The title of the post will become clear at the end: the post itself is an evaluation of judgement and accountability.
Last year, the Northwest Forum’s June and August meetings had three infiltrators. One was Patrik Hermannson of Hope Not Hate. The second was the girlfriend of a member of the local Cascadia group. The third was David Lewis, a Seattle journalist.
I will give Johnson credit here for admitting an unpleasant truth – it wasn’t two infiltrations, it was three. But the second one described here – the yeastbucket infiltration – is puzzling. Was the Cascadia member an infiltrator himself (using the masculine here, since I’m assuming we are not talking about lesbians)? If not, if he’s sincere, then why was his girlfriend an infiltrator? Was she an anti-racist honeypot with a mission to infiltrate the Far Right by hooking up with a Nutzi? Were they a genuine couple and the guy was too clueless to know she was a leftist? Der Movement is so bizarre that anything is possible? Update: this is sort of answered below.
Obviously, we needed to rethink our vetting procedures.
Hermansson got in because he was vouched for by the organizers of The London Forum.
That includes a grown man who attends meetings wearing shorts (hint: a London Forum meeting is not the Afrika Korps in the North African desert; there’s no reason for a mentally competent adult to attend such a meeting wearing shorts) and who blows Viking horns. I mean, why doubt such a stalwart fellow?
The London Forum generally has very good security, so I thought it reasonable to trust them.
This was obviously a mistake.
The mark of a prudent and competent leader is to realize the obvious in advance, not in retrospect.
Simply being vouched for is not enough. We need to take an independent look into everyone who is sent our way.
I could have told you that from the beginning. It’s the same thing I was telling IRL Nutzis 20 years ago.
In Hermansson’s case, simply asking him to show me picture ID before we sat down to an interview would have been enough to expose him as a fraud.
But here’s the rub: virtually everyone at the June 2017 Northwest Forum would have refused to give his picture ID, even the ones who later whined most loudly about the security breach.
There’s no “rub.” If the people don’t trust the meeting organizer enough to show picture IDs (and here the lack of trust would have been justified), then what’s the point of attending a “extreme vetted” meeting? How is this “building a community?”
Indeed, most of the people in the Cascadia group knew each other only by online aliases.
All that security botched by the incompetence around them.
I even wonder if the fellow whose girlfriend later declared herself an infiltrator knew her real name.
That comment lends credence to the honeypot hypothesis. Regardless of how the loving couple met, we ask: what kind of unmitigated idiot brings to a private Far Right meeting a “girlfriend” he obviously knows little or nothing about? Let me guess: this must be one of the wonderful Alt Right WN 2.0 Millennials who is going to save the White race. Hail Pepe! Hail Kek! Sane response: flush the entire “Cascadia group” down the Type I toilet. Der Movement talks big about “eschewing defectives.” Case in point, no?
Obviously, in such a culture, “extreme vetting” is just a meme, and I was foolish to think that anyone vouching for any individual was meaningful.
Just a meme. Very nice. You know, the sincere activists who attended probably expected “extreme vetting” that was not “just a meme.” I cannot understand, cannot fathom, why all you rank-and-file activists out there accept this Keystone Cops routine
As for the Lewis breach: that was entirely my fault, for which I am sorry.
That’s not accountability. Real accountability is taking action instead of saying “sorry,” said action including admitting you are not cut out for a leadership role, and making way for people who are.
Again, though, his cover would have evaporated if I simply asked to see his picture ID. Fortunately, the Hermansson story had already weeded out the people who were most skittish about doxing.
Chutzpah alert! Johnson’s third mistake is explained and excused by the fallout from his first mistake.
Beyond that, Lewis was simply a journalist looking for the opportunity to sell some snark, not an antifa agent, and as far as I can tell, the only people harmed by his story were the perfectly nice people who rented the venue to us. They got some bad publicity and were shaken down by local Leftists, who offered to take the blood money we had paid them, to cleanse them of guilt by association. Such is the price of doing business in the liberal utopia of Seattle.
Dear god, he still doesn’t get it. Dr. Johsnon: the point is not what damage these people did, the point is your bad judgment (and that of Steadman and others) for allowing it to happen in the first place. The same lack of judgment can – and likely will – lead to an even greater disaster in the future. We are not talking about 20-something people here. If middle-aged men cannot show minimal judgment by now, they likely never will.
At that point, I decided to quit doing The Northwest Forum.
Good call. Some good judgment at least.
But others in the Northwest wanted to continue it.
Two Proposals for Dealing with Inflitrators
Two proposals to deal with the infiltrator problem were discussed but ultimately rejected for reasons outlined below.
The first suggestion was simply to make The Northwest Forum a public event, open to all who buy tickets. This would make a virtue of necessity. It would make publicity work for us rather than against us. It would attract new people who are not afraid of attending public events, and it would keep skittish people away. (No vetting procedure can be 100% foolproof, and public meetings strip away any false sense of security.)
The sense of security was “false” because the genuine attendees were misled that there was going to be “extreme vetting,” rather than letting any Swede or movie critic walk in without interference.
The second suggestion was to allow journalists to cover the event as long as they would abide by the same rules set down at the American Renaissance conference, namely that they would be clearly identified as members of the press (with the equivalent of a yellow star) and would not disclose the names or faces of attendees without their permission. The benefit of this is that our message would not be confined to just the people present. The media would carry at least some of it to the larger public.
Both of these suggestions would deal with one of the main problems of private meetings: namely, the fact that they can be framed as “secret” and thus invite “undercover” journalists and antifa. Leftists wish to frame our activities as secret because they wish to make them seem sinister, even criminal, with the eventual goal of using the state to ban our ideas and their dissemination.
For instance, Patrick Hermanson’s entire “scoop” from The London Forum and the Jonathan Bowden Dinner consisted of framing information that he could have gotten without false pretenses as the result of an undercover investigation at sinister secret conclaves. But I said nothing to Hermansson’s hidden microphone that I had not said in public many times before, and my picture had already been released online by movement scum.
I presume the “scum” in question is The Movement Critic. Now, while I appreciate The Movement Critic blog, I do not agree that Johnson’s picture should have been revealed, that’s a form of doxing and is unacceptable. That said, Johnson’s continued attempts to offload accountability by repeatedly downplaying the impact of the infiltrations, are, frankly, disgusting. So, then, if The Movement Critic had not posted Johnson’s picture, then Hermansson would have been the first to do so. Regardless of the specific outcomes, the piss-poor judgment underlying the Hermansson infiltration remains the same. It does not matter – repeat, IT DOES NOT MATTER – that the “scoop” wasn’t that damaging. It could have been, had Hermansson not been a bumbling amateur, or if he had decided to stay undercover longer and really burrow his way in deep as a mole (for that matter, we do not know if any such moles already exist).
Furthermore, to underscore how completely unnecessary Hermansson’s deception was, a legitimate journalist was present at the same London Forum meeting and Jonathan Bowden Dinner. She was identified as a member of the press and agreed to respect people’s privacy, and she heard basically the same things that Hermansson did, without the necessity of deception.
More misdirection from Johnson. The point is that a more competent and dedicated (and patient) infiltrator than Hermansson could have leveraged the lax security and ethnic fetishism to become deeply integrated within the Alt Right, including Counter Currents, and have done incalculable damage. Question: why do typos in a job application scare off potential employers? Is it because the typos are damaging in and of themselves? No, it is because a person who would submit a sloppy resume is someone who cannot be trusted to show the attention to detail to perform the job effectively. Likewise, the problem with these infiltrations is not what the immediate outcome was, the problem is in what it tells us about “movement” “leaders.” The problem is with the poor judgment and easily-manipulated obsessions of “leaders” – not that the infiltrators did or did not do any specific action.
This frankly, is the only benefit to having mainstream media around, since we have our own media to get our messages out. We can, for example, post videos and audios of Northwest Forum speeches online, for the whole world’s edification.
Why We Will Not Invite the Press…Beyond that, the purpose of events like the Northwest Forum is not merely to disseminate ideas. After all, we could do that online without leaving the privacy of our own homes. The main purpose of the Forums is to promote face-to-face community and networking. Having speakers is simply an additional incentive to get people to come to events. Such networking and community building cannot take place at public events, where members of the press and complete strangers are free to roam about.
Networking and community cannot take place either at private meetings where every other attendee is an infiltrator.
Public events are a way of combating a false sense of security about doxing. But the best way to do that is to give people a real sense of security by establishing better vetting. Thus, going forward, Northwest Forum events will be for a closed circle of highly vetted people. No more aliases. No more loose vetting and vouching. The people who are continuing the Forum all know one another’s real names and addresses. If you want to join that circle, you will have to:
pay for a background check to verify your identity
present picture ID to register
And don’t forget your Swedish passport for immediate admittance, no vetting required. Cephalic index measurements optional.
And, how about some transparency on your part? Who is going to have access to this personal information? Greg Johnson? Patrik Hermansson? Who? Who is going to be responsible if something goes wrong?
Should we have had these sorts of procedures in place from the beginning? No, for the simple reason that the Forums never would have gotten off the ground.
Absolute bullshit. No, you could have gotten the Forums “off the ground” with a very small circle of highly trusted people – like you are suggesting now after the fact! – and slowly built it up over time. You could have built up trust by running successful and non-infiltrated meetings. Johnson argues here that AFTER he has botched the meetings by allowing the infiltrations, NOW is the time to tell people to reveal their personal information to leaders who have lost the confidence of activists by repeated bouts of bad judgment. He’s got the entire order of things reversed. Better to have a successful private meeting with three people, then “off-the-ground” forums publicly infiltrated and subverted. Over time, the three could have become six, then twelve, then thirty, then sixty. You don’t first allow infiltrations and expose yourself to public ridicule from the likes of Hermansson and Lewis and then turn around and say, “hey after all our successes, now you guys have to prove your identity.” Madness. Madness.
Still, we managed to have three very successful meetings
”Very successful.“ Madness. Sheer madness. Is being delusional sufficient grounds for being dismissed as leadership material?
…even with loose vetting, and those meetings formed the basis for ongoing real-world relationships, which created a desire to continue the Forums and a willingness to adopt stricter vetting going forward.
That self-serving mendacity is beyond disgraceful.
The Northwest Forum will continue as a private event. We will not seek publicity. Who attends and what is said will be off the record, although we will continue to record some of the presentations for future release with the permission of the speakers. We will do our best to keep away journalists and other antifa, but please bear in mind that no vetting is foolproof, and no real-world meeting is without risk.
No vetting is foolproof, but it would help if there are vetting criteria other than “are you Swedish?’ or “are you a movie critic?” or “are you someone’s girlfriend?”
If you wish to be invited to future Northwest Forum events, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The next Northwest Forum will be held in Western Washington on Saturday, March 24, from noon to 5 pm. The speakers include Greg Johnson, James Allsup, Matt Flavel, and C. B. Robertson. I hope to see you there.
Is there a reason to announce any of this information in advance? After the fact, you can discuss the wonders of your super-secret meeting, particularly if you have more genuine attendees than infiltrators this time. But why give out any information on a public forum in advance? Where’s the percentage in that?
I need to stress this point: it is the judgment not the outcome that is the issue here. To better illustrate this point, let us consider two scenarios:
Scenario A. John Doe organizes a private racialist conference. Doe does everything right and has air-tight security at the meeting, couldn’t have done it better. The keynote speaker is an internationally known and respected racialist activist, Jared Spencer Johnson, who has been a leading figure in “movement” circles for almost 30 years. Johnson later mingles with the crowd, recruits people to join his organization, gets subscription information for his journal, and is accepted into the local activist community. Later, it is revealed that Jared Spencer Johnson is a mole, a deep-cover infiltrator into racial nationalism, supported and funded at the highest levels, who now takes all his information and connections and uses those to wreck the “movement” and specifically to wreck John Doe’s local group.
Scenario B. John Doe organizes a private racialist conference using piss-poor judgment, laughable “operational security, and does almost everything wrong. A comically inept infiltrator, Nordrik Swedensson, is welcomed into the local group with no vetting at all; later Swedensson comes out as an infiltrator and writes a tawdry “tell-all” piece about his time with the local group. In the end, no lasting damage is done.
Obviously, the outcome of A is much worse than that of B. Equally obviously, A does not really reflect badly on John Doe’s judgment – after all, if Jared Spencer Johnson is a mole, anyone could be. At that level of deception, worthy of a Le Carre spy novel, Doe cannot realistically be blamed for the outcome. However, in B, Doe’s behavior and lack of judgment demands censure, and the fact that the outcome was better than in A was due purely to luck and circumstances.
By the way, in Scenario A, one could speculate that Jared Spencer Johnson was allowed to infiltrate and worm his way to the top in the first place because of the bad judgment of other people decades in the past. So, yes, some people are responsible for Scenario A, just not John Doe.