Thursday 23rd of January 2020

exposing the loonies for 20 years...



It ain’t easy being a libertarian anti-war activist. No one trusts your motives and the scene is rife with assumption: If on the left, the heart bleeds for humanity, libertarians want to make sure no one drops blood on behalf of the state. One is selfless, while the other is selfish. Or so the metaphors go.

But for 20 years, while some anti-war movements on the left have waned and evaporated with the changing of the guard in the White House, the libertarians and self-described paleoconservatives at have endured and outlasted the suspicion and derision of the mainstream, not to mention the slings and arrows of the War Party.

They’ve outlived at least one war (Bosnia), are growing old with others (Afghanistan, Iraq), and meet each new one (Libya, Syria) with the same hard gaze and piercing reporting and commentary. has even outlasted the vitriol of its critics. David Frum—the former Bush speechwriter who coined the phrase “axis of evil”—once called co-founder Justin Raimondo an unpatriotic, self-defeating, sympathizer of terrorwhen he refused to goosestep with other conservatives behind the invasion of Iraq. Where is Frum today? After remaking himself as an establishment pundit, the Canadian-born recovering neoconservative is now furiously distancing himself from the inmates he helped take over the asylum, and chafing against any allusions to his former persona.

Meanwhile, while not rich in coin or feted among the media elite, Raimondo and co-founder Eric Garris, who conceived of the website and have been running it every day for 20 years, take satisfaction in knowing that—unlike Frum—they were right about the disastrous trajectory of the wars they opposed, and can sleep at night with a clear conscience.

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This site is devoted to the cause of non-interventionism and is read by libertarians, pacifists, leftists, "greens," and independents alike, as well as many on the Right who agree with our opposition to imperialism. Our initial project was to fight against intervention in the Balkans under the Clinton presidency. We applied the same principles to Clinton's campaigns in Haiti and Kosovo and bombings of Sudan and Afghanistan. Our politics are libertarian: our opposition to war is rooted in Randolph Bourne's concept that "War is the health of the State." With every war, America has made a "great leap" into statism, and as Bourne emphasized, "it is during war that one best understands the nature of that institution [the State]." At its core, that nature includes an ever increasing threat to individual liberty and the centralization of political power.

vale justin...

WASHINGTON — Justin Raimondo—author, activist and consummate critic of the U.S. war machine–passed away at the age of 67 on Thursday. While many of you might know him as the co-founder and prolific columnist at, he was once branded a “unpatriotic conservative” at the start of the Iraq War, and a potential “threat to national security” a year later.

For Raimondo, being called names while in the service of trying to end U.S. wars of choice was like rocket fuel. Particularly when neoconservative David Frum launched his “unpatriotic” broadside at National Review on March 24, 2003, five days after the U.S. launched what would be the most disastrous invasion of another country since Vietnam. Being accused of “appeasing the enemy” could only mean they were getting under the warmongers’ skin at a time when the rest of Washington was mobilized like lemmings for battle.

“He loved it,” said Eric Garris, who co-founded with Raimondo. Garris was his close friend and co-conspirator in dozens of political and anti-war campaigns from 1976 until his death yesterday. “Justin loved to be attacked—he viewed it usually as a badge of honor.”

Word of Raimondo’s death didn’t quite come as a surprise to people who had been following him online—they knew he had been battling cancer for two years, and his volatile presence on Twitter had dropped off to an occasional flash, then nothing, for the last few months. His penultimate column on May 3 was classic Raimondo, blasting John Bolton for saber rattling for U.S. intervention in Venezuela, and entitled “Will the Real Moron Stand Up?”


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his last column...

Will the Real Moron Please Stand Up?by  Posted on May 03, 2019

“I wonder how he goes to work every day,” says a longtime aide to John Bolton, “because deep in his heart he believes the President is a moron.”

The joke is on Bolton. Having been handed a near impossible task in overthrowing the leftist regimes of Venezuela and Nicaragua, Bolton and his little neocon cabal have been set up for failure – and Trump doesn’t like failure. When it comes to neocon foreign policy, you can reverse the Trumpism that the President adorns his speeches with: Are you tired of losing yet? 

And defeat looms large in the neocon effort to bring down Maduro.

Wednesday (May 1) was supposed to be the Day of Revolution in which the Yankee running dogs of imperialism were supposed to be defeated and run out of the country.

It didn’t happen.

Instead, one person was killed, dozens were injured and the Revolution was aborted.

Maduro is no fool: he knows that the people are not interested in being ruled by foreign masters. The same nationalist sentiment that’s sweeping the world, from France to Grand Fenwick, resists foreign “liberation” – especially coming from the Americans. The Venezuelans are not about to surrender an inch of their sovereignty even if it means a permanent lack of toilet paper.


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or else one that guarantees perpetual war...

Justin Raimondo once recalled when he first decided to support Pat Buchanan for president. It was at the 1991 California Republican convention after the start of the Persian Gulf War. For a small group of conservatives, it was the first U.S. war they had publicly opposed. Buchanan was arguably the most prominent.

A decade later, Raimondo was speaking in Long Beach, Calif., at the Reform Party’s national convention on behalf of Buchanan’s third presidential campaign. “Ladies and gentlemen, the choice before us is clear: it is either a foreign policy that puts America first, or else one that guarantees perpetual war,” he told the audience. “It is Buchananism—or barbarism. The choice is yours to make.”

Based on that election and the endless wars that would subsequently follow, it would have been easy to despair. The people chose barbarism, masked in happy talk about a humble foreign policy. Raimondo did not. By the time he was boosting Buchanan at that raucous convention in Long Beach, Raimondo was already established as an internet journalist and editorial director of the invaluable

When launched, neoconservatives and other assorted war hawks were baying for military intervention in the Balkans. For another generation of conservatives, Kosovo was the first U.S. war we had publicly opposed. That was true for my friend TAC alumni Michael Brendan Dougherty, who wrote about the experience in his chapter in the Jonah Goldberg-edited compilation Proud to Be Right: Voices of the Next Conservative Generation.

Raimondo died last week at age 67 after a long, painful struggle with cancer. His storied career covered many of the themes that gave rise to this magazine and he labored tirelessly inside the coalition that has supported TAC from the beginning, a veteran of both libertarianism—though not necessarily, he would be quick to remind you, the Beltway-approved variety—and 1990s paleoconservatism. Thus Raimondo emerged as an important voice here and contributing editor until his death.

It was the project of Raimondo’s life to try to restore an older American conservatism that was far more skeptical of war and the use of military power to shape political outcomes than it had become during the Cold War. His book Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movementwas a major contribution to that history. Buchanan, one of our founding editors, wrote the foreword. Later editions included contributions by the conservative scholar George Carey, libertarian intellectual David Gordon, and then Chronicles executive editor Scott Richert. (Raimondo was also a longtime regular contributor to Chronicles).

Like his idol Murray Rothbard, Raimondo did not forsake electoral politics for purely intellectual pursuits. An occasional Republican and Libertarian Party candidate for office himself, Raimondo was a big supporter of the Buchanan presidential campaigns—the media was frequently bewildered by the idea of a gay Buchananite, prompting Justin to tell a San Francisco newspaper in 1996, “He does not think that homosexuality is all that great a thing. But I don’t need his approval. Why does any gay person need anyone’s benediction?”—as well as Ron Paul’s. 

The last “America First” candidate Raimondo supported actually became president of the United States, defeating the Democrat he aptly labeled “Hillary the Hawk” in a 2006 TAC cover story. Raimondo was a tireless defender of Donald Trump despite disagreements within his circles prompted by Trump’s employment of hawks like John Bolton and vacillating on foreign policy. Raimondo nevertheless saw Trump as a populist with pro-peace instincts. His generation of paleocons tends to be impatient with complaints about Trump’s intellectual rigor or uncouth behavior—they remember that during that Buchanan gave them a purer, more knowledgeable and gentlemanly proponent of what came to be known as “Trumpism” and he was similarly savaged.


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a victory for antiwar...


In a major victory for, free speech and journalism, a federal appeals court has ruled that the FBI must expunge surveillance memos that agents had drafted about the website’s co-founders Eric Garris and Justin Raimondo in the early years following the 9/11 attacks.

“It’s been a long fight and I’m glad we had an outcome that could might affect future FBI behavior,” said Garris, who runs, based in the San Francisco Bay area. “I just wish Justin was still here to know that this has happened.”

Raimondo, 67, passed away in June from a long bout with cancer. He and Garris had sued the FBI in 2013 demanding it turn over all the memos and records it was keeping on the two men and the website, which has been promoting anti-interventionist news and views from a libertarian-conservative perspective since 1995. (Full disclosure, this writer was a regular columnist for beginning in 2009).

They won their case, and in 2017 the FBI agreed to turn over all the memos and settle their legal fees, $299,000, but the final expungement of two key memos involving intelligence gathered on the men and, had yet to be expunged from the agency’s record.

As this writer pointed out after the 2013 lawsuit was launched, the years following the 9/11 attacks were particularly heady for the FBI. Thanks to the Patriot Act, the federal law enforcement agency got sweeping new powers to spy on Americans, and they used those authorities with gusto, and harassing activists and journalists—even mainstream organizations like The Associated Press—became de rigueur.

It all began when an observant reader brought a heavily redacted 2004 memo to’s attention in 2011. It was part of a batch of documents the reader had obtained through FOIA requests. It was clear from the documents’ contents that the FBI had been collecting information and records on Raimondo and Garris for some time. At one point the FBI agent writing the April 30, 2004 memo on recommended further monitoring of the website in the form of opening a “preliminary investigation …to determine if [redaction] are engaging in, or have engaged in, activities which constitute a threat to national security.”

Why? Because the website was questioning U.S. war policy (for those who do not remember, if you took an anti-war position anytime between September 11, 2001 and 2004 you were considered so far Left you couldn’t see straight, or you had to be a subversive, if not a traitor to your country. It is clear from the memos the agents involved were erring toward the latter in regards to

Agents noted that had, or linked to, published counter-terrorism watch lists (already in the public domain). The FBI noted at least two of Raimondo’s columns and wondered openly, “who are (’s) contributors and what are the funds utilized for?” This, after acknowledging there was no evidence of any crime being plotted or committed.

Other things noted in the documents::

— Garris had passed along a threat he received on Sept. 12, 2001 from a reader obviously disgruntled with the website’s coverage of 9/11. The subject line read, “YOUR SITE IS GOING DOWN,” and proceeded with this missive: “Be warned assholes, ill be posting your site address to all the hack boards tonight … your site is history.”

Concerned, Garris forwarded the email to the FBI field office in San Francisco. Garris heard nothing, but by January 2002, it turned up again, completely twisted around, in a secret FBI memo entitled, “A THREAT BY GARRIS TO HACK FBI WEBSITE.”

It turns out this “threat” went on to justify, at least in part, the FBI’s ongoing interest in monitoring the website.

— The FBI took interest in Raimondo’s writing about a 2001 FBI investigation of five Israeli nationals who were witnessed smiling and celebrating and taking pictures of the burning Twin Towers from a rooftop perch across the river from Manhattan in Union City, New Jersey, on 9/11. After witnesses called the police, the individuals, who all worked for a local moving company, were taken into custody and grilled by FBI and CIA for two months after it was deemed their work visas had expired. They were eventually deported without charge.

Raimondo, in writing about the case in 2002, linked to an American-generated terror watchlist (which had been published elsewhere on the Internet) that went out to Italian financial institutions and included the name of the man who owned the New Jersey moving company in question.

— The FBI noted was cited in an article, the name of the author redacted, about U.S aid to Israel.

— They also noted that Raimondo had appeared on MSNBC to talk about his opposition to the Iraq War.

— It also cited an article that listed as a reference was handed out in 2002 at a “peaceful protest” at a British air base in the U.K.

— The FBI was watching a member of a domestic neo-Nazi group who had “discussed a website,” while encouraging fellow members at a conference to “educate themselves” about the Middle East conflict.

— The agency said a special agent’s review of hard drives seized during an investigation of an unnamed subject, revealed that the subject had visited between July 25, 2002 and June 15, 2003, “among many other websites.”

The FBI acknowledged it searched the Web, as well as Lexis-Nexis, the Universal Index (FBI central records), the agency’s Electronic Case File, Department of Motor Vehicles and Dunn & Bradsheet (credit reports) for information on and for “one or more individuals” working for the website.

Looking back, it’s hard to fathom how such tiny (Constitutionally protected) crumbs led the FBI to the conclusion that Garris and Raimondo, two dedicated activists (Raimondo was also a prolific author) with decades of time in California’s political trenches, might be a “threat to national security,” but there you are. The website, which is a non-profit and relies heavily on individual donors, lost three significant benefactors since the story broke in 2011, resulting in the lost of $75,000 a year from 2011 to 2013.

“The FBI’s surveillance has impacted our clients’ ability to maintain support for their website and has impacted their editorial choices– exactly the type of harm the First Amendment is supposed to protect against,” Julia Harumi Mass, Antiwar’s ACLU attorney at the time, told this writer in 2013.

The case decided on Wednesday revolved around two remaining memos that the FBI had so far refused to expunge. One involved the call Garris made to the FBI in 2002. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in Northern California found that the government did not have a compelling law enforcement reason to keep them.

“Maintenance of a record that describes only First Amendment activity and does not implicate national security is not pertinent to the FBI’s authorized activities,” the court concluded. “Maintenance for maintenance’s sake, without pertinent to national security or other authorized law enforcement activity, is precisely what the (Privacy) Act was intended to prevent.”

Garris said he was relieved and elated that the court was able to end this ugly chapter for the website (though the government as the right to appeal). “I would hope this precedent will help prevent the FBI from doing these things again but we know it won’t … it won’t.”

Kelley Beaucar Vlahos is Executive Editor at TAC. Follow her on Twitter @Vlahos_at_TAC



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