Private intelligence outlet Bellingcat is planning a US government backed “anti-fascist” information war against right-wing political activists in Eastern Europe, according to a wanted ad on their website.
The program, titled the Anti-Equality Monitoring Project, will focus on the following nations: Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Ukraine.
Bellingcat, which is funded by the CIA front known as National Endowment for Democracy (NED), mimics Julian Assange’s Wikileaks in style and methods, but functions purely to advance US intelligence operations around the world.
According to the Bellingcat Monitoring recruitment ad, groups espousing nationalist, anti-LGBT, and anti-feminist beliefs in Eastern Europe are not sufficiently attacked or surveilled locally, so they will be picking up the slack.
Fit with an origin story and fawning astroturfed media coverage, the US and British governments have been eager to promote their “private spies” at Bellingcat as idealistic and innovative Millennial internet sleuths.
They have been largely unsuccessful in selling this image. The organization has been widely panned by both the anti-war left and the right as a government disinformation outfit.
In one stark example, last year Bellingcat was forced to apologize to respected British intellectual Peter Hitchens, who they targeted in a coordinated defamation campaign for questioning the Douma chemical attack story that neo-conservatives were trying to use as an excuse for military intervention in Syria. Bellingcat held that the attack was real and that all those who disagreed were nefarious Kremlin trolls. They received a black eye when whistleblowers at the OPCW later testified that their Assad gas attack report was indeed a contrived fraud.
In most of Eastern Europe, American style “Antifa” groups do not hold much sway and are often heavily outnumbered in the street. Sources in Serbia have told National Justice that self-described journalists from the United States have been trying to help organize “Antifa” groups to use as a bludgeon against nationalists in their country for a few years now.
It is clear that like Black Lives Matter, “Antifa” style activism is a tool of US government soft power. Governments in Eastern Europe have a duty to protect their citizens from malicious foreign espionage regardless of their beliefs, but it remains to be seen if they will.