Left-Wing Conspirators

by Kieran Healy on February 16, 2004

Via “Atrios”:http://atrios.blogspot.com/2004_02_15_atrios_archive.html#107694748162031817 and “RMPN”:http://www.rmpn.org/weblog/archives/permalink/001104.cfm I found a beta version of “FollowTheNetwork.Org”:http://www.followthenetwork.org/uidev/default.cfm. Apparently the brainchild of David Horowitz, it purports to be “a guide to the political left” and takes the form of a big database of people, funders, media, government and so on. The design of the site suggests that the left is a huge, interconnected web of shadowy figures and money flows. The database entries make for interesting reading. Trawling around in it (note that the site is in beta, so these links may stop working soon) I find that you can “follow the network” for people like these:

* “Troy Duster”:http://www.followthenetwork.org/uidev/personsDetail.cfm?pid=69. Described as a “Radical black sociologist.” Duster teaches at NYU is a past-president of the “American Sociological Association”:http://www.asanet.org.

* “Jamal Ahmen Al-Fadl”:http://www.followthenetwork.org/uidev/personsDetail.cfm?pid=184. Described as “bin Laden lieutenant, Sudanese … Helped Sudan’s ruling NIF build world’s then-largest complex of terrorist training camps.”

* “Bruce Ackerman”:http://www.followthenetwork.org/uidev/personsDetail.cfm?pid=324, “‘Progressive’ academic.” Ackerman is “Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science”:http://www.law.yale.edu/outside/html/faculty/baa27/profile.htm at Yale University.

* “Ben Ali Zinedine”:http://www.followthenetwork.org/uidev/personsDetail.cfm?pid=127, ” President General of Tunisia’s democratic government.”

* “Joan Baez”:http://www.followthenetwork.org/uidev/personsDetail.cfm?pid=27, “singer, radical.”

* “Osama Bin Laden”:http://www.followthenetwork.org/uidev/personsDetail.cfm?pid=178, “Saudi Arabian financier … Issued fatwa calling for Muslims to kill Americans and Jews everywhere in the world. CIA notified Congress of this.”

* “Barbara Reskin”:http://www.followthenetwork.org/uidev/personsDetail.cfm?pid=315, “progressive academic.” Reskin is professor of sociology at the “University of Washington”:http://www.soc.washington.edu/people/faculty/faculty_detail.asp?UID=reskin and a former president of the American Sociological Association.

* “Ahmad A. Ajaj”:http://www.followthenetwork.org/uidev/personsDetail.cfm?showHeader=No&pid=117, ” Associate of first WTC bombers. From Houston. Pizza deliveryman. ‘Mysterious connections and unlimited funds.'”

* “Mary Waters”:http://www.followthenetwork.org/uidev/personsDetail.cfm?showHeader=No&pid=455, “‘Progressive'” academic. Waters is Professor of Sociology and Chair of the Department at “Harvard University”:http://www.wjh.harvard.edu/soc/faculty/waters/

* “Mohammed Ali”:http://www.followthenetwork.org/uidev/personsDetail.cfm?showHeader=No&pid=121, “Special operations chief for Osama bin Laden in USA.”

* “Michael Walzer”:http://www.followthenetwork.org/uidev/personsDetail.cfm?pid=87, “political theorist.” Walzer is Professor at the “Institute for Advanced Study”:http://www.sss.ias.edu/home/walzer.html.

* “Ayman Al-Zawhiri”:http://www.followthenetwork.org/uidev/personsDetail.cfm?showHeader=No&pid=192 is “Second in command of al-Qaeda.”

I could go on. And that’s just the database of individuals. There’s also the “list of groups”:http://www.followthenetwork.org/uidev/groups.cfm, where you can find invaluable information on terrorist groups like “Hamas”:http://www.followthenetwork.org/uidev/organizationsDetail.cfm?orgid=66&chksearch=organizations&type=alpha&alpha=H, “Habitat for Humanity”:http://www.followthenetwork.org/uidev/organizationsDetail.cfm?orgid=2754&chksearch=organizations&type=alpha&alpha=H and the “Harvard Alumni Association”:http://www.followthenetwork.org/uidev/organizationsDetail.cfm?orgid=5977&chksearch=organizations&type=alpha&alpha=H. And like any good blacklist, everyone is “invited to submit any information they might have”:http://www.followthenetwork.org/uidev/contribute.cfm.

*Update*: Blogger “Jack Balkin”:http://balkin.blogspot.com/ is “on the list”:http://www.followthenetwork.org/uidev/personsDetail.cfm?pid=398, as another “‘Progressive’ Academic.” What are we at CT? Chopped Liver?

*Update 2*: It seems like the Follow The Network has been taken offline, but those helpful people at “RMPN”:http://www.rmpn.org/weblog/ have a “Mirror Site”:http://www.thinkpol.net/ftnmir1/ for you all to play with.



harry 02.16.04 at 10:47 pm

Is this now going to be a badge of honor on the left? ‘Well, of course, I don’t look at my FollowTheNetwork entry myself, but my friends tell me it grows daily’…


Steve Michel 02.16.04 at 11:15 pm

Why doesn’t everyone go and put their own names on the site? It should be a badge of honor to be here. Then we could all have some nice little icons for our blogs saying we’re listed in Horowitz’ database!


laura 02.16.04 at 11:29 pm

Ah, yes, Osama bin Laden. A radical feminist Commie, right?

I mean, really. If you were putting together a list of bin Laden supporters and wanted to include an American academic who’d opposed invading Afghanistan or Iraq, that would be one thing. Stupid in my opinion, but I understand the logic. But calling bin Laden a lefty is another thing entirely.


anon 02.16.04 at 11:30 pm

Sample letter:

Self-described liberal [your name here] wishes to join “the network”.

* Supported Howard Dean for US President (2004). Donations: $450
* Gave $50 to Al Gore for President, (2000)
* Subscriber and regular reader of salon.com, crookedtimber.org and other card-carrying members of the VLWC 5th column
* Member in good standing, Sierra Club, NRDC.


tristero 02.16.04 at 11:33 pm

I’m furious I’m not included yet. Darn, what’s a fella gotta do to get himself included with all his friends? I don’t wanna be the last lib left when they round up my buddies and ship them off to gitmo, y’know.


David Ehrenstein 02.16.04 at 11:37 pm

Hey, I’m not on the list either and I’m really pissed!


Streaker 02.16.04 at 11:41 pm

I agree, tristero — I think my beliefs probably are close to Joan Baez’s, I’m just not famous!

Question: If we make a list of “the political right”, can we put Horowitz on the same list as le Pen or some of the other really awful people? I mean, since he did … and how in hell did bin Laden get labeled a ‘political left’?!


Nancy Irving 02.16.04 at 11:42 pm

If they’re doing this, we should start pushing the Bush family’s bin Laden connectiions, hard.


Alan 02.16.04 at 11:46 pm

I’m actually astonished that someone on the right would think this kind of thing was a good idea – or at least that they’d think it was a good idea to make it public. It almost cries for someone to take the idea and pull in the assorted details on the right, including all the administration links back into Reagan, Iran/Contra, Nixon, etc.

What would the links from Prescott Bush look like?


ed 02.16.04 at 11:49 pm

Ginzberg, Allen??????????????

Isn’t he dead, or is he like a lefty Elvis


lago 02.16.04 at 11:54 pm

I guess Leftster.org was already registered.


Yuval Rubinstein 02.16.04 at 11:57 pm

What would the links from Prescott Bush look like?
Funny you should mention that, Alan. Check out this most excellent Bush family tree, starting with its scion, Samuel Prescott Bush.


Diana 02.17.04 at 12:04 am

Does the fact that the Harvard Alumni Association is on it means that everyone who ever graduated from Harvard is supposed to be part of it? So if I’m class of ’86, does that automatically make me an associate of bin Laden?

Also, aren’t there a lot of lefties at Yale?


CF 02.17.04 at 12:05 am

i am proud — PROUD! — to have taken my college Intro to Sociology course from prof. Troy Duster. (while he was still at berkeley.)

i guess i have one degree of separation from the SLWC… mwahahahaha…


MD 02.17.04 at 12:05 am

John Grubor and Steve Boursy have moved on to political activism, I see.

(Truly, those who cannot remember Usenet are doomed to repeat it.)


Brian C.B. 02.17.04 at 12:11 am

I justed checked and, well, whom do I have to fuck to get on the list?


psm 02.17.04 at 12:43 am

For a much more compelling right-wing version, take a look at Mark Lombardi’s “Global Networks” drawings. There’s a show touring around; right now it’s at the SF Yerba Buena Center. I think Mobutu Sese Seko showed up in every other drawing (I guess he got around); the Bush clan figured prominently as well. Bill Clinton shows up in one or two of them.


John Quiggin 02.17.04 at 12:55 am

It’s fascinating looking at individual countries under the issues index. Apparently, for example, supporting Tibetan independence from Communist China is now a left cause, as is supporting US intervention in Kosovo.


J. J. Gass 02.17.04 at 12:57 am

If Osama is a leftist, then we’d better get busy adding Fidel to diagrams of the vast right-wing conspiracy.


Thersites 02.17.04 at 1:03 am

My favorite part about this list is that the site took hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop.

So, is it the “left” or the “right” that’s got pots of money to spend on advancing their paranoid conspiratorial agenda?



Ophelia Benson 02.17.04 at 1:07 am

Chopped Liver – c’mon – don’t be greedy. You were on that Right Coast thing the other day. There’s glory for you.


Moniker 02.17.04 at 1:07 am

Y’know, it just goes to show how divorced from reality Horowitz is. He clearly doesn’t realize what the equivalent database for Republican contributors would look like, otherwise he wouldn’t start this.


Kieran Healy 02.17.04 at 1:09 am

Chopped Liver – c’mon – don’t be greedy. You were on that Right Coast thing the other day. There’s glory for you.

I suppose it _was_ a nice knockdown argument.


Osama Been Forgotten 02.17.04 at 1:14 am

Is it OK to nominate yourself? Or do you have to be seconded by a MBF?


Michael 02.17.04 at 1:23 am

> (note that the site is in beta, so these links may stop working soon)

Gee, was it wrong of me to slip and run wget against this database? Damn clumsy keyboarding…


Molly, NYC 02.17.04 at 1:28 am

I notice that if you look up individuals by letter, they’re listed by first name. Hilary Clinton, for example, is listed under “H.” Which confirms pretty much what you’d expect about Horowitz’s ability to deal with details.

(Bill Clinton, BTW, has no listing under C, B (Bill), W (William)or J (Jefferson).)


nnyhav 02.17.04 at 1:54 am

In related news: Follow the dynasty.


mw 02.17.04 at 2:07 am

If they ever do one on the right, they will find all roads lead to the conservative’s savior, Rev. Moon. He’s spent billions putting them in power. No Moon and the theocrats and fascists who now control the republican party would still be called “Bircher’s”.

U.S News and World Report March 27, 1989
>Through this method of recruiting, the church(Unification) has established a network of affiliated organizations and connections in almost every conservative organization in Washington, including the Heritage Foundation, the largest of the conservative think tanks and an important source of government personnel during the Reagan administration.
“Most people are afraid to address the issue because they don’t want to publicize the extent of the church’s involvement,” says Amy Moritz of the Conservative National Center for Public Policy Research.

Because almost all conservative organizations in Washington have some ties to the church, conservatives also fear repercussions if they expose the church’s role. end quote

did you catch this? deserves repeating///

the church(Unification) has established a network of affiliated organizations and connections in almost every conservative organization in Washington, including the Heritage Foundation,…

Because almost all conservative organizations in Washington have some ties to the church,

Moon’s organization has been the backbone of the right for twenty years. Their leaders know it but the grunts, the pod people, have no idea.

yep, who is the ‘go to’ guy for the right?

>Just a few years ago, Moon announced he was ready to give up on the United States, but the change of administrations in Washington seems to have sparked a change of heart in him. Frederick Clarkson, a journalist who has studied Moon and other far-right movements, notes that Moon specializes in the creation of “Astroturf organizations” – groups that appear to have grassroots power but that in reality speak mostly for Moon. Moon has used these groups to curry favor with Republicans for more than 30 years, Clarkson said, and is revving them up again to help the new Bush administration.

“Whenever the conservatives identify an issue as important to their agenda, Moon creates an Astroturf organization to create the appearance of grassroots support for these initiatives,” Clarkson said.

Read these for a touch of info on Moon and the soul selling right.




Thurber Hamm 02.17.04 at 2:20 am

“web of shadowy figures and money flows” On the left? Where? Please tell me! So….what’s the plan? Are we going to take down the corporate class or what?

Somebody’s been drinking their kool-aid out of their tinfoil hat.


Rivka 02.17.04 at 3:49 am

My grandfather, George Wald, went to his grave disappointed that he’d only made Nixon’s second enemies list.

America’s the land of opportunity, right, where children should do better than their grandparents? I’ve got to get myself on Horowitz’s list somehow.


bad Jim 02.17.04 at 4:00 am

It does have Bill Clinton.

It also has Jean Genet, but not Andre Gide, Emma Goldman or Rosa Luxembourg. Nor UC Berkeley.


Jo Fish 02.17.04 at 5:23 am

Harvard Alumni Association, which of course includes the B-School, right? Which includes ummmm…Fearless Leader, right?

Why does Fearless Leader hate America, going to such a lefty school and all?


JB 02.17.04 at 6:42 am

Davey thinks he’s hid his site. But we still have it. Heh, heh, heh.


Graham 02.17.04 at 12:47 pm

Louis Farrakhan?! Oh, that’s right, the anti-semetic thing.


JB 02.17.04 at 4:25 pm

From this morning’s Rocky Mountain News;

…Horowitz said he was “flabbergasted” Monday when told of some of the Colorado groups listed on the site. Editors and researchers he hired entered that information and he hadn’t seen it, Horowitz said.

Marjie Griek, executive director of the Colorado Association of Recyclers, said her group represents industry and city-based recycling programs and does educational work.

“I think it’s a rather sad statement for their organization that they would consider us leftist,” she said, then added with a laugh: “Who knows? We just might topple the government if we recycle too much.”


jacob 02.17.04 at 4:39 pm

Perhaps this is unfairly nitpicking for a site still in beta, but in addition to all the missing people (me, for instance) and the dead people, it has people listed at their old jobs. Rogers Smith and Robert Johnston have both left Yale, for instance. And while it has the Harvard Alumni Association (that bastion of socialism), it doesn’t have 37

raj 02.17.04 at 6:23 pm

Another lefty-bashing web site?

One seriously wonders who is paying the bills.


Another Damned Medievalist 02.17.04 at 8:13 pm

Well, Marx supposedly supported Arsenal, as does bin Laden. Oh, but then so do I. It’s a fair cop, guv — put me on the list!


Another Damned Medievalist 02.17.04 at 8:13 pm

Well, Marx supposedly supported Arsenal, as does bin Laden. Oh, but then so do I. It’s a fair cop, guv — put me on the list!


Mike G 02.17.04 at 9:52 pm

It looks as though you need a username and password now. Anyone have one they would like to share?


Simon Kinahan 02.17.04 at 10:05 pm

Surely you can do this for the right as well. In fact, it would be much more convinving to build a map like this for all political actors everywhere, without assuming some straightforward left-right split must exist. There are plenty of people on the right with links to bin Laden and Iraq’s Baath party too, after all.


Tom 02.17.04 at 10:39 pm

Christ, the American Hydrogen Association is in there. What a maroon Horowitz is.


Jay C. 02.17.04 at 11:52 pm

C’mon, folks: this is David Horowitz we’re talking about: Karl Marx would make his big-deal lefty-link-list-o-fame, but so would Harpo and Chico, no doubt.
The guy is just a chromosome shy of being Ann Coulter with a beard: who takes this clown seriously?


kellan 02.18.04 at 2:20 am

Feels very similar to activistcash.org which takes easily accessible public information, and tries to whip a nice froth of hysteria over their discoveries.

Getting mentioned to AC is definitely something of a status symbol in certain groups. FtN will have to work hard to match its breathless sincerity.


Graham 02.18.04 at 11:17 am

There’s another thing they’ve got in common – they’re all descended from monkeys!!!


John Turnbull 02.20.04 at 3:42 pm

Bit late here, but there is a site tracking the right:


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