* Ran the website Antiwar.com
* Presented the Ba’athist party-states in Iraq and Syria as victims of the malicious West
* Stated that September 11 was “an enormous defeat for the U.S.,” and thus the source of President Bush’s alleged “fascism”
* Believed that the Great Satan was America, and the Little Satan was Israel
* Author of The Terror Enigma, a pamphlet insinuating that the Israeli government had prior knowledge of 9/11 but failed to warn U.S. authorities
* Died on June 27, 2019
Born on November 18, 1951 in White Plains, New York, Dennis “Justin” Raimondo was a minor celebrity in the U.S., thanks to a 10-year career as an amateur demagogue in the libertarian milieu of the San Francisco Bay Area. He posed as a conservative but ran a website, “Antiwar.com,” that featured anti-Americans like Noam Chomsky and was hugely popular with the left – not surprisingly since it viewed America as an incipient fascist state.
Raimondo was a confused and confusing person, who sought to be the master of the confusion he creates. Born plain Dennis on November 18, 1951 in White Plains, New York, he renamed himself Justin while attending the Cherry Lawn School, a defunct prep school in Darien, Conn., from which he graduated in 1970.
Raimondo unquestionably encompassed many contradictions. He featured a photo of himself on his website with a cigarette dangling from his mouth, in a fey (and failed) pose as an homme fatale. He was flamboyantly gay, but promoted himself as a Buchananite conservative and was in fact Buchanan’s San Francisco campaign spokesman during the “culture war” that other gays took personally, many elections ago. The entire package was deceitful, and it was a calculated deceit.
The movement that Raimondo cobbled out of opponents of the Iraq war, who were drawn into his site, was unabashedly fascist. Raimondo personified an American “red-brown” alliance, like the one that had surfaced briefly in the 1930s when Communists and Nazis combined forces to bring down the Weimar Republic. This alliance was revived after the fall of Russian Communism, when Stalinists and fascists around the world united on an old platform – war against the Jews.
Raimondo’s own understanding of fascism – a word he himself threw carelessly around when defaming political enemies and disarming potential critics — was utterly superficial. In a preposterous column titled “A Fascist America,” (March 3, 2005), he defined fascism as follows:
1) “The idealization of the State as the embodiment of an all-powerful national will or spirit;
2) “The leader principle, which personifies the national will in the holder of a political office (whether democratically elected or otherwise is largely a matter of style);
3) “The doctrine of militarism, which bases an entire legal and economic system on war and preparations for war.”
Of course. applied to America this was absurd. Outside the neo-Nazi fringe, no Americans, least of all Republicans, idealized the state. The “leader principle” was not only not in evidence, it was almost absent in a political season when the President was attacked more viciously than any chief executive in memory; and it was pretty difficult to refer to American “militarism” when the country’s security rested on a military that is voluntary and under attack. In the same column, while attempting to draw a parallel between opponents of the anti-war crowd and fascists, Raimondo even loaned credibility to Hitler’s fairy tale that the Nazi seizure of power was a response to “the imminent danger of Communist revolution” – a particularly absurd assertion since the Communists actively colluded with the Nazis in their attacks on Weimar’s democracy and passively supported Hitler’s accession to power.
In an attempt to smear America even further (as if that would be possible), Raimondo threw in Augusto Pinochet, the left’s favourite example of an American puppet. But Pinochet never idealized the Chilean state, or promoted a cult of himself as a leader, or prepared for war or waged war against any foreign country, as required by Raimondo’s fascist model. Pinochet even organized a democratic referendum that removed him from power. Indeed, Pinochet was no more than a typical, short-term military dictator of a type seen all over Latin America, bereft of charisma or serious ideology. His rise to power was the consequence of historical accidents, not of ideology or mass mobilization, and he left behind a thriving democracy.
Raimondo attempted to become a Republican leader in San Francisco but was quickly dumped after boring the small party group in that city with his pretensions and diatribes. He took over a new conservative tabloid in San Francisco and soon put it out of business by turning every front page into a showcase for headlines about himself. About these ventures, Raimondo wrote: “National Review was my bible as a teenager, and I actively campaigned for Barry Goldwater for President in 1964. From there I joined Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), and then founded my own youth group, ‘Young Radicals for Capitalism.’ We had a huge chapter at Wayne State University, and put out a single issue of a magazine, The New Radical, that was filled with denunciations of the New Left. From there I joined the Libertarian Party [LP] during the presidential campaign of Roger MacBride (1976) and subsequently ran for office (Congress, state legislature, etc.) several times in California under the LP banner. I left the LP in 1983.”
Raimondo always wanted to be considered an author and journalist, no less than a political figure. At about 13 or so, he seemed to have imagined himself as a science fictioneer. But he never had the discipline or stamina to apply himself to any profession aside from that of absurdist publicity hound. He failed as a journalist and political commentator, exactly as Hitler had failed as a painter, as Mussolini had failed as a socialist leader, and as the most notorious fascist of the left, Fidel Castro, had failed as a lawyer.
Like his models, Raimondo never engaged intellectually with opponents, but relied on invective, insults, and innuendo. Notwithstanding his bizarre and vulnerable persona as a gay Buchananite, he gloried in violating the privacy of others. He was obsessed with exposing neoconservatives as “Trotskyites,” a largely spurious claim, since the most famous example among the original neoconservatives, Irving Kristol, was a Trotskyist for only a year, many decades earlier, and only a handful of more recent ex-leftists – almost entirely ex-Democrats – were leading neo-conservatives.
The psychological term for Raimondo’s posturing is “projection.” He was obsessed with rooting out alleged political, ideological, and even religious chameleons, with the unconscious intent of advertising his own political transvestism. This pattern was evident in all his activities: he claimed that America was becoming a dictatorship, the better to justify his own ambitions for power. He defended the establishment media against criticism by conservative weblog authors, although without the rise of the “blogs” he would have been nothing. Until the launch of Buchanan’sAmerican Conservative, his only place of publication was the paleo-conservative Chronicles.
Posed as a war-hater, Raimondo defended murderous dictators like Milosevic, he presented the Ba’athist party-states in Iraq and Syria as victims of the malicious West, and he openly wished that Japan had won the Second World War, while fiercely alleging his patriotic motivations. When it came to America’s later wars, he reveled in defeatism. The heinous attacks on America on 9/11 became for him an explanation of American “fascism.”
Taking a leaf from his comic-book canon of political wisdom, Raimondo described fascism as a product of “the traumatic humbling of a power once considered mighty.” He cited Germany’s defeat in the First World War, while ignoring the fact that Italy, where fascism originated, was a victor in that war, as was the third Axis power, Japan. Perhaps this omission could be ascribed to the fact that Raimondo idolized Japan, which was at the height of its power when it attacked Pearl Harbor. As he wrote in an article titled “Hiroshima Mon Amour: Why Americans Are Barbarians”– posted to his website on August 8, 2001 — “the idea that America is, in any sense, a civilized country is easily dispelled.” By contrast, imperialist Japan, which slaughtered millions in East Asia, was his idea of paradise. Raimondo believed that “the wrong side won the war in the Pacific.”
The upshot of Raimondo’s mishmash was his charge that September 11 was “an enormous defeat for the U.S.,” and thus the source of President Bush’s fascism. Many fascist movements have been expansionist and imperialist, but others were historically known for their promotion of disaffection and demoralization, such as those in France and England before the Second World War, and the isolationist legion in America at the same time, which Raimondo sought to revive. The Rosetta Stone of his philosophy was Buchanan’s idea of the betrayed “American republic” – an ahistorical trope which echoed prior fascist movements.
Classic fascism has other characteristics that resonated in Raimondo’s agendas. He was a fanatical rumormonger, asserting that U.S. war plans against Syria and Iran were nearly operational, while Bush administration policies toward these states were notably circumspect. He was among the most active disseminators of the legend that an innocuous document titled “A Clean Break,” having to do with Israeli foreign policy, was actually a blueprint for the invasion of Iraq.
One of Raimondo’s favorite tricks was the mendacious use of hyperlinks, giving the impression that his statements were backed by other sources. Those were usually his own articles, immodestly declared by him to be “classics,” which in fact had little or nothing to do with his latest writings, but merely led to more lies and falsehoods through more links. This, too, was not original with Raimondo; it was the Chomsky method of meretricious citations.
Raimondo called Abraham Lincoln “the closest to a dictator that any American president has ever come.” A couple of days later, forgetting or ignoring that statement, he labeled President Franklin Roosevelt the “predecessor” of modern-day “fascism,” and declared that Harry Truman and Winston Churchill were also “fascist heroes.” At the same time, he tenaciously defended Milosevic – a dictator who freed no slaves – and, equally insistently, denied the occurrence of the 1995 massacre of Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica. He also defamed the Albanians and encouraged others on his site to do the same, and then denied being an apologist for Serbian war crimes. He called the Kosovars “the Shi’ites of Western Europe” – meaning, Muslim friends of America, who deserved to be slaughtered. He fervently hoped for a new war between Slavic Macedonians and Albanians, since nothing warmed his heart so much as the thought of dead Albanians except, perhaps, the dead “Zionists” buried in the Twin Towers on 9/11.
Calumny was Raimondo’s Socratic method. He referred to David Frum and Richard Perle, two intellectuals who had no governmental authority whatever, as “strutting martinets.” When author Stephen Schwartz attempted to clarify the status of Islam in Uzbekistan, an American ally, while criticizing obstacles to democracy there, Raimondo labeled him a defender of torture. He accused Schwartz of “rationalizing the same sort of regime in the U.S.” as in Uzbekistan – based, according to him, on “torturing dissidents, shutting out all political opposition, and arresting thousands on account of their political and religious convictions.”
In a column titled “The Specter of Fascism,” dated March 9, 2005, the Raimondian style of revisionist history was in full display. In a single paragraph, he referred to the leftist New York tabloid PM, published in the late 1930s and 1940s, as “Communist Party-controlled,” which would certainly have come as a surprise to Arnold Beichman, a long-serving anti-Communist and former leading editor of the paper. PM was famous as a battleground where Stalinists and anti-Stalinists fought for influence, but was never under Communist control. For one thing, unlike the real Communist press, such as the Daily Worker, PM did not promote an “antiwar” alliance during the Stalin-Hitler pact with the Nazis, of the kind Raimondo wished to revive – which was why PM, a newspaper that had gone out of business in 1948, still provoked Raimondista rage. Raimondo insisted that PM’s identification of pre-1941 isolationists as a “fifth column,” was “scurrilous and untrue.” He was wrong. Calling the pro-Axis rabble in America at that time a “fifth column” was accurate reporting.
Sometimes Raimondo posted the words of other leftwing fascists, to allow them to do his slandering for him. He did this with Kevin Keating, infamous for hoisting a banner during anti-Iraq War demonstrations in San Francisco that read: “We Support Our Troops When They Shoot Their Officers.” If a critic of Saudi Arabia’s support for Wahhabism entered Raimondo’s sights, he accused the critic of fomenting war against the Kingdom. In fact, Raimondo insisted that neo-conservatives in the U.S. government were actually preparing military action against the Saudis in the early 2000s. Raimondo’s protective attitudes towards the Saudis derived perhaps from the fact he and the Saudi princes shared a commitment to the fable of “Zionist” involvement in 9/11.
For Raimondo, the Great Satan was America, and the Little Satan was Israel. He wrote a a pamphlet — issued by a vanity press — called The Terror Enigma, which was a kind of Protocols of the Elders of Zion for the War on Terror. Raimondo’s tract insinuated, with no serious evidence, that the Israeli government had prior knowledge of 9/11 but failed to warn American authorities; that because an Israeli lived in the same neighborhood as a 9/11 conspirator they were naturally complicit; that Israelis selling art on the streets of the U.S. were actually big-time spies engaged in undermining the American government; and that Israel was involved in colluding on 9/11 with the Bush administration.
On October 29, 2004 Raimondo wrote a piece under the headline, “Bush and [Senator John] Kerry Put Israel First.” It claimed that: (a) “the Jewish state keeps an entire people captive in the twin concentration camps of Gaza and the West Bank,” and (b) “the Israelis love to torture and berate [Yasir Arafat] far too much to let him die a natural death.” Referring to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Raimondo wrote, “one needn’t refer to fiction when the relevant facts are so readily available.” (In other words, the Protocols may have been fake, but they told the truth.) According to Raimondo, “Today, the word ‘fascist’ is the political equivalent of the ‘f’-word, rendered virtually meaningless on account of its degeneration into pure epithet. Yet, Israel in its present trajectory fits the classic definition of fascism.” He also wrote: “Israel, far from being our faithful ally, is potentially an enemy.”
Almost as intense as his hatred for the Jewish state was Raimondo’s loathing of democracy. Some may have been taken aback by the volume of his bile when he denounced the “orange revolution” in Ukraine as well as the current democratizing efforts in Lebanon. But not those who had followed Raimondo’s prominent association with the Russian Jew-baiting website, Pravda.ru, and its American contributor, the neo-Nazi Bill White.
White followed the predictable career of neo-Nazi agitators. He was a Jew-hater and a compulsive liar, frequently inventing “facts” about those whom he targeted. Posing as a “libertarian socialist” with a site at www.overthrow.com, he distinguished himself by hailing the murder of the family of a judge in Chicago who had the temerity to order payment of a fine by a neo-Nazi leader. The Roanoke Times reported on March 3, 2005: “As authorities investigate the killings of a federal judge’s family in Chicago, a Roanoke white supremacist on Wednesday applauded the murders as justified violence against Jews and the federal government. ‘I don’t feel bad that Judge [Joan Humphrey] Lefkow’s family was murdered,’ William A. White, editor of The Libertarian Socialist News, wrote in an essay Tuesday on his Web site, Overthrow.com. ‘In fact, when I heard the story, I laughed. Good for them! was my first thought.’”
Dennis Raimondo and Bill White were eager contributors to the Pravda.ru site. And articles by both were widely recirculated by the Saudi-funded Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
Raimondo’s website consistently published propaganda generated by Randall (Ismail) Royer, a former CAIR employee who had been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison because of his terrorist activities. One of Royer’s associates, Ahmad Omar Abu Ali, was charged with plotting to assassinate President George W. Bush in collaboration with al-Qaeda. Before his arrest, Royer had distinguished himself with a campaign to harass and intimidate critics of the jihadists in the Washington region. Raimondo gleefully recycled Royer’s Jew-baiting rants on his website. CAIR, which employed Royer, joined in the campaign by redistributing the Raimondo screeds. CAIR also disseminated the neo-Nazi propaganda of Bill White.
Raimondo, CAIR, Royer, Abu Ali, White, and Keating all sought to silence the critics of Islamist extremism and intimidate the supporters of America’s leadership in the global war on terror. Of that leadership, Raimondo wrote to George W. Bush: “Go Fuck Yourself, Mr. President.” (November 26, 2003).
On his Antiwar.com website, Raimondo wrote in August 2005: “The invasion of Iraq was itself a great diversion, in that it had nothing to do with the alleged attempt to crush al-Qaeda. Instead, it had everything to do with the preconceived agenda leading neocons took with them to Washington when they were brought in by the Bush administration to run American foreign policy. They hijacked that policy to engage in an ideology-driven adventure, one that – having achieved, like so many government programs, the exact opposite of its stated intention – is ending in bloodstained tragedy.”
Raimondo died on June 27, 2019, in Sebastopol, California.
NOTE: This profile is adapted from the article “Justin Raimondo: An American Neo-Fascist,” written by Stephen Schwartz and published by FrontPage Magazine.com on March 15, 2005.