Rebel Media made international headlines linked to the hacking of France's President. Plus there were a few unrelated arrests.
Rona Ambrose is leaving politics.
However you feel about the outgoing interim Conservative leader, you have to give her credit for one thing: denouncing the characters at Ezra Levant’s Rebel Media as “idiots.”
It’s unclear if the next Conservative leader will take the same position on the alt-right website – after all, nearly every Conservative leadership candidate has degraded themselves courting Levant’s approval.
They might want to rethink where they stand. Last time Rebel Media made headlines around the world, it was after one of their hosts released videos questioning the Holocaust and explaining why he hates Jews, earning praise from neo-Nazis and a former KKK Grand Wizard.
This time, Rebel Media is making headlines around the world after their White House correspondent found himself at the centre of the controversy following the hacking of France’s President. There were also a few unrelated arrests.
Let’s take a look at what the cast of characters at Rebel Media have been up to lately:
Washington D.C. / France
Rebel Media gets access to Sean Spicer’s White House press briefings, correspondent linked to “hashtag campaign” spreading data from hacking of France’s President
Meet Jack Posobiec.
The Rebel, Canada’s more hateful and less literate Breitbart, is now InfoWarsing the White House press briefing. https://t.co/vpbvznZK59
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) May 16, 2017
As Reuters reports, the former head of “Citizens for Trump” is Rebel Media’s new correspondent reporting from inside the Trump White House:
“Jack Posobiec, a Washington-based writer at the Rebel Media, a Canadian online political and social news commentary platform, attended the daily press briefing Tuesday and later broadcast video from the White House grounds with positive commentary on President Donald Trump’s abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey.
Posobiec told Reuters he first obtained temporary White House credentials in early April, but he has submitted a request for a permanent pass. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.”
Except only a week before showing up in the White House press room, Posobiec found himself at the centre of an international firestorm when President Emmanuel Macron was targeted by hackers on the eve of the French election.
A Washington-based foreign policy and national security think tank identified Posobiec as patient zero in a coordinated disinformation campaign targeting the French election. The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab says they “tracked the onset of the campaign to the Twitter account of Jack Posobiec, the Washington DC Bureau Chief of an obscure, alt-right website, theRebelMedia,” noting he appeared to be helped by “the use of automated bots to amplify the signal.”
Posobiec himself later told BBC News a hacker with a Latvian IP address had given him advance notice about what was coming:
“The man who popularised the data dump says he was expecting it and was poised to spread it. Fourteen minutes after the Friday leaks on 4chan, at 19:49 BST, Jack Posobiec, a journalist who writes for far-right Canadian outlet Rebel Media, posted a link to the thread to Twitter using the hashtag #MacronLeaks.
He told BBC Trending that the user with the Latvian IP address, responsible for the first anti-Macron leak, had alerted him to the upcoming dump.
“The same poster of the financial documents said to stay tuned tomorrow for a bigger story – so I pretty much spent the next 24 hours hitting refresh on the site,” he told us.”
Experts stress there is no conclusive evidence who hacked Macron, although the head of the NSA and a number of cybersecurity firms have suggested the hack may show signs consistent with hackers linked to Russian intelligence.
Posobiec later gave an interview with the conspiracy theory website InfoWars, where he alleged, without evidence, that the “elites” are feeding Macron a “mind control” drug laced with “ecstasy” and “crystal meth”:
— Mack Lamoureux (@MackLamoureux) May 9, 2017
Rebel Media’s Quebec correspondent calls American colleague « un peu bizarre »
La Presse, a prominent Quebec newspaper, followed up on remarks Posobiec made to Buzzfeed, crediting Rebel Media’s “people in Quebec” for translating Macron’s hacked e-mails.
Posobiec told La Press that Eric Duhaime, a controversial right-wing radio host and former Reform Party staffer, was “instrumental in helping translate the documents and my reporting,” adding he is “truly a hero of the Fourth Estate.”
But only a few hours later, his story changed – Posobiec said everything he stated on the record earlier was “false.” La Presse was then contacted by Ezra Levant, who dismissed Posobiec’s potentially libelous statements against his own colleague as “trolling.”
Rebel Media’s UK correspondent arrested for “contempt of court”
On the other side of the pond, police arrested Rebel Media UK correspondent Tommy Robinson for contempt of court last week.
Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon and the former leader of the far-right English Defence League, posted video to the Rebel website where he aggressively confronted defendents and attorneys at a Canterbury court house, at one point nearly instigating a fight. Robinson claims he was merely “trying to video the Muslim pedophiles,” but UK police stated it is illegal to film video in UK court precincts.
Lauren Southern taken into custody by Italian coast guard
Meanwhile in the Mediterranean, former Rebel Media host and noted fascist apologist Lauren Southern was detained by Italy’s coast guard after she intercepted a boat carrying refugees and “lit flares” in an attempt to block the boat from docking.
BREAKING: Alt-right ‘identitarians’ Lauren Southern & company arrested by Italian cops for trying to block a refugee boat pic.twitter.com/b7PjiMEyS5
— Alex Rubinstein (@RealAlexRubi) May 12, 2017
Member of “alt-right fight club” founded by Rebel Media’s Gavin McInnes arrested after punching 19-year-old woman
Then last weekend at Boston Common, an associate of Rebel Media’s Gavin McInnes was arrested after getting into a “physical altercation” with an individual later identified by Boston Police as “a 19-year-old California woman.” Video from the event shows the man shove the woman to the ground and throw punches before police intervened.
The man identified himself to reporters as Salvatore Cipolla, a member of the “Proud Boys,” who has previously guest hosted McInnes’ Compound Media web show.
The “Proud Boys” are a “fraternity of young white, pro-Trump men” founded by McInnes, although the group has recently added a “military division.” The Southern Poverty Law Center likens the group to an “alt-right fight club” organized to “engage in street fighting.”
Here’s Rebel Media’s Gavin McInnes talking about the “military division” of Proud Boys that he founded w/violent felon Kyle Chapman. pic.twitter.com/LsgP7NBedM
— Caroline O. (@RVAwonk) May 8, 2017
Rebel Media’s Gavin McInnes says woman punched by white supremacist was “asking for it”
The violence in Boston echoes the “bloody violence” of the “Proud Boys” last month in Berkeley, California.
Afterwards, McInnes defended a white supremacist who punched a woman in the face, telling Rebel Media owner Ezra Levant “she got punched in the face because she was asking for it.”
The Los Angeles Times had previously identified the man shown in the video as the the leader of a white supremacist group, a group the SLPC describes as being “established by racist Southern California skinheads that aims to deport immigrants and return the United States to white rule.”
Ezra Levant pushes fake photos of Emmanuel Macron
Not to be outdone, the owner of Rebel Media continued setting an example for his employees.
In advance of the French election, Ezra Levant tweeted a photo of then-French Presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron sitting at the foot of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, something Levant said made him a “cuck.”
Except Levant’s photo was photoshopped. It was fake. Levant later deleted the tweet.
— Sean Craig (@sdbcraig) May 7, 2017