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November 23, 2015

“With Open Gates”: Racist Anti-Refugee Video Goes Viral

“With Open Gates: The Forced Collective Suicide of European Nations,” a virulently anti-refugee propaganda video widely circulated on the Internet has received over four million views on YouTube over the last two weeks. The video uses selective footage of African and Muslim refugees and immigrants to depict them as creating mayhem and destruction throughout Europe.

The video ends with a clip of the founder of a Jewish cultural institute in Sweden, who claims that Jews support efforts to promote multiculturalism in Europe. This segment of the video gives fuel to anti-Semites who blame Jews for non-white immigration to Europe. The statement that accompanied the posting of the video on YouTube blames “Zionist interest” for destroying Europe “from the inside.”

Still shot from "With Open Gates"

Still shot from “With Open Gates”

The clear aim of “With Open Gates” is to increase anti-immigrant and anti-refugee hysteria in Europe by painting refugees as invaders who are destroying European culture and society and pushing the continent to become a non-white majority.

The racist video originated on 8chan, a controversial Internet discussion forum whose “Politically Incorrect” subforum is notorious for racist and anti-Semitic language. A user with the screen name of Gex appears to have created the video, with some assistance from other users. The same person created an earlier video called “End Times Europe,” which uses some of the same footage.

In its first days of release, it was mostly white supremacists in Europe and North America who were extolling the video. Racists on 8chan and elsewhere worked to promote the video and gain more viewers for it. Andrew Anglin, who runs the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer site, asked his readers to make the video go viral. Jared Taylor, who runs the white supremacist website American Renaissance, also supported the video, as did two popular white supremacist forums, Vanguard News Network and Stormfront. InfoWars, an anti-government conspiracy-oriented site, also highlighted the video.

The Right Stuff, a web site that posts articles and Internet radio interviews by white supremacists, claimed that hundreds of thousands of people had viewed the video in the first 3 days after it was posted. They wrote, “If half of the people who watched this video collectively were as triggered as we were…..Thats [sic] like the largest standing army in europe.”

The video picked up steam in mainstream conservative circles after Breitbart in London featured it in a November 11 column. Breitbart reported that the video was being rapidly shared on social media including YouTube and Facebook and online message boards. The video had over a million views by the time YouTube took it down for copyright violations. However, mirror versions of the video soon appeared on social media sites in the U.S. and Europe. YouTube eventually allowed the video to be viewed again once the copyrighted music had been removed.

In the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks, the video received even more attention, particularly in more mainstream circles. Former Representative Michele Bachman encouraged people to view it, urging, “After 100 killed by Muslims, watch this video on migrants.” In addition, Washington Times contributor and radio show host Steve Deace devoted an entire column to the video. He writes disparagingly of the refugees going to Europe and says that the video shows what could be at stake in America, “if we continue to let our own cultural heritage bleed out.”

“With Open Gates” demonstrates graphically how the ideas of extremists and white supremacists can resonate with a wide audience. It also illustrates just how receptive so many people in North America and Europe are to anti-immigrant and anti-refugee fear and loathing.

 

 

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January 9, 2013

CNN Gives Platform to Conspiracy Theorist Alex Jones

On Monday, CNN aired a primetime interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on Piers Morgan Tonight. Jones’s appearance might have been an eye-opening experience for those unfamiliar with what extremists are saying, but to the extent that the interview allowed him to promote both his views and his media outlets to hundreds of thousands of new viewers, it was quite troubling.

In his initial introduction of Jones, the host, Piers Morgan, only identified him as the host of “The Alex Jones Show” and also “one of the people behind” the petition calling for Morgan to be deported for his views on the second amendment.

Jones uses his radio show and his websites, Infowars and Prison Planet, to promote a host of right-wing and anti-government conspiracy theories.

For example, in a 2011 interview with Rolling Stone, Jones commented on the shooting of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), stating “The whole thing stinks to high heaven. This kid Loughner disappeared for days at a time before the shooting? My gut tells me this was a staged mind-control operation. The government employs geometric psychological-warfare experts that know exactly how to indirectly manipulate unstable people through the media. They implanted the idea in his head by repeatedly asking, ‘Is Giffords in danger?'”

A description on Jones’s website Infowars for his film “911 The Road To Tyranny” describes how the film examines “Bill Clinton’s involvement in the Oklahoma City bombing and how it was carried out by intelligence agencies to be blamed on the right-wing.  According to the description, the film also addresses “how the FBI ordered their informants to cook the bomb and train the drivers in the first World Trade Center attack in 1993.”

Jones’s conspiracy theories, while easily dismissed as ludicrous, can influence people to take action. In August 2009, a man pleaded guilty to sending a threatening communication after he wrote a message on Infowars threatening to kill a San Francisco police officer and his family after reading a discussion about a subway shooting by a police officer in Oakland, California.

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