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Friberg Falls Back

[1]4,327 words

Most people being exposed to Friberggate through the articles now appearing on Counter-Currents and AltRight are hearing isolated snippets and pieces of the story out of sequence. I’d like to provide something that might work as a reasonably thorough chronological account that places all these pieces in context. 

When this controversy first broke, the story was that Greg Johnson intervened with the organizers of the Scandza Forum to have Daniel Friberg disinvited from the event.

Greg, for his part, maintained that Daniel had simply never been invited at all.

Then the Scandza Forum organizers finally put out a statement which said this [2]:

Scandza Forum hosted a successful and well attended event this past Saturday (20.05) and we are very pleased with the outcome. Regarding some of the rumours surrounding the event, we can confirm that the event was invitation only (anyone can register a wish to attend, but the organizers have the final say on who gets an invitation), and no one who received an invitation was turned away. It is regrettable that some parties feel slighted for not receiving an invitation, but sometimes organizers have to make tough decisions, out of respect for the individuals involved, in order to preserve the goal-oriented integrity of an event such as this. Any personal differences that may exist between affected parties are, however, only a matter of private discussion.

The Scandza Forum organizers

So I subsequently wrote on social media that I thought Greg had been “vindicated on Scandzagate.”

Now, up to this point, this single small-scale private status post was as far as I ever planned to get myself embroiled in any of this kind of controversy at all. Subsequent events have convinced me that speaking out now is the best course of action for me to take.

First of all, Daniel Friberg promptly appeared in the thread to accuse me of “shilling for my employer.” I’ll admit: for the first time since all of this broke, this attack made me start to feel personally invested in seeing Daniel’s accusations towards Greg publicly cleared, because I don’t take accusations that I’m speaking disingenuously lightly. I found this extremely presumptuous, because I would never “shill” for anyone. I can be friends with anyone who disputes my facts, but making assumptions about my motives isn’t the way to reach my good side. It suggested a lot to me about Daniel’s character under pressure that he would leap to a malicious assumption like this one over a status post which was liked by less than a mere dozen people and which said nothing more than that I personally “thought Greg had been vindicated.” Note that I currently keep less than 1000 friends on Facebook.

Daniel then made the claim to me directly that this controversy was never about who had or hadn’t been invited to Scandza. To excerpt directly from that conversation, he said: “The thing is that we never even made an issue of the very minor detail of me being disinvited.” (Again, he was not “disinvited.” He was never invited in the first place.)

[3]

To this, I replied with a restatement looking for absolute clarity: “So the matter of what actually happened at Scandza itself hasn’t even been the point of any of this, all along?”

And to that he replied: “Exactly.”

But I could more than easily look for myself and see him making quite an issue out of it right there on the public record just a short period of time before [4]. Notice how, in this comment [4], Daniel claims that “to say that [he] was never invited is simply a lie and a poor attempt at damage control to protect Greg’s reputation” . . . but then insists he doesn’t want to focus on the matter any further. Given that we now know beyond all doubt that the lie here was unequivocally Daniel’s, this attempt to seal the matter from further discussion after leveling the accusation looks very convenient.

After all, we now have an official statement from Omar Filmersson [5]—the very Scandza organizer Daniel communicated with over whether or not he would receive an invitation to Scandza—backing up the claim that he did in fact make a very big deal out of the invitation.

And this is, in fact, what originated this entire dispute.

So at this point, Daniel was both attacking my character for expressing my personal opinion in a private post, and lying blatantly and directly and personally to me.

[6]

Now, allow me to step back for a moment.

When I wrote this status post, I already knew that Omar Filmersson was likely to publish his account of events which directly refuted Daniel’s slander against Greg. I already knew that the Scandza organizers had publicly released the statement mentioned above refuting Daniel’s claim that Greg had had him disinvited (as they made clear in that statement: no one was disinvited for any reason). And I knew several other things besides. I refrained from spilling them into this thread (a) because I saw it as Greg’s issue to handle as he chose, first of all; and (b) because I didn’t want to get sucked into the drama myself. I just wanted to note my developing thoughts and move on. So all I did was vaguely express my personal conclusion in a small, contained outlet. And then Friberg entered the thread to attack me and lie.

Now, the opposing side’s narrative claims that Greg should be ostracized from the movement at large because he simply creates drama out of whole cloth against anyone he perceives as a competitor. So it’s worth recapping how this began. Did Greg start this controversy?

No.

The entire conversation began on the TRS Forums because someone there asked the following: “Did Greg really make a move banning Friberg on his home turf? If so, on what grounds were the organizers okay with a guy like Greg blacklisting attendees?”

So not only did Friberg level the original dishonest accusations that started this whole mess, it was also people who were left asking questions about what was true because of those accusations—not Greg—who introduced the matter into the TRS Forums themselves.

Now, the TRS Forum is a relatively private affair. Until recently, it was visible only to members, and as far as Greg knew, it still was when he commented there on Friberggate. (I had not heard the forum had gone public either until after Friberggate struck.) While the TRS Forum may have a wide reach when measured in clicks and views, the audience is fairly restricted to people who already have a personal, vested interest in the inner workings of the movement. Actual outsiders don’t end up with invitations to the Forum. No one who is reading the Forum is going to have his perceptions shaped by this being his first-ever encounter with this kind of infighting.

So the discussion began on the TRS Forum—and it should have stayed there.

Because none of this is true for a site like Counter-Currents . . . or for a site like AltRight. These websites are designed not just to preach to the already interested choir, but to draw in newcomers and recruit new people into the choir. And it was AltRight that decided to go public with this issue first, in an attack article dated June 1st. So it is thanks to the decision to take this outside of Forum and into open websites that many are now being exposed to this drama for the very first time—perhaps even including you, currently reading this very article.

But that decision was AltRight’s, not ours.

So we can see that:

1. Daniel Friberg initiated this drama by leveling false accusations over Scandza;

2. This topic was only ever first raised in any form beyond private conversation whatsoever because false allegations originating from Daniel Friberg were reaching people and making them ask questions to try to clear things up; and

3. It was then made truly public through being published on a website which unlike the Forum is viewed by the public at large—many of whom would only be hearing about the matter for the first time, with no background knowledge or previous exposure to it at all—by Spencer and Friberg at AltRight on June 1st.

So, what should we have done in this situation?

Personally, I would have remained silent for the sake of maintaining as many alliances as possible, but then the opposing side of this drama was gaining enough traction to start burning my bridges to them whether I chose to speak up in Greg’s defense and risk burning those bridges myself or not. For instance, I was preemptively banned from the TRS Forum after this controversy broke over my associations with Counter-Currents, even though I was not a regular commentor, and certainly not one with any reputation for fanning the flames of these kinds of dramas (I did speak up a couple of times in threads in an even smaller related private group, when and only when others broached the topic first, and only in response to what I considered to be verifiably false claims about the matter from other participants).

In my personal thread discussing my belief that Greg had been vindicated by Scandza’s official statement, I stated my position that I thought it unfair to accuse Greg of drama-mongering because I personally knew that even after the original attack article from AltRight, Greg was still strongly considering giving the whole incident a pass and not publishing anything on it at all.

A response from a critic which garnered Friberg’s likes? “Make shit up then run away when called on it. . . . Par for the course.”

So, had we remained silent, Greg would have been seen as a coward, and many would come away believing AltRight’s account of events by default, and left to assume he had been refuted into silence. And should we now continue to stage a public defense of our position, some will see us as fanning the flames of further drama. Like it or not, we’ve been thrust into a position in which either direction carries significant downsides, and it will simply be impossible to make everyone happy no matter how we respond.

The reason this balance shifted in favor of going public with our response is because, after rumors originating from Friberg reached the TRS Forum and started the original chain of events, it was Friberg’s side which then decided to escalate the matter further on a public website.

And the demand in that first article was that Greg “must either present evidence supporting [his] allegations or retract them and apologize.”

Well, considering that there was in fact evidence supporting his allegations, it wouldn’t exactly make sense to retract them and apologize in the equally unrelated open public website that is Counter-Currents now, would it?

Anyone who wants to condemn Counter-Currents for publicly responding to this matter should condemn AltRight even more harshly for publicly demanding that Counter-Currents respond. Because if they hadn’t done so there, we wouldn’t have felt the need to do this here.

Any intelligent person should, of course, find all of this quite tiresome. All this back and forth over who invited or didn’t invite or disinvited who sounds like Mean Girls high school birthday party drama. But it simply needs to be made very clear that that drama was not started by Greg Johnson and Counter-Currents. It was Friberg who initiated the whole Mean Girls high school drama because he was bitter he wasn’t invited to the birthday party. And this part of the picture can no longer be credibly disputed.

Conveniently, Friberg now wants us to shift our attention away from the matter of how all of this drama came to light in the first place simply because he has no valid case left to make on that point. It was Friberg who created, and escalated, the infighting and drama almost every single step of the way.

Now, for his part, Friberg released a statement on May 28 [7] claiming that he has “no patience for needless infighting and ‘drama’ and will not respond to further online provocations.”

This would have been all well and good, but then he proceeded to invite Greg to Starbucks for coffee and make a big show of Greg’s not taking him up on the offer [8] (drama! which Greg for his part merely passively avoided becoming further entangled in—yet this did nothing to pause the malicious circle jerk which subsequently joined gleefully in the continuing drama on Friberg’s page); mock Johnson’s response article to the original AltRight article [9]which demanded Johnson give a response!—for . . . using too many words? (I don’t think it reflects well on AltRight’s base audience if they would unite over irritation at the thought of reading too much); and finally when screencaps floated around of an AltRight commentor joking that they would work as a hired assassin if Friberg needed someone to take Johnson out and Friberg upvoted it and replied “:D”—and to be clear, this wasn’t even the first instance of Friberg stooping to jokes about murdering Johnson appearing online—Greg decided it was time to dissociate himself from Friberg’s following online, and Friberg made a great big dramatic show of bragging about this as well [10].

At this point, it began to appear very clear to me that everything about Friberg’s behavior in the time following the initial break of drama was entirely fluid with Greg’s account of how Friberg had behaved originally to create the whole drama in the first place. As someone working quite closely with Greg, I had heard almost nothing about the backstory to this incident until I asked; and yet it was Friberg constantly shoving the drama back in my face. And all this after making a public statement that he would “not respond to further online provocations,” no less. Here I was working next to Greg, and I was getting sick of the drama Friberg was constantly shoving in my face, whereas I hadn’t heard a word of it from Greg that I hadn’t explicitly asked for on any occasion I could remember.

Friberg very quickly resorted to accusing me of being a “shill” for expressing my opinion that Greg had been vindicated by the official Scandza statement on my own private page, but the fact is that I chose to work with Counter-Currents over Right On and AltRight. Every time I hear the rumor pass around that Greg is merely bitter at the “competition” posed to his outlet by AltRight, I can only recall his encouraging me to contribute to RightOn.net [11]—the site that only recently migrated to become AltRight.com—back when it was smaller and still searching for new contributors in mid-2016. When I expressed that I thought these death threat “jokes” Friberg was laughing at and playing along with were “a low form of dialogue” for someone trying to lead a movement, Friberg responded: “What do you expect from a comment section?”

But it was precisely the quality of the comment section at Counter-Currents that inspired me to stay at Counter-Currents long-term after testing the waters at RightOn with the two articles I published there. And as it so happens, I’ve still yet to see anyone here make—much less Greg approve, never mind openly join along with—any jokes about decapitating Daniel.

Now, the last thing to address here is the accusations of doxing and embezzlement.

First of all, if your introduction to this subject was AltRight’s original attack article, note: there were no accusations of embezzlement. Greg was on the Forum responding to people asking about whether the Scandza organizers disinvited, or never invited, Friberg and why. Thus, he pointed out that some of Friberg’s previous associates call him “Madoff.” This works as an explanation of why the organizers did not invite Daniel (as we now know that they did not), whether Greg personally believes that Daniel was actually guilty of embezzlement or not.

Second of all, I think it is worth emphasizing the dishonesty of this shift of emphasis on the Friberg’s part once more: now that the original accusations generated by Friberg have thoroughly collapsed, he pretends that those original accusations were never the real issue at all. Thus, he shifts focus away from the origins of the entire matter in what can now unequivocally be demonstrated to be blatant lies, and onto matters that — so he claims — can’t really technically be “proven” in an unequivocally decisive way one way or another.

So again, this point bears endless repeating: if not for Friberg blatantly lying about Greg’s role in “blacklisting” him from Scandza to the point that people were asking to hear the other side, none of these other accusations would ever have surfaced at all. If not for the fact that Greg was compelled to discuss why Friberg was not invited in order to deflect false allegations made by Friberg that he had pitched a fit to have Friberg blacklisted after being invited, none of this would ever have been discussed at all.

Now, is there “proof” of the claim of doxing? Is there “evidence?” In his own article on the topic, Greg admits that he thinks his evidence does not qualify as “proof in a court of law.” But Greg is being too modest here, because circumstantial evidence is in fact legitimate in a court of law. [12] As the Wikipedia article states, “On its own, circumstantial evidence allows for more than one explanation. Different pieces of circumstantial evidence may be required, so that each corroborates the conclusions drawn from the others. Together, they may more strongly support one particular inference over another.”

Now, what are some things that would qualify as “circumstantial evidence” in an ordinary crime scene? Here’s a very well-known example: fingerprints.

Proving that a person was present at a crime scene does not directly prove that that person committed the crime. Yet, it may still be enough to acquire a conviction: to provide an extreme case, if we knew that someone had broken into a home on a given night and that no one else had entered it, and we knew that the homeowner had been murdered that very same night, we would not need any direct evidence in order to conclusively know, based solely on circumstantial evidence alone, that this intruder was guilty of murder.

As the entry also states: “It is the necessity for inference, and not the obviousness of a conclusion, that determines whether evidence is circumstantial.” At risk of coming off like a pretentious philosophy nerd, it’s still bizarre to me that anyone doesn’t understand the difference between abductive, inductive, and deductive reasoning [13] (okay, if it helps at all, I’ll admit that at least the distinction between abductive and inductive reasoning wasn’t clear to me prior to reading the Stanford Encyclopedia article just referenced). In the real world, out of necessity, we rely on abductive and inductive reasoning to draw conclusions far more than we rely on deduction [14]. Deductive “proofs” rarely exist anywhere outside of mathematics—even in criminal court rooms.

When I first heard about claims of Friberg “working with antifa,” they were worded in such a way as to seem obviously preposterous on their face. At one point, I pictured Friberg looking for any random mohawked, purple-haired, leather-studded-jacket-wearing freak on the streets so he could rattle off the names of Scandza organizers and hope to incite violence towards them. On the face of it, I immediately thought this was absurd. But as the picture became clearer, that picture mutated into something far less dramatically sinister and far more plausible.

So the situation with regards to the claim of doxing goes as follows:

1. Friberg initiated this conflict by acting maliciously and spreading blatant lies towards Greg, bitter at discovering that he wasn’t going to be invited to the Scandza Forum. This has now been confirmed as the truth beyond all reasonable doubt.

2. Friberg has ongoing contact with Mathias Wåg, including in a Swedish Facebook group [15]. If your argument is that this point doesn’t prove anything all by itself, you’re really missing the idea. Of course it doesn’t. That’s not how inferences work. The point is that this lines up with everything else to support a broader inductive argument.

[16]

“Here’s looking down at you, goyim!” Arktos CEO Daniel Friberg (left) getting chummy with Swedish antifa founder Mathias Wåg (right)

3. At the very same time Friberg’s deadline for receiving an invitation to the Scandza Forum passed and he began boycotting it as detailed in Omar Filmersson’s recent statement, Mathias Wåg released an article which both revealed the names of the Scandza organizers, and referred to Friberg as having been “disinvited” from the event. We now know that this was a lie, and that it originated from Friberg. So when Greg called this Friberg’s “fingerprint” on the article, he was being more prescient about the epistemic status of this piece of evidence than he may have realized: like a fingerprint, this is only “circumstantial” evidence, but it is also strong.

[17]

Swedish antifa founder and Friberg associate comments on Friberg’ Facebook post attacking Greg Johnson

And the best case alternative explanation for Wåg’s article that a defender of Friberg could give — indeed I think the only alternative which accords with the rest of the facts as we now unequivocally know them — is that someone close enough to Friberg to have caught wind of his original lies about Greg’s role in the Scandza Forum’s invitations—very quickly after they were made—must have been the source. As far as I can tell, this is literally the only other possibility—and yet, no one has come forward, or been suggested as the possible source by Friberg himself.

So which is more likely: that Friberg lied regarding the Scandza Forum in attempt at a Machiavellian political maneuver and engaged in other forms of sabotage against its organizers (as has been confirmed by Filmersson), and then also leaked his version of events to Wåg, someone we know he had at least a degree of contact with—or that Johnson was justified on every other publicly verifiable fact involved in this incident (as we now know that he was) and then after saying so, proceeded to invent an accusation of doxing out of absolute whole cloth, diluting a case where he was objectively and verifiably in the right on everything else with an obviously false allegation, even though the facts that could be objectively demonstrated were already damning enough on their own?

For my part, I thought that it might promise some degree of compromise and resolution that if Friberg could own up to his original actions, which I’ll repeat for the hundredth time have now been confirmed beyond doubt—lying about Greg, and attempting to undermine the Scandza Forum—I would advise Greg that I thought he should retract the statements he made about doxing just for the sake of keeping the peace, even if they were true, for the sake of the broader aim of maintaining peace and cohesion between our respective audiences, even if the situation between us became more tense as a result. At the end of the day, my position was that if Friberg was willing to own some fault and try to minimize the fallout resulting from his actions, then the ultimate aim of working together to achieve our goals out in the real world was just simply more important than anything else. If Friberg had doxed before, we would simply let those who chose to be close to him be aware of this and take whatever precautions they saw fit to. If a pattern emerged of it happening repeatedly, then we would go public with evidence in a series of cases. But if Friberg could just own up to his original actions without deflecting, this would go a long way to reassure me that it was a mistake he planned not to repeat.

Even the best people will make mistakes, and commit errors of judgment, and have moments where their egos get in the way of wider aims, and I think a realistic movement should be prepared to accept this and keep working together and pushing forward as much as humanly possible. The perfect movement, made up of perfect people, is never going to materialize in the real world. Even if you did manage to find it, you’d certainly never bring enough people into it to create a movement that can actually achieve anything at all in the real world. So even towards someone like Friberg, of whose guilt I was reasonably confident, my personal inclination would still have been to aim for reconciliation and rehabilitation.

But the more I personally saw him deny that this was ever the issue, while claiming that he would “not respond to further online provocations” while nonetheless continuing to make online provocations towards Greg and then make an even more dramatic public show of Greg’s passive decision not to respond to those very same provocations . . . and then devolve into petty jokes about assassination and dismiss me as a “shill” when I expressed that I thought that these were “a rather low form of dialogue” . . . the more I began to realize this hope was going to be utterly impossible to fulfill not because of Greg, but because of Friberg.

Barring any such hope, I’ve decided I think the best thing I can do here is what Matt Forney and Melissa Mészáros did for Daniel Friberg: show that there are also relatively independent parties[1] willing to stand up for the character and integrity of Greg Johnson in this matter as well.

Note

1. I write for Counter-Currents, but this is by choice; I had the option to migrate to any of these other sites, and after testing the waters, I voluntarily chose not to. Meanwhile, I have no personal biases against Friberg or anyone else involved in any of this controversy except those which I’ve made explicit within this very piece.