Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Bp. Williamson: Unabomber Theology Revisited

A previous installment of Fringe Watch discussed the apocalyptic views of Bishop Richard Williamson and his endorsement of political extremism. Although largely marginalized since his heyday as a US seminary rector in the '90s—and removal/demotion in the SSPX to a post in Argentina—Bp. Williamson is nevertheless an important case study. His career is illustrative, both in the sorts of ideas he espouses and the people he networks with. He has been an important catalyst in extreme traditionalist circles and lent clerical "authority" to those whose views dovetail with his own.

Apocalypse Soon?

An example of extremist cross-pollination is seen in the recent interview with Dr. David Allen White by Stephen Heiner (who is affiliated with the Angelus Press). Dr. White is known for his lectures on literature and culture. He is also a long-time associate of Bp. Williamson, and while he does not touch on some of bishop's more radical political views, he embraces his general outlook of doom and despair.

After a jejune criticism of the papacy of Benedict XVI, which seconds Bp. Williamsons' rejection of all negotiations with Rome, Dr. White muses upon the subjects of technology and culture
To my mind one of the great essays written in my lifetime is Solange Hertz's essay "Hell's Amazing Grace." In this essay she talks about electricity itself as a satanic invention that stands in opposition to God's true light....

But the invention of electricity has allowed us to turn night into day, winter into summer, and summer into winter, with air conditioning and heating. It has allowed us to feel as if we have the world at our fingertips. It's a brilliant essay. It occurred to me recently that we are now totally dependent upon power and electricity for every aspect of our lives. All that Satan needs to do is turn out the power, and then his false son can step forward to perform the great miracle of restoring the power to us if we fall down and worship him.

And I think even many good souls, perhaps even traditional Catholics might be tempted to worship him if it meant they could get their garage door opener back and have the fridge back, so the beer will be cold again, and have their TV and Internet back.
Anyone familiar with Hertz's long-running columns in The Remnant will remember her as one of the most bizarre writers in traditionalism, especially noted for attacks on technology and belief in geocentricism. It is perhaps no surprise that Dr. White should endorse Hertz as she has long been a favorite of Bp. Williamson's who promoted her writings during his long tenure as rector at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary (along with the works of Holocaust Revisionists). Another quality which endeared Hertz to the bishop was her strident anti-American views, going far beyond political criticism, and generally identifying the United States with the Antichrist.

As an aside one should note that Dr. White (like Bp. Williamson) is supporter of publisher John Sharpe. What is very typical of Bp. Williamson's outlook is the technophobic apocalypse embraced by Dr. White. The evils of modern machinery were repeatedly detailed in the bishop's seminary newsletters. The theme is one of a millenarian collapse, not the restoration of society as promoted by St. Pius X. It is in line with the religious-political manias studied by Prof. Norman Cohn (The Pursuit of the Millennium). According to Cohn, some key themes of radical eschatology are: 1) the idea that "redemption" will come about in terrestrial terms; 2) that it is imminent (it will come soon and suddenly); and 3) that it is total.

Along these lines one is reminded of Pope Benedict XVI's description (in Truth and Tolerance) of Marxist inspired liberation theology. Sin is "institutional" and so this "state of affairs... can only be overcome by a radical change in the structures of the world, which are sinful structures, evil structures." Yet, as the Pope explains, it is wrong to think of redemption as an "experience" or a political event that operates like a deus ex machina—similar to the old Marxist view of the impending collapse of capitalism—that will conveniently and rapidly deliver us from evil, as opposed to the slow process of spiritual growth and sanctity.

The vision of doom espoused by Solange Hertz and Bp. Williamson focuses attention not only on something "exciting," it also focuses attention on themselves as harbingers of a message far more important than the run-of-the-mill Gospel preached in your average church, or even as understood by your average traditionalist, whom Dr. White seems to disparage. (The joy these people experience in predicting social ruin is quite palpable.)

Praise for Theodore Kaczynski

Having established the intellectual milieu of "Catholic" radicals, one can see how Bp. Williamson applied this grim philosophy to events happening around him. In 1996, not long after the publication of the manifesto by the Unabomber (Ted Kaczynski), Bishop Richard Williamson turned some heads when he stated that
principles are more important than personalities, and the message is, strictly, for good or ill, independent of the messenger. The author of the Unabomber's Manifesto might have since become a Saint without its contents being changed by one word (June 6, 1996 letter).
Such an assertion is staggering. It involves a divorce of intent and conduct which is impossible from the point of view of classic moral theology. It is on par with leftists who argue that the Stalinist Russia’s aims were noble even if it fell short of those in practice. Yet Williamson is no crude practitioner of agitprop. He attempts to disarm critics of his consciously shocking missives by reminding us that
the end can never justify the means. However important the Unabomber's message, nothing gave him the right to maim and kill innocent victims in order to get it before the public.
This does not prevent him from identifying with Kaczynski's alienation—in the same way that he sympathizes with the aggressive artistic protests of Oliver Stone and Pink Floyd (recurring themes in his newsletters). Thus “without accepting” their ultimate nihilistic manifestations, “one cannot help having a measure of understanding for their resorting to such desperate means.” What exactly does this mean? It appears disingenuous, a sort of vicarious thrill on a level with telling a man to watch blue movies but not to commit adultery. Williamson anticipates the protests of scandalized readers. He puts critics on the defensive, picturing himself as the shrewd cleric pitted against the clumsy lay person, and making it clear that anything short of his solution is an exercise in spiritual mediocrity.
[D]o you wish to save your rebellious teenagers’ souls? I am sure you are well aware that if you talk to them of St. Ignatius of Loyola or St. Theresa of Lisieux, you do not even get to first base. But just breathe the name of Pink Floyd, and see how their ears prick up! This is our world, and there is no other in which we have to save our souls! If only the honorable professors and respectable bishops were tackling the questions tackled by the Unabombers and the Oliver Stones, then your children might look up instead of down, but since nobody “decent” seems to address their concerns, who can be surprised if they feed from the gutter? Rock music is one long, unheard, scream for help!
For decades, radical trads like Bp. Williamson have pilloried hip ecclesiastics for their craven attempts at “relevance” and fawning emulation of pop culture and psychology. Yet they engage in the same tactics. The double-standard can only be explained in terms of an ideological rather than a theological worldview. The opposition are condemned because of their ends. But their means are praised when employed by one’s “own side,” no matter how ruthless (e.g., Communists condemn the atrocities of Nazis, and vice versa, without batting an eye).

But what makes Kaczynski’s desperate eschatology so compelling that we are bidden to overlook his bloody-minded methods? The answer is that he possesses some superior (gnostic) insights. Meanwhile the herd-like masses are deemed by Williamson to be "technophiliacs." A year later, the bishop would remind us that when “‘sane’ people are crazy (inhuman), it seems to take ‘crazy’ people to be sane (human).” And while the Unabomber does not have the solution, “he faces the problem.” For Kaczynski, and for Williamson, the looming threat to individual meaning is the “industrial-technological system” (or “IT”). He thus summarizes Kaczynski’s manifesto:
Nor can any minor adjustment or compromise reconcile IT with freedom, both because IT has to regulate human behavior closely in order to function at all, and because all parts of IT are interdependent....

...if IT survives, then the future looks grim: either, for the sake of efficiency, machines will be in total control and no man will be free....

...However, IT is not unstoppable. The positive alternative we need is WILD NATURE, free of men, or with wild men.... The means of IT's overthrow are a revolution not merely political, but economic, technological and world-wide, for IT cannot be overthrown piecemeal. Above all, let our revolutionaries have the one clear goal: IT must go! All means to achieve that goal can then be pragmatically adjusted. \
Karl Marx, in his Contribution to a Critique of Political Economy, offered the view that: “It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but, on the contrary, their social existence determines their consciousness.” If any one thought is axiomatic of “salvation politics,” it is this. The underlying assumption of millenarian ideologies is that function determines being. This is true not only of Marxists, but other utopians, like Fascists and National Socialists, for whom some form of pristine social or biological order will eradicate evil and the causes of evil.

Although it has been over a decade since Bp. Williamson set forth his Unambomber theology, the influence amongst a gnostic-minded set of survivalist "trads" remains as strong as ever, as seen in Dr. White's ill-considered musings on the state of the world.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

John Sharpe: Admits Nothing....Confirms Everything

In an interview earlier this year with The Distributist Review, John Sharpe (head of IHS Press and publisher of Neo-Conned) attempted to deflect criticism of his ties to extremist groups. But he inadvertantly acknowledged that people are taking notice and distancing themselves from his ideologically-laden "Catholicism." He begins by complaining that

...these “attacks” – as distinguished from the reasonable questions from people of good will, all of which I have answered in all cases – are a distraction.

Apparently the truth is distracting. Unfortunately, Sharpe is never candid in public (though he says much more when speaking privately). Still, amid his verbal wriggling he leaks enough details to confirm the main charges – that IHS Press has been tied to political extremists since the beginning. Speaking of his entrance into politics, Sharpe says

I was in Italy, stationed there in the late 90s... when I met an Irishman, who is now a good friend and partner in IHS Press, at the traditional Mass in Naples. Deric and I began a correspondence and friendship....

The "Deric" referred to is Derek Holland, a veteran British neo-fascist with ties to militant Arab and Muslim regimes who was active in the racist National Front as early as the 1970s. He is listed on IHS publications as Deric O'Huallachain (the Gaelic version of his name on his Irish passport). Mr. Holland is also one of IHS Press' corporate directors.

Sharpe admits to getting chummy with Holland/O'Huallachain in the 1990s when the latter was the acknowledged intellectual leader of radical nationalism (and co-founder of the International Third Position – ITP). This says a lot about his own philosophical formation. As it turns out, Holland was actively speaking at racist conferences in 2002, a year after IHS was set up. But that's not surprising, since IHS Press was an offshoot of Sharpe's own Legion of St. Louis, which was the American side of the ITP's St. George Educational Trust (SGET), a neo-fascist front group.

When asked about the ITP, Sharpe gives the predictable double-talk:

I have little to say about any "charges" in this area because IHS Press and the ITP have nothing to do with one another [in the way that Moscow had nothing to do with Alger Hiss - ed.], despite what our critics might say. But I will offer some general observations.

My co-founder, Deric, was involved with the ITP some years ago. Many people make an issue out of this [a curious admission - ed.]. I do not: firstly because IHS does not have to endorse Deric's entire life or all his actions... it has nothing to do with any of that, and only to do with doctrine [presumably Marxism and Nazism are just "doctrines," and we should ignore what their followers do - ed.]. Secondly, from a doctrinal standpoint there is nothing I'm aware of that Deric believed or did while he was associated with the ITP which was not acceptable in light of the Faith, at the very least according to his point of view at the time, if not in plainly objective terms.

Is the ITP bad and, if not, why do you mind being tied to it? And how could Mr. Holland's views be bad now but acceptable in the past? Or is that meant to imply that they were never really objectionable? As for Deric/Derek Holland, he has never repudiated views that he publicly advocated for thirty years, and apparently still advocates (albeit more subtly) via Sharpe's IHS Press.

From my memory the ITP never advocated violence or armed opposition to anything. If I’m wrong on that, then so be it – again I’m neither a partisan nor a “member” (if such things even exist), nor is IHS Press in any way whatsoever connected with whatever the ITP was or currently is – but we ought to operate in the realm of fact and not fiction.

Mr. Sharpe operates in the realm of surrealism. He should quit while he's behind. As for advocating violence, the ITP was tied to political violence in Italy and was a staunch advocate of anti-Israeli violence. Third Positionists like Derek Holland supported Ayatollah Khomeni's Iran and Gaddafi's Libya in the 1980s, and Iraq during the First Gulf War – all promoters of international terrorism. So John's memory is as faulty as it is non-committal. Yet he continues to lament:

I don't know what's wrong with these groups. To my knowledge all the St. George Trust ever did was reprint some books.... [tofu cookbooks? children's coloring books? -ed.] To my recollection, there has always been a traditional priest as a trustee and a number of other priests who have been involved in one way or another with the St. George Trust. None of them had any misconceptions about the political activities and beliefs of those in the Trust. Deric, as far as I know, was never a trustee or any other kind of official person with the group. I am aware that the St. George Trust and the Legion are said to be or have been in some way "front" groups for ITP, which, as I said, may or may not even exist at this point: I just don't know.

The Legion collaborates with St. George Educational Trust (SGET) in the sale of racist works like Henry Ford's International Jew, A. K. Chesterton's New Unhappy Lords, and Michael Hoffman's Judaism's Strange Gods. In closing, Mr. Sharpe is the sort of suspect who gives himself away by his insistent denials.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sungenis Quoting Shamir Quoting Schmitt

Robert Sungenis @ Catholic Apologetics International posts a 'news alert' from Israel Shamir on "The Tyranny of Liberalism/Judaism". Here's an excerpt:
. . . Armed with Schmitt’s thesis and Bauer’s testimony, we may conclude: the “liberal democracy and human rights” doctrine carried by the US marines across the Tigris and the Oxus is a form of secularised Judaism. Considering the predominance of Jews in mass media and especially among the media lords, it is only natural that the ideology they promote is so close to Jewish heart. Its adepts retain classic Jewish attitudes; and the “uniqueness of Israel” is a tenet of this “non-religious” school, whether in the form of the “unique” Holocaust, or a “unique” attachment to Palestine, or a “unique” love of freedom and diversity. Indeed, while mosques burn in the Netherlands and churches are ruined in Israel, no emotions are stirred up in comparison to those set in motion when graffiti is written on a synagogue wall. The US grades its allies by their attitude towards Jews. The Holocaust Temple [“Museum”] stands next to the White House. Support of the Jewish state is a sine qua non for American politicians. Bauer describes the horror of possible Nazi victory in such telling words: “There would be no Jews, because they would all be annihilated. This would end history as such”. In other words, history in Bauer’s eyes is about Jews. No Jews – no history. The rest of mankind are just sheep devoid of memory and futurity.

Now, I'm not generally opposed to studying Carl Schmitt or other philosophers (Martin Heidegger, for instance) with ideological skeletons in their closet.

But given the fact that Schmitt was a dubious Catholic legal scholar with an active role in the Third Reich, it makes for a curious picture to find him mentioned in an article from a known anti-semite which is in turn promulgated by a Catholic apologist with a known history of obtaining his research from questionable ideological sources.

* * *


Is Robert Sungenis The Anti Semite, The Liar, And The Coward He Makes Himself Appear To Be? asks "Moriel Ministries" -- a Jewish Christian Fundamentalist website issues a challenge.

One has only to dig a little deeper into Jewish-Christian relations to counter the author's conception of Roman Catholic collaboration with the Nazis. A good start would be Henri De Lubac's Christian Resistance to Anti-Semitism: Memories from 1940-1944. Or look to Darcy O'Brien's The Hidden Pope, a chronicle of the late John Paul II's lifelong friendship with his Jewish friend, Jerzy Kluger (the first beneficiary of a private audience upon his election, and who would later play a role in the Vatican's diplomatic recognition of Israel).

One can only pray that this enraged anti-papist will not limit his impression of Rome and (and the Church's contemporary attitude toward Jews) to a modern Catholic apologist with a penchant for quoting anti-semites.

Militant Islam and Right Wing Extremism - A Disturbing Alliance

"Strange Allies" - Writing for the Weekly Standard, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross reviews an fascinating and disturbing history of collaboration between Muslims and the neo-Nazi far right, Strange Allies: The Alarming Convergence of Militant Islam and the Extreme Right (University Press of Kansas 2006).

Prof. Michael details several phases of collaboration between Muslims and right wing extremism -- beginning with the "cordial relationship between Hitler and the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini," followed by post-World War II collaboration with Middle Eastern nations, when "out of work Nazis" lent their expertise in the development of the military and intelligence agencies of Middle Eastern nations:

After Gamal Abdel Nasser became Egypt's president, for example, a number of Nazis were given prominent positions in his government. Nazi commando Otto Skorzeny trained thousands of Egyptians in guerilla and desert warfare, and even organized early Palestinian terrorist forays into Israel and the Gaza Strip in the mid-1950s. Johann von Leers, who had been a high-ranking assistant to Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, produced material for Nasser attacking the United States and Israel. Von Leers even converted to Islam during this period, adopting the name Oman Amin von Leers. Corresponding with a fellow fascist, von Leers opined that "if my nation had got Islam instead of Christianity we should not have had all the traitors we had in World War II."

The third stage was the rise of Palestinian terrorism in the late 1960s. Apparently the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics gave rise to new appeals by the far right for collaboration and some involvement in anti-Israel operations. And in the 1990's, the attacks on American soil on 9/11 won the right's twisted admiration and support:
In the United States, late National Alliance founder William L. Pierce praised Osama bin Laden prior to his death. The Aryan Nations established a Ministry of Islamic Liaison, and the group's head August Kreis declared his solidarity with Osama bin Laden during an interview with CNN.

As Gartenstein-Ross notes, the extent of future collaboration is not yet certain -- "neo-Nazi groups, in their current state of decline, may be viewed as a liability rather than an asset by Islamic militants." Nevertheless, there are signs of trouble.

The Middle East's Reception of Holocaust Revisionism

In January 2006 Edwin Black wrote on Iran's enthusiastic support of the Holocaust-revisionism (Denial of Holocaust nothing new in Iran, San Francisco Chronicle January 8, 2006):

Iran has become a refuge for the biggest names in European Holocaust denial. When in 2000, revisionist author Jürgen Graf was sentenced in Switzerland to 15 months in prison for Holocaust falsification, Graf fled to Tehran "at the invitation of a group of Iranian scholars and university professors who are sympathetic to Holocaust revisionism," according to the Institute for Historical Review, a denial clearinghouse.

What's more, in May 2000, Iran's embassy in Vienna granted asylum to Austrian Holocaust denier Wolfgang Fröhlich, who testified as a so-called expert witness during Graf's 1998 trial. This saved Fröhlich from Austria's severe anti-Holocaust denial statutes. Fröhlich argued that evidence proved no Jews were killed by Zyklon B gassing.

Earlier, about 600 journalists and 160 members of the Iranian parliament signed petitions supporting French revisionist Roger Garaudy, who was fined $40,000 by French authorities for his book claiming the Holocaust was a myth. When Garaudy landed in Iran, the country's supreme spiritual leader, Ayatollah Sayyad Khamenei, granted him an audience and lauded his work.

William Baker - Neo-Nazi on the Muslim Lecture Circuit

Another example of collaboration between Muslims and the extremist right is the strange case of William Baker. Baker is founder of "Christians and Muslims for Peace," and author of the book Theft of a Nation -- a purported history of Israel, the premise of which is that "The entire country of Palestine has been ‘taken’ by political Zionists, and it would seem the entire world has believed, supported and participated in the ‘theft’ of an entire country from an entire nation."

In 1984 Baker organized the convention for The Populist Party, founded by Willis Carto, whose platform called for the repeal of U.S. civil rights laws.

The Orange County Weekly's Stan Brin ran an expose on Baker in 2002, documenting his ties to right-wing extremism (Hour of White Power OC Weekly Feb. 14, 2002):

In a written statement, Baker claimed he did not know the Populist Party was racist and that he never shared Carto’s racist politics.

"I never supported the views of Willis Carto," he wrote. "I was chairman of the Populist Party for a short time and publicly resigned due to infiltration from various racist individuals and organizations."

But evidence supplied by the Anti-Defamation League shows that Baker delivered a 1983 speech to the racist Christian Patriot Defense League in Licking, Missouri, in which he made several references to Carto’s neo-Nazi newspaper, Spotlight. A 23-page transcript of that rambling speech reveals a number of anti-Semitic remarks, including Baker’s reference to Reverend Jerry Falwell as "Jerry Jewry." (Falwell is known to be friendly to Jews.) In the same speech, Baker described his disgust at traveling to New York City: "God help me. Why? ’Cause the first people I meet when I get off the plane are pushy, belligerent American Jews."

Two years later, Brin wrote a follow-up piece on William Baker's transition to the "Muslim lecture circuit" (From Nazis to Schuller to Arabs OC Weekly January 22, 2004). In 1999, Baker's Christians and Muslims for Peace and the Institute for Arabic & Islamic Studies coordinated a trip to Damascus, Syria for the American televangelist Dr. Robert Schuller, founder of the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California. Schuller expelled Baker from the Crystal Cathedral Ministries following the Orange County expose, but Baker continued to speak for Muslim student organizations, in one case at the invitation of CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations).

* * *

The Neo-Nazi interest in, and in some cases collaboration with, Militant Islam is a disturbing but not entirely unexpected phenomenon.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

On "Robert Sungenis and the Jews"

On "Robert Sungenis and the Jews"

A bit of history is in order . . .

In September, 2002, Robert Sungenis of Catholic Apologetics International (CAI) wrote an article entitled, "Conversion of the Jews Not Necessary? The Apocalyptic Ramifications of a Novel Teaching" in response to the document Reflections on Covenant and Mission, a joint-publication of the National Council of Synagogues and the Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.

Sungenis' article caused no small amount of controversy in the online Catholic world -- not because of his criticism of the document itself (indeed, a good number of Catholics found justifiable reason to do so), but rather because of his (unwitting?) citation, and proclaimed agreement with, some rather unsavory charges against the Jews drawn from anti-semitic sources (including neo-Nazis, "white separatists" and "historical revisionists"). The whole scandalous affair was researched and documented by Bill Cork, first on his blog and subsequently compiled in his investigative report, AntiSemitism and the Catholic Right (August 2002).

One would think that when called out on the matter in 2002, Sungenis would have recognized and apologized for his errors (at most, he removed some of the questionable material "in the interest of peace," claiming that he still stood by it). One might have presumed further that he would exercise greater care in his acceptance and use of ideologically-extremist material in the formulation of his own views on the Jews.

This was not to be, however, as evidenced by the discovery of Matt Anger (Fringe Watch) in April 2006 that CAI had reproduced on their website word-for-word two articles from the racialist, neo-nazi National Vanguard. The articles were ultimately removed after their origins were made known (and FringeWatch's post removed, as a sign of good faith), but again it demonstrates the same disregard for the necessary vetting of sources that got Sungenis into hot water back in 2002.

And now, we come to the release of Robert Sungenis and the Jews, an extensive paper published by Michael Forrest, himself a former associate of CAI, who went so far as to defend Sungenis in 2002 ("While others decided they had to leave, I continued to defend and excuse things that I should not have in retrospect"). Disturbed by Sungenis' increasing preoccupation and negative bias towards the Jews, Michael Forrest now finds himself compelled to step forward publicly.

I should be clear that Mr. Forrest does not charge Sungenis with being an anti-semite -- that is to say, of harboring a personal hatred of Jews. He admits he is "not certain what has created the negative predisposition evident in his writings and at his website." Nevertheless, drawing upon statements by Sungenis, public and private, and material not previously known, he has built a solid case that:

  1. Bob Sungenis expresses views in regard to “Jewish issues” in such a way as to explicitly or implicitly convey a level of certainty and authentic scholarship that is materially exaggerated. He is not an authority or expert on these issues.
  2. He has repeated verbatim or sometimes merely reformulated slightly writings he has obtained from others on Jewish issues. He has sometimes represented these as his own, without acknowledgment or attribution and has even defended these practices.
  3. He continues to evidence a propensity to uncritically seek out and accept unsavory, dubious and/or negatively biased information in regard to Jews and has drawn others with similar proclivities to his website.
  4. He maintains a vigorous commitment to expressing and propagating these views and an unwillingness to retract or genuinely apologize for any of them.

At one time an undeniably gifted Catholic apologist and scholar, Bob Sungenis' preoccupation with the Jews and his persistent, indiscriminate acceptance and employment of dubious, anti-semitic sources on this subject continues to remain a source of grave scandal, and should be an issue of concern to those involved in the ministry of Catholic apologetics. It is to their credit that Mr. David Palm, Dr. Art Sippo, Mr. Michael Lopez, Mr. Matthew Anger, Mr. John Novotny, Mr. Jacob Michael and Mr. Patrick Morris have all publicly indicated that they share in this concern and take it seriously.

Having read Michael Forrest's detailed investigation into this matter, together with Sungenis' views on the the conversion of the Jews, and what I would describe as a "hermeneutic of suspicion" towards Jewish converts to the Catholic faith), I wholeheartedly agree with his conclusion:

The kind of persistent, expansively negative rhetoric about and attacks on the Jewish people that appear on Robert Sungenis’ website have no legitimate place in civil discourse at all, much less under the banner “Catholic.” Certainly, there are legitimate criticisms to be made and legitimate discussions to be had regarding various “Jewish issues.” But those who persistently create and repeat the kinds of views he reiterates are manifestly not the ones to lead them. Such discussions and criticisms, if they are to have any hope of bearing godly fruit, must be led in spirit of genuine charity, humility and honesty. It is my heartfelt prayer that all those reading these words will reject the ugly and dangerous approach that demonizes the Jewish people and effectively reduces all the world’s ills to their supposed machinations and nefarious conspiracies.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Culture Wars' Troubling Praise of Israel Shamir

Given my past experience with Culture Wars and E. Michael Jones', it did not come as a suprise to find a positively glowing review of Israel Shamir's Pardes in the September, 2005 issue of the publication (Shamir on the Jewish Question, by Tom White. September 2005 -- now posted on the CultureWars.com website).

White has nothing but high praise for Shamir, finding "everything he writes illuminated by a fine intelligence, a good heart, massive knowledge of world history, a truly Christian humility, tremendous sophistication, considerable humor, and a determination to speak his piece no matter what." He likens him to the American poet Ezra Pound, gushing:

Shamir answers for me the question: What is wrong in the world that our nation is collapsing -- or at least getting ready to collapse -- in a welter of monstrous, unpayable debt, illegal and unwinnable wars, pornographic "entertainment," grossly corrupt government, ruinous taxation, and totalitarian-style police-state encroachments on the activities of everyday people, all the while no one seems to be able to do anything to stop any of it?

Pound's political and economic writings, which were a career sideline for a man who was a superb if sometimes difficult poet, are still politically incorrect, because he thought the chief architects of the extreme folly of the two great European World Wars, which wrecked Christendom and murdered millions of human beings, were the money men and munitions men, the giant usurers in their role as warmongers. Pound made plain that he thought -- nay, he knew -- that a lot of the biggest of them were Jews.

Shamir comes now with even more serious accusations, and reporting, if you will, from the inside, to contend that "the Jews" (defined below) are engaged in a monstrous scheme of world control and world government that is within an ace of carrying the day.

Now, just who is Israel Shamir? -- The name sounded oddly familiar. As it turns out, he is referenced by John Sharpe in "Judaism and the Vatican" (The Angelus June 2003 Volume XXVI, Number 6), and a search of Robert Sungenis' Catholics Apologetics International reveals that Shamir is twice recommended by a reader in an exchange with Robert Sungenis (Question #26 and Question #55). E. Michael Jones also displays some familiarity with Shamir, citing one of his columns in Harretz.

The problem of a proper vetting of sources has come up repeatedly in past discussions on this blog. Should it matter that Culture Wars praise Shamir's writings as a reliable source on Jewish affairs? Or that Sungenis and Sharpe make use of him as a reference in their articles? -- Consider the facts, and decide for yourself.

According to his own website Israel Shamir is a "leading Russian-Israeli intellectual, writer, translator and journalist" -- a Russian translator of Joyce, Homer and Agnon; "A native of Novosibirsk, Siberia, a grandson of a professor of mathematics and a descendant of a Rabbi from Tiberias, Palestine," schooled at the "prestigious Academy of Sciences . . . [and] Novosibirsk University".

In 1969, he allegedly moved to Israel, served as a paratrooper and fought in the 1973 war, after which point he resumed his study of law at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and then abandoned the profession in pursuie of a career in journalism, later serving as a columnist for the Israeli daily Haaretz "but was sacked for publishing an article calling to the return the Palestinian refugees and the rebuilding of their ruined villages," whereupon he was employed by the Russian newspaper Pravda.

The second Palestinian Intifada turned Shamir to his highly political and poetic pieces centred on Palestine. In the midst of the endless talk of a "Two State solution", Shamir, along with late Edward Said, has become a leading champion of the "One Man, One Vote, One State" solution in all of Palestine/Israel. As the battle for Palestine spilled over into Iraq, Shamir wrote more about the deeper, philosophical and theological meaning of the war. His essays have been circulating widely on the Internet . . . His English essays are collected in three books, The Flowers of Galilee, Our Lady of Sorrow and the PaRDeS.

However, investigations of Israel Shamir's background -- also operating under various aliases as Schmerlin, Robert David, Vassili Krasevsky and Jöran Jermas -- reveal something of a different story:

  • Israeli writer is Swedish anti-Semite, Tor Bach, Sven Johansen and Lise Apfelblum. Searchlight Magazine, May 2004:
    Shamir also claims to have occupied a string of important positions as a translator of classical works and to have worked as a journalist in several heavyweight media institutions, including for the major Israeli paper, Haaretz. However, when Monitor [Searchlight "sister" magazine in Norway] started investigating Shamir's past last year, it found no evidence that Shamir had ever held these positions. His supposed job as Moscow correspondent for Haaretz turned out to consist of just a few freelance articles.

    The Swedish Census Registry does give a few clues about Shamir and his movements. It shows that his name was entered onto the Registry in October 1984 and he later obtained Swedish citizenship. According to the register he still lives in Dalagatan, Stockholm, not in Jaffa, Israel, as he publicly claims. Shamir's first wife and two sons also live in Stockholm.

    In July 1993, Shamir emigrated to Russia and later to Israel, where he married again in July 1994. He and his new wife returned to Sweden in autumn 1998.

    Shamir, who claims to be one of Israel's leading intellectuals, has concealed the fact that he has lived in Sweden for a long time. Another strange fact is that there are hardly any references to Shamir on the internet before 2001, the same year in which he changed his name. This was a strange time to do this, just as he was being noticed and had started to publish his works under the name of Israel Shamir.

  • Jermas's translator in Norway is Hans Olav Brendberg, a teacher, who was recently asked to leave the executive committee of a branch of the Red Electoral Alliance (RV) -- see RV member to be expelled? [Norway] Monitor February 2004.

  • Israel Shamir: Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, by Roland Rance. [Google cache]. The Socialist / Anti-Zionist magazine Socialist Viewpoint, which used to publish Shamir's writings, explains why they are now distancing themselves from the author and are repulsed by his anti-semitism, evidence for which they locate in his Easter message to his readers:
    In his 2001 Easter Message he wrote: "The Jewish supremacy forces and the greed worshippers united again to crucify Christ…. Two thousand years ago, the spirit of brotherhood rose again, to give hope for the second joust. If he is defeated again, we all shall become forever slaves to our faceless masters. They will destroy the Mother Earth herself, turn her into waste lands of Mordor. They need this victory to bind U.S. together by the dark forces of domination. Let U.S. deny them, this time." [Take Two: Easter greetings to you from Israel Shamir MediaMonitors April 15, 2001 ]

    I'm not given to looking for anti-Jewish racism under every stone; but I think that, in this case, it is shouting from the roof-tops! Like many U.S. racists, he refers to the forces of ZOG (Zionist Government) to explain the behavior of the U.S., where he writes: "This brings us back, to the Fifth Element of Luc Besson, for in the movie as in real life, Zog is not an independent force. A slave of Mammon, a servant of the Shadow, he is helping the Dark force fulfill its metaphysical task, to blot out the Light of Christ and to turn our world into Godless desert. That is why he sends bulldozers to wipe out flowers in Palestine, sends troops to sack Baghdad and Damascus, threatens Paris and Moscow, perverts Christianity."

  • Nigel Parry: The Israel Shamir Case - Once "rapidly and warmly accepted into the pro-Palestinian activist scene," Perry explains why Shamir was ultimately expelled on account of his "classic anti-Semitic repertoire":
    As his articles kept coming, however, an increasing amount of the tone and content was observed by more than a few to fall into what could -- if this hadn't been an Israeli Jew writing it -- best be described as a classic anti-Semitic repertoire. Shamir's identity as a Jew initially enabled people to excuse this, until the whole mess began to unravel as more and more questions were asked. Eventually, these questions began to be answered, and the issue errupted into a controversy. This page is an archive for some of the material that circulated, and is offered to the Palestinian community in particular as a warning to check the backgrounds and content of the message of people who claim to speak on their behalf. However worthy the cause, the end does not justify the means.
  • Lord Ahmed's unwelcome guest, by Stephen Pollard. April 27, 2005. On February 23, Shamir / Jermas was invited to speak in Britain's House of Lords by Nazir Ahmed, a Muslim Labor peer:
    The gist of Shamir/Jermas's speech at the meeting can be gleaned from its title, "Jews and the Empire". It included observations such as: "All the [political] parties are Zionist-infiltrated." "Your newspapers belong to Zionists . . . Jews indeed own, control and edit a big share of mass media, this mainstay of Imperial thinking." "In the Middle East we have just one reason for wars, terror and trouble -- and that is Jewish supremacy drive . . . in Iraq, the US and its British dependency continue the same old fight for ensuring Jewish supremacy in the Middle East." "The Jews like an Empire . . . This love of Empire explains the easiness Jews change their allegiance . . . Simple minds call it 'treacherous behaviour', but it is actually love of Empire per se." "Now, there is a large and thriving Muslim community in England . . . they are now on the side of freedom, against the Empire, and they are not afraid of enforcers of Judaic values, Jewish or Gentile. This community is very important in order to turn the tide."
    "Why would Lord Ahmed have hosted such a man in the Lords?" Pollard inquires, when a quick search of the web would have revealed his true nature:
    Indeed, Shamir/Jermas's own website proudly reprints his views: "Jews asked God to kill, destroy, humiliate, exterminate, defame, starve, impale Christians, to usher in Divine Vengeance and to cover God's mantle with blood of goyim . . . " "The Ashkenazi Jews believed that spilled Jewish blood has a magic effect of calling down Divine Vengeance on the heads of the Gentiles . . . The picture of Jews slaughtering children for cultic reasons exerted huge impact on the Christian peoples of Europe." On and on it goes.
    See also London Times Exposes Columnist "Israel Shamir" as Swedish neo-Nazi DiscoverTheNetworks.org; A Labour anti-semite? StephenPollard.com. March 22, 2005.

  • Israel Shamir exposed! A fake or a plant?, by Manfred Ropschitz. IndiaMedia.org April 26, 2005. IndyMedia.org posts a copy of Israel Shamir's / Jöram Jermas' passport, documenting his dual-identity. Again, the author of the article is "an anti-Zionist Jew, the son of a Polish Holocaust survivor and an active supporter of Palestinian rights since the late 1970's" -- one of many anti-Zionist activists who have disowned and distanced themselves from Shamir.

  • "Israel Shamir" and the Austrian Left , by Karl Pfeifer. TransAtlantic Intelligencer May 26, 2005:
    Today, it is not crude fascist-type street politics that mainly characterizes anti-Semitism but rather heavily coded and implicit arguments -- almost always accompanied by a pre-emptive disavowal of any anti-Semitic intent -- to the effect that the world's problems, including September 11 (and even the Tsunami) have their origins in the policies of and the existence of Israel, that Israel can get away with it because the USA gives it carte blanche, and that the USA does so because its own government is under pressure from, or is itself, ZOG. This kind of argument, in turn, is a key ingredient of simplistic, black and white, assessments of events in the Middle East, especially the Israel-Palestine issue.
  • From Israel Shamir - Wikipedia provides a lengthy entry with copious references and sources on the ongoing investigation into the background of this popular "Israeli" writer.
* * *
Something that Culture Wars and Israel Shamir have in common is the fact that their articles are picked up by the the National Vanguard, a website/organization of questionable ideology (being an offshoot of the white-supremacist National Alliance).

Shamir's columns are regularly featured on The Vanguard's website. In February 24, 2005, Culture Wars' book review of Shamir's Pardes was picked up by The Vanguard, followed by David O'Connell's Elie Wiesel and the Catholics shortly thereafter.

* * *


I see the expose of Israel Shamir has provoked the ire of Culture Wars' Thomas Herron.

Israel Shamir's current residence -- Jaffa, Israel or Sweden? As noted in the various investigatory reports, he has dual citizenship -- is, in my mind, incidental to the content of his writings. Here Herron takes the usual line of defense that Shamir/Jermas is not an anti-semite, but merely opposed to Zionism -- and then mentions the fact of his conversion to Greek Orthodoxy to exonerate his remarks.

But, it is Shamir's writing that is the question -- specifically, the kind of phrases commonplace in his writings, the rhetoric that is drawn from run-of-the-mill European anti-semitism and which has caused many of Shamir's former Palestinian and anti-Zionist admirers to disown him outright. (Herron cites two letters from friends of Shamir who have met him and speak of him highly; in contrast, here is a written account of a personal meeting between Hussein Ibish and Israel Shamir. Ibish is a press spokesman of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), who met with Shamir to discuss his views and warned of Shamir's growing extremism.

Herron appears at a loss as to explain why the majority of those who are now distancing themselves from Shamir's extremism are, for the most part, left-wing anti-Zionist/pro-Palestinian activists who are in no way sympathetic to Zionism or Israel.

Monday, February 27, 2006

IHS Press, Potential Fascist & Antisemitic Connections, Etc.: A Chronicle of Disturbing Patterns

I usually am not inclined to blog on this kind of topic, but having conducted several weeks' investigation into this matter I believe the questions raised by fellow Catholic Matthew Anger (Fringe Watch) are credible, and that this issue, disturbing as it is, should be brought to the greater attention of the public. Please note that as any more information pertaining to this issue becomes available this post may be updated in the future -- Thanks, CB].

In September 2001, John Sharpe and Derek Holland founded IHS Press, its stated mission "to bring back into print the classics of last century on the Social Teachings of the Catholic Church" -- which the publishers hope will be "a welcome and refreshing change for any socially-conscious reader who, in a search for a humane solution to modern social problems, is looking for a break from worn-out theories."

In December 2005, IHS Press, under the imprint "Light and Darkness," published the two-part anthology Neo-Conned and Neo-Conned Again. Featuring "20 months of extensive research" and the contributions of a broad range of authors (a "who's who" of those who opposed the Iraq war), including "paleoconservative" Pat Buchanan (The American Conservative), Joseph Sobran, Deacon Keith Fournier (former editor of TCRNews.com), Paul Likoudis (The Wanderer), William T. Cavanaugh, Ph.D. (author of Torture and Eucharist), Scott Ritter (former chief UN weapons inspector for UNSCOM), journalist Robert Fisk, Professor Noam Chomsky, Justin Raimondo (antiwar.com), Mark & Louise Zwick (Houston Catholic Worker) and E. Michael Jones (Culture Wars) -- with endorsements by everyone from Dale Vree (New Oxford Review) to Howard Zinn (historian, Boston University) to Bishop Williamson (SSPX). . . . in the publisher's words, "a hard-hitting, no-holds-barred examination of the immorality, the injustice, the illegality, and the insanity of America’s aggression against Iraq."

* * *

In December 2005, Matthew Anger (who some might recognize as a frequent contributor to the Seattle Catholic) launched a blog called Fringe Watch, its primary aim "a study on the Third Positionist neo-fascist infiltration of conservative/traditional Catholic circles," but extending its investigation into such controversial figures as Bishop Williamson (SSPX), Fr. Leonard Feeney (1897-1978) . . . and IHS Press founders John Sharpe and Derek Holland. The relevant posts from his blog are as follows:

Readers curious in making the connections can read the relevant posts; but to summarize Anger's investigation: IHS Press founder John Sharpe, a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, former submarine officer and media spokesman for the Atlantic Fleet, has ties to Legion of St. Louis, a traditionalist website which peddles anti-semitic/anti-Judaic literature such as Henry Ford's International Jew, A.K. Chesterton's The New Unhappy Lords (what Anger describes as "the Mein Kampf of British neo-fascism by A. K. Chesterton, founder the racialist National Front") and Judaism's Strange Gods by Holocaust-revisionist and "white-separatist" Michael Hoffman II.

It also appears that the co-founder of IHS Press is none other than Derek Holland (presently going by the name of Deric O'Huallachain), a former International Third Position (ITP) leader with a sympathy for anti-American Arab governments, having traveled to Libya in 1988 (a field trip organized by Ayran Nations Australia leader Robert Pash).

According to Wikipedia's biography:

Holland's last public appearance was at a Swedish nationalist convention in 2002 (hosted by Nationaldemokratisk Ungdom, the youth wing of the National Democrats). Since that time the ITP appears to have gravitated towards the European National Front, and Holland has retired from active involvement in politics, though his Political Soldier writings are still circulated amongst radical nationalists.

Holland has received considerable treatment in works on European extremist nationalism, including Fascism: A History by Roger Eatwell (1997) and Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism and the Politics of Identity by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke (2002). Holland’s writings on the Political Soldier are also featured in Fascism: A Reader published by Oxford University Press (1995).

According to Matt Anger, Derek Holland now resides in Ireland and sits on the board of directors of IHS Press:
From the moment that IHS Press was established in 2001, people expressed concern, but were reassured (as was this writer) that Holland had put his extremism "behind him." Apparently that didn't stop him from being guest speaker at the February 2002 racial nationalist Nationaldemokratisk Ungdom (NDU) in Sweden. In March of that year the German neo-nazi Deutsche Stimme (German Voice) featured his essay, "Theory and Strategy: The Path of the Political Soldier." An overnight transition from political radicalism to religious orthodoxy seems improbable. And his activities in Ireland have covered as recently as 2005 in the Brandsma Review.

Roberto Fiore, Holland's close collaborator, was a member of the political wing of the Armed Revolutionary Nuclei which claimed responsibility for the 1980 Bologna bomb attack which claimed 85 lives. In 1997 Fiore came out of hiding in the UK to head the openly fascist Forza Nuova party in Italy.

What is the link to Neo-Conned? Fiore, as part of the ITP, helped set up the St. George Educational Trust which is the UK counterpart to, and collaborator with, Sharpe's pseudo-Catholic Legion of St. Louis. [More on this later on -- CB]

* * *

Having blogged previously on the disturbing presence of anti-semitism in "radical traditionalist" circles -- Dubious Sources in Catholic Family News May 17, 2003; Anti-semitism: Another Obstacle to SSPX Reconciliation Against the Grain Dec. 28, 2003; Pope Benedict XVI, the SSPX and Impediments to Reunion Sept. 10, 2005 -- I took an immediate interest in Matt Anger's investigation. (And lest you suspect Anger of possessing "neocon" affinities like myself, do read his Anti-War Conservatives vs. Subversives: A Clarification Fringe Watch Jan. 20, 2005).

* * *

Where is all this heading? -- Back in January I had touched on John Sharpe's dubious connections in my introduction to Matt Anger's blog. I was at the time greatly disturbed by these revelations concerning IHS Press, on account that various bloggers and websites I knew(TCRNews.com, for instance) were vigorously promoting the Neoconned series.

Likewise, I myself had promoted IHS Press on my website The Church and the Liberal Tradition (focusing on Catholic social doctrine and the debate between "Whig-Thomists" and "Augustianian Thomists"), and listed one of their books, Dr. Amintore Fanfani's Catholicism, Protestantism, and Capitalism.

Others, however, were somewhat dismissive of Matt Angers' investigation. One commentator protests:

. . . As for Sharpe's views on "the Jews," which I knew nothing of until reading Matt's piece, that is separate. We at our end believe we can praise one work while deploring the rest. We do the same with First Things all the time, which we consider theologically very substantive though politically compromised (again, from our point of view; no offense intended to anyone here).
I responded in turn that this was a grave mistake: perhaps one can separate the content
from the source, "praising the work while deploring the source" -- but in this case, I would be pressed to ask whether, under the present circumstances, it is right to further the financial gain of this kind of publisher without at least inquiring more closely about their political/ideological views?

Another friend urged me to write John Sharpe and IHS Press regarding these allegations, and I agreed it would be the best idea to confront them directly. On February 8, 2006, I emailed the publishers at IHS Press, by way of their own website as well as their Neoconned promotional page, inquiring about the present connections of John Sharpe to the Legion of St. Louis and IHS Press' co-founder Derek Holland's relationship to the International Third Position (as described in the article Faith-based fascists bridging the waters, Searchlight March 2004). (Recieiving no response, I wrote them again on Februrary 21st).

On February 21, 2006 I received the following response from IHS Press:

I write on behalf of IHS Press as the editor. You should contact the Legion of St. Louis for information on their status or activities. IHS Press is not connected to the Legion of St. Louis.

As an aside, as for the books you mention, I have not read Ford's so could not comment on its quality one way or the other, but the Michael Hoffman book you refer to is an excellent and balanced treatment of an obviously difficult question. His treatment is not unlike the treatment of the question by orthodox Catholics of the 1800s and 1900s. No doubt you've read it, since you seem to take exception to it. On the off chance that you haven't read it, I recommend you do so, both for the possibility that it will make a more favorable impression upon you than you seem to have of it currently, and for you to have your facts assembled if you do intend to further criticize it.

As for the 'political affiliations and views' of Mr. O'Huallachain, our co-editor and co-publisher, I suggest you provide some specific questions which I would be happy to forward to him. Regarding lectures or interviews he may have given, these are matters for him to discuss and are of no concern to the Press. We don't make it our business to "authorize" or otherwise get involved in the private or non-IHS Press-related activities of our staff, provided of course that these activities do not contravene either Catholic doctrine and morality or the law, which I am quite certain -- in this case -- they do not.

We are greatful to hear of your promotion of Fanfai's great book. We'd be pleased if that promotion could continue. If you enjoyed the editors' introduction to that volume you might reflect upon it as an illustration of the orthodoxy of the Press's editors. As an additional aside regarding whatever your questions might be about the editors' 'views or political affiliations,' you may rest assured that our views are expressed in what we publish and, more specifically, what we have written as introductory material to what we publish.

We'd be happy to answer any further or more specific questions.

Mr. Sharpe and I corresponded further on the above topics, although his responses to my inquiries regarding the Legion of St. Louis and Derek Holland's background were in large part the same and stuck to the above points. My observations are as follows:

John Sharpe and the Legion of St. Louis

Mr. Sharpe advises: "You should contact the Legion of St. Louis for information on their status or activities. IHS Press is not connected to the Legion of St. Louis." (He reiterated this point in our subsequent correspondence). Now, while this is "factually" true (there is indeed, no formal connection between the two organizations), it remains the case that the founder of "The Legion of St. Louis" is none other than John Sharpe, as documented by the "founding email" of the organization, reproduced here on The LeFloch Report, and this article in the Dec. 13, 2002 edition of Seattle Catholic.

John Sharpe's Commentary on 9/11

[Note: This particular section has been revised on 3/1/06 in light of additional documentation uncovered from MediaMonitors.net -- CB]

Furthermore, as "editor of the Legion of St. Louis", Mr. Sharpe authored a series of essays on 9/11 for conspiracy website MediaMonitors.net, in which he airs views that would be of concern to most Catholics. In the first essay, "Thou Shall Not Kill Sept. 17, 2001, Sharpe suggests that the United States pretty much brought 9/11 on itself. Citing the work of (suprise!) "the master of secret history, Michal A. Hoffman, II," Sharpe muses that "there remains the possibility that that official story [of 9/11] will be a cover for something else, and that there are individuals who benefit from the results . . . who are other than the hypothetical crazy Arabs," speculating in his second essay (The Mainstream Media Reaction to the Attacks: Who's Pulling the Strings? Sept. 19, 2001) that the culprits may very well be "The Mossad or the U.S. Govt."

In this third essay, Islam vs. the West: Is This Another Crusade? October 18, 2001, Sharpe charges that:

Commentary on the geopolitical situation of 2001 can be neither complete nor sufficient if it fails to take into account the Jewish Nation. The temporal power that the Jews have achieved since, picking a somewhat arbitrary date, 1789, is both pervasive and relatively unchallenged. Some readers will doubtless call this extremism, anti-Semitism, and, God-forbid, some strange brand of Nazi fanaticism. On the contrary. It is simply a fact. The forces of high finance, government, and the media have been in largely Jewish hands for some time now; we should therefore expect that the direction in which the world is guided by those forces (or at least in which those forces attempt to guide the world) largely corresponds to a generally Jewish aim.
Sharpe goes on to discuss the Catholic response to 9/11 from the Vatican ("little more than a nicely robed fan club for everything modern") and Pope John Paul II ("of scandalous Koran-kissing fame") -- such references to the Holy Father are to be expected -- before concluding:
1. The current and historical mortal enemy of Christian civilization is Judeo-Masonry. There can be no doubt about this fact from an analysis history, both recent, and that which dates from the time of Our Lord. Islam is a sideshow, albeit a powerful and vigorous one, to the main drama. It has been a tool of Jewry and may in fact be so in this case.

2. There is nothing to suggest that bin Laden, assuming he is the guilty party – or whoever is responsible for the attacks of 9-11 – considered the attacks to be an assault on the West, insofar as it is the uniquely Christian West. [. . .]

4. In truth, there is no longer a Christian West to attack. To suggest that the US of A is the last bastion of Christian civilization is a sad mockery of the truth. It has been a greater Israel for many years; the rise of Hollywood, Wall Street, the Fed, and Roosevelt’s State and Treasury departments assured that.

Part III of Sharpe's 9/11 commentary ends with the anticipation that he "will try to pull together what is known about the "official story" and why it doesn’t wash. It will also consider just what role this 'greater Judaism' may have had in 9-11, particularly in light of the ideological gains which it continues to reap in the name of pluralism and tolerance."

The Sept. 11, 2002 - "9/11 Anniversary Edition" of the LSL's Legion News & Views [available here on the restored website of the LSL, or via the Google cache], again indulges in wild conspiracies about 9/11, recommending the conspiracy-theory websites The Abbé de Nantes" and http://www.whatreallyhappened.com -- speculating (from the former) that Bin Laden is "the secret ally of the United States"; (from the latter), that the Zionists, again, were the true perpetrators of the crime.

John Sharpe's endorsement of Judaism's Strange Gods, by Michael Hoffman II

Mr. Sharpe recommends Michael Hoffman's Judaism's Strange Gods as an "excellent and balanced treatment of an obviously difficult question." Who is Michael Hoffman II?

Michael Hoffman II is a conspiracy-theorist and Holocaust-revisionist, who heads the revisionist website Campaign for Radical Truth in History. He has authored a number of books such as Hate Whitey - The Cinema of Defamation ("tracking Hollywood's psychological war against whites, Christians, Germans and gentiles"); Witches and Rabbis: Legacy of the Reagan White House (the chapter titles alone are a good indication of the content: "Reagan's Kosher Cash Cow; Greatest Presidential Friend of the Israelis; Patron Saint of the Holohoax Lobby," etc.); on revisionisthistory.org, he bemoans the fact that

"The white race --at least in its current degenerate state as manifested in modern America-- is now the golem of the rabbis. Without the unstinting financial and military support of America's white leaders and white voters, the Israeli Zionists would not have one-tenth their power in the world today. The supremacy of whites in America such as George W. Bush, Donald Rumsefeld, Dick Cheney, Jeb Bush, George Bush Sr., Justice Antonin Scalia, . . . is synonymous with the rise of Judaic supremacy. I repudiate white supremacy and Judaic supremacy with every ounce of my being."

In subsequent correspondence with Mr. Sharpe I pointed out Michael Hoffmann II's rather dubious connections and asked, whether in light of his other writings as a Holocaust revisionist, Hoffman's Judaism's Strange Gods could honestly be considered to offer a "excellent and balanced" exploration of Judaism. Mr. Sharpe responded:

I am not aware of the books of his that you say indulge "in the worst form of 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion"-esque conspiracy-theorizing", whatever that means exactly. Notwithstanding your own point of view of Mr. Hoffman, his book on Judaism is balanced and enlightening. I suggest you read it before you comment on it one way or another.
Although Sharpe professes an ignorance of Hoffman's other works, he has
freely cited Secret Societies and Psychological Warfare in his speculations on 9/11. Although he may not be aware of his other works, I admit I was greatly disturbed by his apparent lack of concern about Hoffman's connections when I pointed these out to him.

Truth be told, I have not bothered to read Strange Gods of Judaism. While I am somewhat familiar with the selective-quotation from the Talmud by anti-semites (see the Anti-Defamation League's The Talmud in Anti-Semetic Polemics February 2003, which addresses the spurious charges of Michael Hoffman II and white-supremacist David Duke), the fact that Michael Hoffman II is a celebrated author of, and heavily marketed by, white-nationalist, neo-nazi, "revisionist history" and "New World Order" conspiracy-theory organizations is enough to repel me.

With regards to learning about Judaism as a religious tradition, I have found Hayim Halevy Donin's To Be a Jew: A Guide to Jewish Observance in Contemporary Life (Basic Books, 1991) particularly helpful, along with Back To The Sources: Reading the Classic Jewish Texts (Simon & Schuster, 1986); I suppose Rabbi Joseph Telushkin's Jewish Literacy: The Most Important Things to Know About the Jewish Religion, Its People and Its History wouldn't hurt, either. And to understand Judaism from a Christian/Catholic perspective, one might read Roy H. Schoeman's Salvation is From The Jews (Ignatius Press, 2004).

Point being: if you want to learn about contemporary Judaism, ask a Jew. Better yet, ask a religious orthodox Jew, not a conspiracy-theorist with a background in "white-separatism" and Holocaust-revisionism.

John Sharpe's Lack of Concern about Derek Holland

That IHS Press' founder should plead ignorance of and willful disregard for the past activities of Derek Holland is extremely troubling for this reason: according to Matthew Anger,

The [International Third Position] has long been involved in a scheme of Marxist style "entryism" – with the aim of co-opting groups which profess non-mainstream views (not extremist per se) in the hopes of bringing them under their neo-fascist umbrella. But a breakthrough came with the ITP's St. George Educational Trust (SGET) set up in the early 90s as a "Catholic charity" organization (an investigation of the group by the UK Charity Commission took place in 1997).

But a breakthrough came with the ITP's St. George Educational Trust (SGET) set up in the early 90s as a "Catholic charity" organization (an investigation of the group by the UK Charity Commission took place in 1997).

[For more on the investigation into the 'St. George Educational Trust,' see "Two 'Catholic' charities linked to Nazis, says report", by Paul Kelso The Guardian Sept. 18, 2000, and "Charities told to sever link to far-right nationalists", The Guardian May 21, 2001]

It has to be understood that within European "revolutionary nationalism" there are two trends: one, professedly neo-pagan and even anti-Christian; the other, espousing a selective religiosity (not unlike the Klan and "Christian Identity" racialists in the US). But when push comes to shove, all such extremists put aside personal differences to unite in their hatred of Jews, non-whites and the United States. It is the totalitarian tendency which trumps everything else.

The problem with Sharpe's activities is not just a question of overlapping ideas, but of overlapping resources. A look at my library shows that the SGET, whose books are sold by the [Legion of St. Louis], has the same mailing address as the ITP’s Legion Books at Forest Place in Hampshire, England.

The SGET/LSL pamphlet Catholic Action: Uses, Abuses and Excuses is written by Derek Holland under the pen name of "Liam Connolly." The article "Why Catholics Are Cowards" by Liam Connolly was published by the LSL and SGET in the booklet Faith and Fear. It first appeared in the Christmas 1998 issue of Candour, an anti-Semitic newsletter run by the ITP (now operating in the UK as "England First").

In subsequent correspondence, John Sharpe reiterated his position that
IHS does not scrutinize the activities of its staff provided those don't violate either the moral or the civil law, and, to repeat, Mr. O'Huallachain's activities - whether or not you endorse them - don't violate either. Therefore they are of no concern to IHS Press.
In light of the fact that 1) IHS Press co-founder Derek Holland/Deric O'Huallachain has a known history of involvement in British fascism, including the origination of the International Third Position; 2) Derek Holland's comrade, Italian fascist Roberto Fiore, masterminded a plot in the 1990's to fund "nationalist commmunes" in Spain through "Catholic charities" which purported to be merely thrift stores and distributors of traditional Catholic literature; 3) that, as late as 2002, Derek Holland had a speaking engagement to a convention of the German NPD (Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands) . . . then, in this writer's humble opinion, it probably would be in Sharpe's best interest to evaluate his background before entering into a joint publishing venture.

* * *

In the past several years, IHS Press has received recognition as a mainstream Catholic publisher. In September 11, 2003, Zenit News Service interviewed Mr. Sharpe on the founding of IHS Press and the revival of Catholic social doctrine ("As a complete sociopolitical creed the social doctrine really is a third way that isn't just between the Left and Right -- it rather transcends both Left and Right and rises above them with its own vision of social order"). They have received a fidelity rating of "excellent" by CatholicCulture.com; and in a November 2004 book review for the New Oxford Review, Thomas Storck commended their publication of Chesterton and Belloc, "their efforts to provide American readers with these foundational works cannot be praised too highly."

In addition to its promotion of traditional Catholic works, IHS Press has, through its "Sheffield Hallam University Press" imprint , published several books on economic socialism, including study of the controversial publisher Alfred Richard Orage and Gary Taylor's Socialism and Christianity: The Politics of the Church Socialist League -- a study of late 19th, early 20th century Christian socialism in England which challenges the notion that "socialism is anti-Christian".

Under its "Traditionalist Press" imprint, IHS Press also published the book The Rural Solution: Modern Catholic Voices on Going “Back to the Land”, an anthology which argues "why city-dwelling Catholics should settle and work in the country." The authors of the text are listed as:

Richard Williamson is a bishop of the Roman Catholic Church. Peter Chojnowski is a teacher of religion, philosophy, and social thought at Immaculate Conception Academy. Christopher McCann is an associate of Angelus Press, a Catholic publisher of books about contemporary issues of the Catholic faith. John Marx was a professor of social science and economics at Catholic University of America. Willis Nutting was a frequent contributor to the Catholic journal Integrity.
Now, Bishop Williamson is more than "a bishop of the Roman Catholic Church," being in fact excommunicated by Pope John Paul II in 1988, along with the other leaders of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) (see John Paul II's apostolic letter Ecclesia Dei Adflicta); Angelus Press is more than "a Catholic publisher" -- being the inhouse publisher of the SSPX, and Peter Chojnowski currently teaches for the Society of Saint Pius X at Immaculate Conception Academy in Post Falls, ID.

I should also mention that Richard Williamson also has a history of extremist views that mirror those of Sharpe and Derek Holland (see The Politics of Bishop Richard Williamson Fringe Watch January 25, 2006).

While it appears that the publishers' description of Williamson, Chojnowski and McCann could be construed as a willful attempt to conceal their controversial membership in the SSPX, one should also note that, according to Matt Anger, “whether one agrees with the SSPX or not, it is clear that Bishop Williamson has been an extremist and divisive force in Catholic tradition,” and that many within the SSPX remain severely critical of Richard Williamson’s relationship with Sharpe, Holland, and their involvement in neo-fascism.

Likewise, we should distinguish between those within the SSPX militantly opposed to Rome (like Williamson) and those who are not averse to entering into dialogue with Benedict XVI, with the goal of reconciliation.

IHS Press has also been vigorously marketing the Neo-Conned series, which received positive reviews by Dr. John Hubert TCRNews.com, Catholic "traditionalist" Michael Semin, and, curiously, a group called Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance for 9/11 Truth (the latter reviewer has his own distinct criteria for determining the book's quality: "I went back through the book counting the 9/11 references. According to my quick survey, Neoconned Again includes 14 references (in ten essays) that take the official story [of 9/11] for granted; ten that cast doubt upon it indirectly or through innuendo; and three clear statements that the official story of 9/11 is a lie").

Over the past months, John Sharpe has also done promotional spots on left-wing radio (AntiWar.com's "Weekend Interview") and television (Dr Hesham Tillawi's "Current Issues" interview no longer available online but Sharpe's photo is posted). He will be presenting his work on Neo-Conned and Neo-Conned Again: Hypocrisy Lawlessness and the Rape of Iraq an an Arab/Islamic Center on March 31, 2006.

* * *

The publishers of the Neo-Conned volumes present themselves in a rather innocuous light:

J. Forrest Sharpe is the publisher and managing director of IHS Press. He is a student of Catholic Social Doctrine and the English Distributist movement. D. Liam O'Huallachain is the editorial director of IHS Press and is a student of Catholic Social Doctrine, the English Distributist Movement, and contemporary alternative political movements. Both have edited and annotated editions of works by 20th-century social thinkers such as G.K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, Fr. Vincent McNabb, Fr. Heinrich Pesch, and Dr. George O'Brien.
But as we have seen in this post, there is more to D. Liam O'Huallachain's study of "contemporary alternative political movements" than a cursory or academic interest.

At the time of this writing, it also appears that the domain name "http://www.legionofstlouis.com/" expired (on February 6, 2006 to be precise). Perhaps we may take this as a sign that Mr. Sharpe intends to abandon his earlier project and concentrate fully on the advancement of IHS Press. One may hope as much -- but in light of Sharpe's past editorship of the Legion of St. Louis, his co-founder's questionable political activities (which continued even after the founding of IHS Press), and the many controversial connections unnearthed by Matthew Angers' Fringe Watch investigations, serious questions and concerns remain.

Had Sharpe expressed the slightest bit of concern over Michael Hoffman II's writing and views on Judaism, or Derek Holland's ideological history as a Third Positionist; or admitted that he was indeed the founder of Legion of St. Louis, but had repudiated the opinions he was disseminating at the time as editor, I would have been inclined to let the matter rest and give IHS Press "the benefit of the doubt."

But the fact that he immediately went on the defensive in his support for Michael Hoffman II's Strange Gods of Judaism, his utter lack of concern for Derek Holland and his connection as founder of the Legion of St. Louis prompted the writing of this article.

Given their ideological background and connections, is it a good idea to lend one's support to these publishers by way of promoting their books?

And what of the "neo-fascist infiltration of conservative/traditional Catholic circles"? -- in addition to the left-wing and "paleoconservative" authors who penned works for the Neo-Conned volumes, there were also good Catholics who supported this project, either by contributing their work or lending their voice in endorsement.

Would they have done so as readily had they been fully aware of the ideological affiliations of its publishers?

Updates (1/28/06)

  • Matt Anger brings to my attention a third essay on 9/11, available on the website of the Legion of St. Louis, which claims that "Bin Laden's call to attack the West lacks a supernatural geo-political perspective because it is concerned ONLY with defending the rights, albeit in some cases legitimate, of Muslim states. The media perspective is faulty because it equates the West with the Enlightenment, secularism, and materialism. And the analysis put forward by some Catholic parties is flawed not so much in itself as in what it leaves out of consideration – Judeo-Masonry."

  • A Final Conflict NewsEmail dated March 20th, 2001, a nationalist "skinhead" Third Positionist publication, contains a note attributed to "info@legionofstlouis.com" (One observes as well a mutual interest in Michael Hoffman II ("a seminal piece which exposes Judaism's dualistic Kabbalah/Talmud based faith . . . Judaism has NOTHING to do with Christianity or even the Old Testament -- but is essentially occultist"), which of course begs the question: what is a Catholic organization doing fraternizing with this kind of movement?

  • The August 25, 2002 edition of Legion News & Views [Google cache] contains a review of an IHS Press book on Chesterton, confirming that that the organization was in existence and functioning at least a year after the founding of the publishing company. Matt Anger notes (Legion of St. Louis Website: Gone But Not Forgotten Fringe Watch Feb. 27, 2006):
    . . . the LSL site was in place in October 2001 and the IHS Press site went up no later than November of that same year, demonstrating that Mr. Sharpe was promoting supposedly Catholic publications via IHS at the same time that he was peddling anti-Semitism and neo-fascism with the LSL; and Derek Holland, veteran British neo-fascist, is a member of the IHS Press board of directors and was openly involved in extremist activities even after IHS Press was founded.

  • As of March 1, 2006, the Legion of St. Louis website appears to be "back in business," the domain name renewed on March 1, 2005 -- although the registrant's identity is removed.

  • I. Shawn McElhinney (Rerum-Novarum) notes that "some who have been zealously promoting this series have sought to take a moral theology approach to justifying these books propagation amongst their readers" -- he responds in On IHS Press, Potential Fascist Connections, Antisemitism, Etc. (Aka "Hand Caught in the Cookie Jar" Dept.).

  • In studying this topic I am also indepted to Bill Cork's extensive investigation "Antisemitism and the Catholic Right, an investigation of Robert Sungenis.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Legion of St. Louis Website: Some More Facts

Despite the political liability, John Sharpe continues to maintain his Legion of St. Louis site. An obvious smoking gun is his booklist (which includes such strange titles as Henry Ford's International Jew, The New Unhappy Lords, by British neo-fascist A. K. Chesterton, and Judaism's Strange Gods by anti-Semite Michael A. Hoffman II) and his outrageous 9-11 commentary (part I, II and III), which includes quotes from anti-Semites like Ernst Zündel and Michael Hoffman.

To reiterate, the LSL site was in place in October 2001. The IHS Press site went up no later than November of that same year, demonstrating that while Mr. Sharpe was promoting "Catholic Social Teaching" he was peddling anti-Semitism and neo-fascism with the LSL. As noted on this blog, Derek Holland, veteran British neo-fascist, is a member of the IHS Press board of directors and was openly involved in extremist activities even after IHS Press was founded.

More Legion/extremist connections:

FringeWatch has just located this copy of a Final Conflict NewsEmail dated March 20, 2001 which includes a note posted by LSL (presumably by John Sharpe) which says: "Anyone interested in pursuing this line of thinking further or in just having a chat can contact us at info@legionofstlouis.com." For those not aware of it, Final Conflict is the racist nationalist skinhead fanzine put out originally by the International Third Position (ITP) and now by its PoliticalSoldier.net spin-off. This connection comes as no surprise since the Legion was affiliated with the same ITP.

Another item of interest is this endorsement of the Legion's 9-11 commentary by Canadian neo-Nazi Ernst Zündel's ZGram for September 12, 2001. The fact that the Legion also cross-referenced Zündel's publications (in his original 9/11 commentary) shows that John Sharpe never hesitated to associate his "Catholic Action apostolate" with extremists.

As discussed in a previous post, the LSL partnered with the ITP's St. George Educational Trust (noted here and discussed in the Telegraph), selling books like Catholic Action, Uses, Abuses and Excuses, which had the same mailing address as the ITP's openly racialist and neo-fascist "Legionary Press" outfit.