum messages, emails, etc. For the details, see Independent Political Report's report.

The primary area of interest in all this to libertarians is the following, from the Anonymous communique on the operation:

In addition to finding the usual racist rants and interactions with other white power groups, we also found a disturbingly high amount of members who are also involved in campaigning for Ron Paul. According to these messages, Ron Paul has regularly met with many A3P members, even engaging in conference calls with their board of directors.

A couple of disclaimers:
  •  I don't think anyone is going to mistake me for a Ron Paul apologist. I've been critical of Paul for various reasons, including but not limited to the issues raised by "the newsletter controversy." Believe this: If I find anything credible anywhere directly connecting Paul to A3P and organizations of its type, I'll shout it from the rooftops.
  • I've only spent a few hours researching the dump, running searches on strings I would expect to shed light on the claims above.  There's a lot of data to sift through, so what I've found so far may very well not be the final word on the subject.
Those two things said, I've found nothing really substantiating the two claims in the communique quote above. To wit:

  1. A "disturbingly high amount of members" of A3P "are also involved in campaigning for Ron Paul."

    This is a pretty fuzzy claim in the first place, insofar as "disturbingly high" is a subjective evaluation and "involved in campaigning for" can mean a lot of things.

    What I found were several references to A3P members attending Paul campaign events; a couple of references to A3P members talking with low-level Paul volunteers whom the A3P people perceived as "with us" or "pro-White;" and one suggestion that a film/video guy who had done work for the Paul campaign be approached about doing the same kind of work for A3P.

    None of the campaign events mentioned were portrayed as Paul intentionally addressing A3P-type audiences -- it was stuff like "we went to see Paul speak at CPAC" and "we went to Paul's GOP convention rally in Minneapolis" and so on.

  2. "Ron Paul has regularly met with many A3P members, even engaging in conference calls with their board of directors."

    The closest thing I found to Paul "meeting" with A3P members were references like "managed to get my picture taken with Paul when I attended the Minneapolis convention rally."

    I found references to A3P's board of directors, and I found references to conference calls, but I found no references to Paul or his campaign being involved in said conference calls.
Does this mean those two claims are false? NO, it doesn't. I may have missed something. Like I said, it's a lot of stuff and I've only spent a little time sifting through it.

But those claims are strong enough that the burden of proving them falls on those making them. If the material to substantiate the claims is there, someone who can find it needs to highlight it and point it out instead of just leaving it buried down in the pile of garbage it's embedded in.

Here's the picture I get from my limited swim through the A3P sewer:

The A3P types consider the Paul movement, and the wider “paleo” movement (other referenced people, pubs and groups in the dump included Pat Buchanan, Thomas diLorenzo, The American Conservative magazine, the John Birch Society, et. al), to be “implicitly pro-White” (their terminology) and are attempting to build a “bridge” (their terminology) between those movements and “explicitly pro-White” (their terminology) groups including (named in the dump) A3P, White News Network, Stormfront, et. al.

I don’t think that belief on the part of A3P types is entirely unreasonable, given that the Rothbard/Rockwell “paleo strategy” which Paul used to raise money in the 80s and 90s was intended to specifically cater to such tendencies.

On the other hand, I think the A3P types are probably:

  1. Under-estimating the extent to which Rothbard, Rockwell and Paul were using the “paleo strategy” to cynically exploit them — suckering them for political “seed money” and so forth — as opposed to genuinely make common cause with them; and
  2. Seriously over-estimating the extent to which the now-existing Paul movement, which is not, for the most part,  a product of the “paleo strategy,” is composed of people likely to be sympathetic to the A3P-type fringe.
So far, I'm not seeing anything that constitutes a serious indictment of Paul, his campaign, or the movement surrounding his campaign -- or at least nothing above and beyond other long-known plausible indictments of any or all of the three.

But, once again, this is just my initial impression, based on limited time and limited skills for digging through the dump. If anyone else is finding or seeing anything I'm missing or mis-interpreting, by all means let me know in comments, via contact form, etc.

As a side note, while I consider myself a member of Anonymous (expect us!) and while I'm happy to see A3P exposed, I was not involved in this operation nor did I have any foreknowledge of it.

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