Monday Sep 28, 2020
Monday Sep 28, 2020
On this edition of Parallax Views, we revisit the subject of Steve Bannon, who was recently arrested along with his business partners Andrew Badolato, Brian Kolfage, and Timothy Shea were arrested on charges related to fraudulent skullduggery in relation to their "We Build the Wall" campaign. In this conversation we turn away from the legal controversies to discuss the ideas that undergird Bannon's thinking. Many journalists, including previous Parallax Views guest Jean Guerrero, believe that Bannon is a bit of an empty shell intellectually. Which is to say that he is less an ideologue than a conman or a grifter. Our guest on this edition of the program, however, Prof. Benjamin R. Teiltelbaum, author of War for Eternity: Inside Bannon's Far-Right Circle of Global Power Brokers, argues otherwise. Teitelbaum makes the case that Bannon, who he conducted 21 hours of interviews with for the book, is influenced by a radical right-wing spiritual/political ideology known as Traditionalism. This would put Bannon in line with such strange thinkers today as Brazil's Olavo de Carvalho and Russia's Alexander Dugin, as well as past thinkers like the Perennialism Rene Guenon and the self-described "Super-Fascist" Julius Evola (who, during the WWII era criticized the Nazis from the RIGHT; in other words, he didn't see them as going far enough in their aims). These thinkers, says Teitelbaum, believe in a cyclical vision of history and time. They believe, he argues, that the Progressive vision of history has led us to a Dark Age, or what the Hindu faith knows as the Kali Yuga, and that, eventually, this age will overturned... either naturally or by force. Put country simple, the radical Traditionalists in War for Eternity are seeking a rollback of modernity.
In addition to covering how all these thinkers connect with Bannon we also cover, briefly, how War for Eternity led Teitelbaum down a strange path investigating a private intelligence firm known as Jellyfish. One of the company's leaders, Michael Bagley, was interested in a project of building micro-cities for refugees, but was busted by the FBI after allegedly seeking to work with Mexican drug cartels like the Sinaloa cartel. Bagley and Jellyfish, which it should be noted was co-founded by a number of figures involved with Blackwater, it turns out had tie into the story of the "Alt Right" and attempts to start something called "Alt Right Corporation" with far-right personalities Richard Spencer, Daniel Frieberg, Henrik Palmgren of Red Ice, and Jason Reza Jorjani. Jorjani, who was seeking to influence the Trump administration to form alliances with Iranian ultra-nationalists, came to believe that Jellyfish was part of an intelligence operation. One of Teitelbaum's anti-fascist sources, it turns out, was also spooked by some things he found out about Jellyfish. With that in mind is there more to this story than Jorjani potentially having sour grapes? Teitelbaum weighs in on this matter later on in the conversation.