Propaganda exploitation of Italy neo-Nazi bust

Hagal

Italy’s Division of General Investigation & Special Operations (DIGOS) on Nov. 15 announced that it had broken up the Naples-based cell of an armed neo-Nazi network called the Order of Hagal, arresting five suspected militants. The five are being held on terrorist association and other charges. Raids were also carried out in several other cities across the country, including Milan, Turin, Palermo, Ragusa, Verona, Salerno, Potenza, Cosenza and Crotone, turning up large caches of fascist regalia. (ANSA, L’Arena, Agenzia Nova, La Repubblica, Sky TG24)

In addition to predictable swastika flags and portraits of Mussolini were a banner (or t-shirt) with the insignia of Ukraine’s Azov Battalion and a copy of¬†Valhalla Express, the¬†memoir of an Azov fighter¬†calling himself¬†Callsign Woland. Sky News also reports: “One of the members of the Order is a fugitive in Ukraine, where he had contact with the¬†Azov Battalion, engaging in the war…” The fugitive is identified as¬†Anton Radomsky,¬†and is said to be among those who had discussed a terror attack on Naples’¬†Vulcano Buono shopping mall.

This is avidly jumped on by Putin propagandist Max Blumenthal’s¬†Grayzone, under the headline: “Blowback: Italian police bust Azov-tied Nazi cell planning terror attacks.” The teaser reads: “The arrest of Italian neo-Nazis affiliated with the Ukrainian Azov Battalion highlights the terrifying potential for blowback from the Ukraine proxy war.”

The writer, Alex Rubinstein (a veteran of direct Kremlin propaganda mouthpiece RT), of course fails to mention that in the press photos where the regalia is displayed, the Azov Battalion ensign appears directly below¬†that of the¬†European Solidarity Front for Syria. This is a pro-Assad formation, and its logo includes an image of the flag of the dictatorship, which is rejected by Syria’s opposition movement. Italy’s anti-fascist Patria Indipendente¬†writes that the ESFS is a project of the Italian¬†far-right movement¬†Casa Pound.

This is hilariously ironic and reveals the deep cynicism of Blumenthal and his collaborator Rubinstein, as they are (of course) avid Assad propagandists.

We have noted before support on the radical right in Europe and America for the Assad dictatorship. That some of these sinister freaks are also rallying around the¬†Azov Battalion (which finds itself on the opposite side of the current geopolitical divide from Bashar Assad) shouldn’t be too surprising. There are far-right ultra-nationalists fighting on both sides in Ukraine, as we have noted again and again. The difference is that in Ukraine, they operate in the shadows‚ÄĒwhereas in Russia,¬†far-right ultra-nationalism holds power at the highest level.

Hat tip to Bob from Brockley who brought this little propaganda game to our attention.

Photo: IPA/Fotogramma via  Sky TG24. Fair use rights asserted.

  1. Italian court ruling on Fascist salute cheers extreme right

    Giving the Fascist salute is not a crime in Italy unless it risks sparking violence or is aimed at reviving the fascist party, the country’s Supreme Court has found, in a ruling that cheered far-right groups.¬†The high¬†court was called to review the issue following a 2016 event in Milan where eight militants were arrested for making the salute. Acquitted in an initial trial, they were found guilty when prosecutors appealed the verdict.¬†Far-rigt CasaPound¬†hailed te hig court as “an historic victory.”

    The court ruling came just 10 days after a video emerged of hundreds of men making Fascist salutes during a gathering in Rome, sparking outrage and demands for a crackdown on far-right groups. The men were taking part in an annual commemoration for three far-right activists who were killed in the 1970s, allegedly by left-wing militants. 

    The rally is held every year to commemorate the 1978 killings of three activists from the youth wing of the Italian Social Movement (MSI).¬†Two were shot by a suspected armed-left cell outside MSI headquarters on Via Acca Larentia in Rome, while the third was killed by police in riots that followed the shooting.¬†No-one was ever prosecuted for the killings, which have become widely known as the “Acca Larentia massacre.” (Reuters, BBC News)