In 2008, Harvard Law professor Cass Sunstein called for the government to implement “cognitive infiltration of the groups that produce conspiracy theories,” because what could go wrong when the taxpayers subsidize crackpottery? In 2009, Mr. Sunstein was made White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Mrs. Sunstein, Samantha Power, is the current UN Ambassador.
Russian history is full of antigovernment protestors and rebels who were also collecting a stipend from the secret police, such as Georgy Gapon, who led the tragic Bloody Sunday march of 1905. In 1911, the statesman Pyotr Stolypin, who as prime minister had worked to build a landowning conservative peasantry, was assassinated by a revolutionary who was also an agent of the Czar’s Okhrana.
Late Czarist Russia was a perplexing fun house of government-subsidized revolutionaries. For example, the head of the Social Revolutionary party’s Terrorist Brigade, Yevno Azef, is believed to have ordered the murder of his own paymaster, the minister of the interior, and later the Czar’s uncle.
In 1995 Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of the Labor Party was assassinated by a Jewish right-wing religious extremist named Yigal Amir.
That’s all I remembered of the story, but a reader points out that the assassin had been befriended and encouraged by Avishai Raviv, who had made himself into the face of rightist extremism in Israel. However, Raviv was actually an informant employed by Shin Bet, the Israeli internal security service. Raviv had a long history of mediagenic religious extremist acts that we know now were false flag operations paid for by Labor-run Shin Bet.
When Likud got back into power, they put Raviv on trial. The New York Times headlined in 1999, “Ex-Undercover Agent Charged as a Link in Rabin Killing”:
Israel charged a former undercover agent and right-wing radical today with failing to prevent the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by a Jewish hard-liner. The former agent, Avishai Raviv, who had been an informer in the ranks of the militant right for the Shin Bet security service, was also charged with conspiracy and ‘‘support for a terrorist organization,’’ the right-wing group Eyal, which he founded and led….Mr. Raviv was present at the peace rally in Tel Aviv where Mr. Amir shot Mr. Rabin twice in the back at point-blank range….Stung by allegations that they had fostered an air of incitement that led to the killing, some rightists have accused the Shin Bet of having orchestrated the assassination and the Government of whitewashing a link between Mr. Raviv and Mr. Amir’s actions.
Raviv was eventually acquitted on the grounds that, well, sure, he had told his bosses at Shin Bet that he had known that Amir was going to murder the prime minister, but how can you believe some treacherous agent provocateur whose entire public life is a lie when he privately admits culpability? Or, as Haaretz more elegantly explained the judicial reasoning behind Raviv’s 2003 acquittal:
Judges Amnon Cohen, Aryeh Romanov and Orit Efal-Gabai said their decision was partly based on testimony given by Raviv, whom they referred to as “a weak person…who wanted to be liked” by his Shin Bet controllers, and therefore told them after the assassination that he had heard Amir bragging about his plans to kill Rabin.
Some on the Zionist right continue to view Rabin’s assassination as more or less of a false flag operation mounted by another element within the Labor Party. But that’s way out of my realm.
Another reader writes with a mind-warping suggestion: Have you noticed that the leader of Ukraine’s Right Sector, Russian-speaking Dmitro Yarosh, who became ever more prominent as the battle in Kiev progressed and has loomed ever larger in Vladimir Putin’s fearmongering among Russians about the Ukrainian revolution being taken over by the far right, hasn’t had a job since he was a private in the Soviet Army in 1991? “He is so extreme, he is comical,” my reader argues. “Is the whole thing a con?”
That seems like implausible conspiracy theorizing. Yarosh himself says he gets money from the Ukrainian diaspora in the US.
That sounds like a tough way to make a living, so I’m not surprised that Yarosh is currently running for president of Ukraine. You can’t blame him. The truth is that in these hard times, government jobs aren’t bad.
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