Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Looks like damage control to me, Charles

Charles Johnson of LGF professes himself as a leading figure of the anti-Jihad movement. But how serious is he really about anti-Jihad resistance in practice?

The Counterjihad Summit in Brussels was the first of its kind. A very important effort indeed. Not just presentations and talking -- it was a working meeting! Networks were being built, action plans were being worked out, people could come together and feel that there are many of us, even though we are a marginal minority in each place where we operate. This is precisely the way to do it, and much needed. Of course there had been discussions before the conference of whom to invite and whom not to invite, for example it was clear that BNP or Le Pen's Front National should not be invited. No anti-Semites were invited to the conference, only expressly philo-Semitic people were attending. Apart from being repugnant, anti-Semites are the worst possible allies you could have, since they are obsessed by one single theme, all animated by hallucinational fear of ghosts, disconnected from the real world. And anyway, anti-Semites have no interest in attending "icky" philo-Semitic conferences as ours.

Charles Johnson was being kept in the loop about this counterjihad conference from the very start. He got his first email with an invitation to participate from Baron Bodissey already three months before the conference. In total he got three emails. But unlike the majority of the invitees Charles never answered a single email.
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It was only when Dymphna of Gates of Vienna informed him that the conference had taken place and gave him a link to what Baron Bodissey had written about it, that he acted. And then by suddenly publicly questioning of the whole thing. In his first post about the conference the immediate sneering smackdown, from some commenter of LGF who calls himself "Dave of Sweden", was put on the front page of the post itself. And since then he has continued an ambitious campaign against the conference, more resembling a witch hunt than anything else. All about guilt-by-association charges (mostly using highly questionable sources) most of which were completely faulty, none of which he admitted or corrected, and the remaining ones still just "by association". Gates of Vienna was de-linked from LGF, and Dymphna and Baron Bodissey banned. Fjordman became banned too. A whole bunch of people were banned for not toeing to the line of Charles Johnson.

There are still different opinions about Vlaams Belang among anti-Jihadists. Some think we should work with them, some don't. This is absolutely a valid discussion, and we respectfully exchange the different opinions among each other. So this is not the problem with Charles Johnson and LGF. The grave problem is in how he abstained from giving any constructive criticism before the conference, and how he launched an aggressive campaign against the conference after it had taken place.

But Charles is an intelligent man, and clearly by now he has come to realize how bad this looks. He's been facing a lot of criticism, also from within PajamasMedia by Richard Miniter. Apart from the whole train of people Charles banned, equally many left LGF voluntarily since they found Charles' modus operandi repugnant and dishonest. The reaction against his behaviour has been so strong and widespread that even Charles realized that there is a world outside of LGF -- the echo chamber that he has carefully tailored for himself. He's realized how bad it looks for someone professing as a serious anti-Jihadist to not forwarding any constructive criticism to the epicenter of the anti-Jihad resistance about their pivotal conference, but instead immediately going public with it, striking a decisive blow against the whole effort. So he decided that he needed to do some damage control.

Tom Paine of Shire Network interviewed Charles Johnson this Monday. The very first thing Charles said in the interview was this:

"It actually started because the people who run Gates of Vienna were emailing me about this counterjihad conference that was being organised in Belgium. And so I was paying attention to the story, and really hadn't noticed the guest list too much until I posted something on, I believe it was October 19th, about the conference. And at that point is when I actually read the people who were included in the conference. And realized that there were problems around a couple of them, just because I've been paying attention to what happens there. And I posted that. Then I thought maybe that some of these people were hitching a ride for less than honourable reasons. And after that everything just all blew up (laughter)."
Charles here decides to immediately open with countering the impression that he was fully informed about the conference beforehand, but didn't react until afterwards. He claims that he wasn't fully informed since he hadn't "noticed the guest list too much". The essence of his claim is that he was not aware of the participation of Vlaams Belang until after the conference had taken place, and that this is the reason that he didn't forward constructive criticism to his fellow counterjihadists beforehand. Still he claims that he had been "paying attention to the story" of the emails (but apparently didn't find it important enough to answer any of them).

If we assume that Charles' account of what happened is true, here's the strange thing: even if one didn't read the guest list of these emails at all, but only payed attention to the story, Vlaams Belang is all over the story. The conference was going to take place in Belgium. Security concerns was a major issue, since these kind of meetings regularly gets attacked by leftist stormtroopers (largely egged by more or less obscure Internet campaigns where we are "framed" as Nazi-like). Therefore it was carefully explained early in the story of these emails how Vlaams Belang would take care of the arrangements for the venue and security of the conference. This since they were able to grant us access to the highly secure European and Flemish parliaments for the meetings.

Christine of CVF here gives a detailed account of what had been sent to Charles Johnson in the emails about the conference, about the "story" of the conference:
  1. The email from July 14 stated, “Paul Belien of Brussels Journal is actively involved, and Filip Dewinter, a leader of Vlaams Belang (the Flemish separatist party) is helping us out with the venue and security. “
  2. The email from July 30 stated, “Philip Claeys, EU Parliamentarian with Vlaams Belang, is helping with access to facilities and security.”
  3. The email from September 9 stated “Vlaams Belang is making the arrangements for the venue and security, and I will be in touch later with recommendations for accommodation and information about meals and transport.”
So if we are going to believe Charles, we will have to disbelieve his claim that he had been "paying attention to the story". And by now it becomes rather complex even for the most benevolent believer in Charles' claims, since it becomes apparent that not everything he said in the opening of the Shire interview could be fully true. And either way you twist it, Charles turns out as looking like anything but a serious anti-Jihadist. The most benevolent way to interpret Charles is that he read virtually nothing of the emails sent by Gates of Vienna. And how serious does that look? A "leading" anti-Jihadist falling asleep at the keyboard (three times!) when he gets emails about the most important anti-Jihad conference ever. The less benevolent interpretation is that Charles read it all, which means that he's a backstabber and a liar. Which does not only cast doubts about him being serious, but about him being an anti-Jihadist at all.

Charles is an intelligent man, so he has realized this problem too. He feels how his world is shrinking. Initially he saw himself as speaking for the whole anti-Jihad movement, confident that he spoke for the majority. Then he declared that he had never been on the "anti-jihad bandwagon", at least not the majority conservative one. Now he's appealing only to "US anti-jihad bloggers". Not US anti-Jihadists in general, just the bloggers -- of whom he probably still imagines himself as being the leader.

So at least subconsciously, he's aware of how badly he has damaged his reputation. He's done his best to apply damage control to the situation, but his traitorous behaviour is too obvious. So the question is how many will believe in his spin, apart for the sycophants of his personal echo-chamber.

Update:

Christine of CVF, who's keeping track of Charles' LGF comments, just emailed me this:
He’s perhaps a little confused…because he also posted this AFTER the interview was recorded:

#817

Charles 11/12/07 3:42:48 pm reply quote report



re: #813 Meryl Yourish

Actually, what I got out of it was, "Well, we invited him to the conference, and he didn't come, and he didn't say we were bigots for three months, and now all of a sudden, he says we're bigots. That's not FAY-YER."

Indeed. For what it's worth, I don't remember receiving the invitation, and may not have read it. I get 500+ emails a day usually, and it's not unusual for me to miss something. But what does any of that matter? Again, it's an obfuscation; it's got nothing to do with the facts.

3 comments:

DP111 said...

Excellent post CS. It reminds of the famous speech by Mark Antony.

USorThem said...

I've created a page in my blog for those banned from LGF for being "racist", "extremist", "eliminationists", or just a pepple in CJ's sandles, so that we may have a list and perhaps a little insight to CJ's censorship rationale.
Plese add to the list if you've been banned.

http://www.usorthemonline.com/wordpress/?page_id=79

Polemicist said...

Conservative Swede

I'm not sure all of Charles' material originates from left-wing sites. This one seems to be straight from the source. How would you interpret the symbol on page 12 in this document? Is it a pro or a con in your eyes on the question of working together with Vlaams Belang?

link

Regards