Ultra Anti-Semitism

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In addition to suffering the comments flowing from the duplicitous "anti-Semitic" poster with the major screen name "HamBaconEggs"--who is described and unmasked in our main story--Common Dreams has been infested by an even-more-prolific anti-Semitic commenter.

The website staff calls "him" "Michael K. Ultra," after one of the most common screen names he uses. Ultra also appears on many other news-and-views websites--particularly, progressive ones.

Like the HamBaconEggs commenter, the Ultra poster uses a myriad of screen names while the posts actually come from a very few computers.  (The Michael K. Ultra name itself comes from MKUltra, a CIA "mind-control" program that operated from the 1950s through the 1970s. It became notorious for giving LSD to people without their knowledge, to observe their reactions.)

The Ultra poster comments on many subjects, often articulately and knowledgeably, usually with a far-left viewpoint, always very harshly. His views of Israel and Jews, however, are generally more subtle than those expressed by many of the caricatural characters created by the poster behind HamBaconEggs. But the Ultra commenter goes from legitimate criticism of Israeli policy toward the Palestinians into blanket and nasty condemnations of Israelis and Jews as a people:

A couple of samples from the nastier posts under the Michael K. Ultra screen name:

--"As if the Zio-Nazis would let anyone or anything stand against them and get in the way of their plans of world domination."

--"The dehumanization part of the Zio-Nazi was completed a long time ago."

 Here are some of the 60+ screen names used by "Michael K. Ultra" with links to his comments:
  
 

Here's his screen name "Tillotson": "The comments from the Kosher vermin are, as always, revolting. And if that makes me an 'anti-semite(tm)' then, all those who feel offended can kiss my non-Kosher ass."

To see the character Ultra's "profile," a collection of his posts on the Disqus comment service, which Common Dreams and many other news sites use, click here. For Tillotson's profile, click here.

In those profiles, the name Michael K. Ultra has only 1,100 comments and Tillotson 1,700. But Craig Brown, Common Dreams's executive director, has counted more than 30,000 posts under more than 60 screen names over five years from this tireless commenter.

These posts have appeared in the comments sections of dozens of online publications. In addition to Common Dreams and other progressive sites such as Alternet, Truthdig, Truthout, and The Nation, he appears on websites of The Atlantic, Japan Times, Washington Times, The American Scholar, and a variety of other media.

The posts are mostly from one computer, as revealed by that computer's Internet Protocol address. (For an explanation of how Common Dreams has explored IP addresses, see the story on the HamBaconEggs commenter.) The internet provider for this computer, a division of AT&T Internet Services, is located in Marietta, Georgia, an Atlanta suburb.

(Coincidentally, Marietta was the site of one of the most infamous episodes of anti-Semitism in American history: the 1915 lynching of Leo Frank by a gang of prominent Georgia citizens, including a former governor. A pencil-factory manager convicted of murdering a 13-year-old girl who worked in his factory, Frank had his death sentence commuted to life in prison by a governor who concluded that he had been railroaded. Frank's lynching two months later prompted the creation of the national Anti-Defamation League, dedicated to fighting prejudice against Jews.)

A clue to the Ultra poster's identity is that he posts in Spanish on Spanish-language sites. The character Tillotson says he was "born and raised in Cuba." The Ultra poster is anti-Castro, even as his characters make left-wing comments on American and world affairs that might please Fidel Castro.

Unlike the HamBaconEggs poster, this commenter has not created a character attacking his other characters for their anti-Semitism. And unlike the human being posing as HamBaconEggs et al, he has not slipped up: Common Dreams hasn't been able to connect a comment to a person's name.

One email address used in his commenting, however, was found to be real: trailingbegonia(at)yahoo.com. "Trailing Begonia" is also an Ultra screen name. A Google search of the name turned up a Washington, D.C., phone number given out in 2009 for information about a rally against Israel's Gaza policies organized by the radical A.N.S.W.E.R. civil-rights and antiwar coalition. The number is now out of service.

Wikipedia says A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) "characterizes itself as anti-imperialist, and its steering committee consists of socialists, civil rights advocates, and left-wing or progressive organizations from the Muslim, Arab, Palestinian, Filipino, Haitian, and Latin-American communities."

Eugene Puryear, a veteran organizer with A.N.S.W.E.R. in Washington, said the email address and some major screen names involved with Ultra that he was given did not ring a bell with him or people in his office. A.N.S.W.E.R.'s director, Brian Becker, later called Common Dreams and made it clear that the group didn't want to be associated with the Ultra commenter. An email to “trailingbegonia” was not answered, although it did not bounce back.

Lance Tapley