You Want It Darker?

The remarkable story of how the hard-right Koch brothers funded a Trotskyite splinter group

Dark money is among the greatest current threats to democracy. It means money spent below the public radar, that seeks to change political outcomes. It enables very rich people and corporations to influence politics without showing their hands.

Among the world’s biggest political spenders are Charles and David Koch, co-owners of Koch Industries, a vast private conglomerate of oil pipelines and refineries, chemicals, timber and paper companies, commodity trading firms and cattle ranches. If their two fortunes were rolled into one, Charles David Koch, with $120bn, would be the richest man on Earth........

........ The organisation the Charles Koch Foundation has chosen to fund is at first sight astounding: a US organisation established by an obscure magazine run by former members of a tiny Trotskyite splinter group. Some of its core contributors still describe themselves as Marxists or Bolsheviks. But the harder you look at it, the more sense the Koch donations appear to make.

The name of the magazine is Spiked.

➽George Monbiot is a writer who campaigns against environmental destruction, undemocratic power, corruption, deception of the public, injustice, inequality and the misallocation of resources, waste, denial, the libertarianism which grants freedom to the powerful at the expense of the powerless, undisclosed interests, complacency.


  1. Interesting piece for the fact that it opens debate about the agenda of the media especially nowadays when we are inundated with fake news. George Monbiot certainly puts a major question mark over Spiked. Does the fact of who funds the media automatically question integrity of the media itself or for that matter all who write for it? Also another question is about the intentions or motives of a right wing organisation funding a left publication.

    I can't say I know George Monbiot's stuff but maybe he's being a bit disingenuous here. He is writing for the Guardian, (see The Guardian itself has questionable funding sources and ownership. Some well respected critics have refused to work there. Yet he does not say anything about the Guardian funding or it's owners. Also his article seems to be a carte blanche condemnation of Spiked? Would that mean that he is critical of all Spiked articles and contributers?

    Perhaps George Monbiot has somethings to clarify too. Is he really impartial?

    Spiked has written a response

    However, Ithe article didn't really satisfy me. I think there are many issues here that need debating. Couple thing I noticed from Spiked article was that they did reply to Monbiot and they did acknowledge the funding to Spiked US Ltd. Surely Brendan O Neill, Spiked editor must realise how readers like myself would question the funding from Koch Foundation or for that matter any funders. I don't really know much about the Koch Foundation but what I have read I am suspicious of their intentions. All you have to do is go to Counterpunch, a pretty respected magazine, and search Koch, e.g

    I emailed Viv Regan, managing editor of Spiked to ask for an explanation. She replied without hesitation;

    "This is not the most important point but firstly, Koch funds a specific project in the US. It funds the charity Spiked US to run debates, not spiked.

    But even if Koch did. We would never accept any money from anyone if they wanted a say in what we write, do or say. Noone tells us what we can think, say or write and no donor or supporter ever will. In fact, that is why we haven't grown as much as other niche magazines, because of what we write and say we are not loved by millionaires from the left or the right as we always say something that doesn't fit into either worldview.

    We like the Koch free speech and toleration programme. They fund a bit of Spiked US's work precisely because we are not from their politics. Many in Koch do not agree with what we say about other topics, but we do agree on free speech and the need for tolerance. What we mean by tolerance is what Locke wrote hundreds of years ago. We welcome diverse viewpoints, encourage discussion and for spiked, we challenge and try and win the argument! Koch supports all of that. It wants to support organisations that are a million miles away from them.

    It is also worth saying that Koch is probably what I would call, social conservatives. I don't recognise this evil empire of the hard right. They fund the ACLU in America in their criminal justice work, their work in this area is fantastic. They fund lawyers who are defending and arguing for gay marriage."

  2. Monbiot has a brass neck......hasn't he being leading the charge(I.e spreading NATO propaganda) about the Russians and the SAA in Syria? I guess the adage "the loudest in the room is often the weakest" is most apt for him.

  3. Wolfe Tone

    It never ceases to amaze me now you can deny the serial and documented atrocities committed by the Assad regime and their Russian allies on the people of Syria. I am guessing that the you would call Israeli actions in Gaza and those of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen war crimes. What is the difference with Syria?

  4. The difference is that the SAA are defending with their lives their country from regimes such as Saudi Arabia,Israel,Turkey,Britain and the US. When mouthpieces from those said countries are 'documenting'(fabricating) propaganda to demonise Syria and Russia then only a child would buy it. Just for the record, Russia under international law has been legally asked to assist the SAA to repel the mercenaries attempting to seize Syria..........the other regimes in that country are breaking international law. Alas, some countries are more equal than others.

  5. Barry, a better question to ask is:

    "What is the difference in Syria?"

    Because the US government is fighting for Al-Qaeda in Syria.

    Whereas it is fighting against Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

    Read it and weep:

    Are al-Qaeda Affiliates Fighting Alongside U.S. Rebels in Syria’s South?
    By SHARMINE NARWANI • June 25, 2018

  6. Wolfe Tone

    The only tenets of international law that have been broken in Syria have been the prohibition of the use of chemical weapons, the bombing of schools, hospitals and international aid convoys as well as indiscriminate shelling of civilian area and the mass incarceration, torture and murder of thousands of regime opponents by Assad.

    All these atrocities are well documented by reputable international human rights agencies and Syrian advocacy groups which counter-balances the hideous lies told by regime apologists like Vanessa Beeley and the ubiquitous Russian troll factories.

    Was the Assad regime "defending with their lives their country" when they responded to peaceful, pro-democracy protests in March 2011 by shooting at unarmed demonstrators (sounds familiar?) and torturing of schoolchildren ?

    I really do not know what psychological benefits you get from defending the indefensible


    "Are al-Qaeda affilates fighnting alongside U.S. rebels in Syria' South?"

    Can you answer your own question then?

  7. Barry,

    . I am guessing that the you would call Israeli actions in Gaza and those of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen war crimes.

    Do you think what is happening in Gaza and the West Bank and whats happening in Yemen war crimes...? I do.

  8. Barry,

    If we agree Israel are guilty of war crimes against Palestinians. And we agree the Nazi's are guilty of war crimes against the Jews in WW2. We have to agree the Zionist Jews who own Israel and allow war crimes on Gaza are basically a different cheek of the same arse as Hitler and Co.

    What's your take on 3500 british troops on standby to quell any protests against Brexit?

    Troops held in readiness to deal with disruption from no-deal Brexit

    Thousands of troops are to be put on stand-by to help with potential disruption from a no-deal Brexit, it has been revealed. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson’s announcement that 3,500 regular soldiers and reservists will be “held at readiness” came as Cabinet agreed to ramp up preparations for the UK crashing out of the European Union without a deal.

    Will the British Gov be vilified like Assad if things go pear shaped and a bloody Sunday, Ballymurphy happens on the streets of Birmingham, Newcastle or Colchester when British citizens protest for/against Brexit next March?

  9. Frankie

    Israel has been guilty of war crimes in Gaza and the West Bank. The Nazis were guilty of the attempted extermination using industrial of the entire Jewish population of Europe behind enemy lines as well as genocides of Roma and gay people and the murder of 3 million Russian POWs. The crimes of the Nazis were qualitatively and quantitatively different from those of Israel and even those of Bashar-al- Assad (200,000 civilians murdered and counting).

    The Shoah/Holocaust is a sacred memory for all of humanity; not just for Jews. The determination that such barbarity never happens again is a founding principle of the EU and of the 1948 Genocide Convention. To trivialise or relativise it by making inappropriate comparisons; be they pro-life movements saying that abortion represents "Hitler's revenge"; Ken Livingstone and Julie Burchill saying that capitalism killed more people than Hitler or even trying to equalise Nazi crimes with those of the Soviet Union is just not on.

    So I do not agree with what you say in the first paragraph of your comment and will never. The words "vilified like Assad" betray your inconsistency (to be charitable) about what state crimes and what perpetrators are to be condemned.

    I am hopeful that a No Deal Brexit can be avoided as there is no majority in Parliament for it; indeed a "People's Vote" looks more and more on the cards.

  10. Barry, nice try at evasion!

    Since this wasn't my question (and surely you knew that):

    "Are al-Qaeda affiliates fighting alongside U.S. rebels in Syria' South?"

    This was the headline of a news article in the American Conservative publication.

    That went on to answer their own question...

    And in so doing pointed out that the US is burning the candle at both ends.

    Fighting for and against al-Qaeda at the same time.

    It's a classic example of imperial double standards.

    So al-Qaeda is just a convenient US boogy man and pretext for being in Syria.

    And you're just crowing in with US-UK imperial demonizing of the Asad government.

    Don't get me wrong, I am no fan of Mr. Asad.

    But he isn't any worse than Mr. Netanyahu in Palestine or Prince Salman in Yemen.

    If you want to better understand Syria than what you learn from CNN or the BBC...

    I invite you and others to watch "Syrian Girl" on YouTube.

    And to read among other books SYRIA BURNING by Charles Glass.

  11. I don't know what 'psychological benefits' one gets out from lapping up fake stories via soft power tools of NATO such as the much biased Amnesty International. The other 'evidence' that Assad and Russia have committed war crimes in Syria is disputed hence why most of the world, and I mean most of the world, refuses to cut ties with these countries. NATObots should be clear as to who is breaking international law in Syria I.e it's all the uninvited NATO member countries. Fact. Saying it isn't so doesn't make it true. Btw, the main reason why NATO member countries were suddenly roused to 'do something about Syria' was when Russia decided to enter the fray to stop the seemingly unstoppable progress of ISIS/al nusra. A big clue there as to what NATO terrorism objective was.

  12. Eoghan

    So how is Assad no worse than Netanyahu (I am no friend of). The body count tells a different story.

    Is the Russian intervention in Syria not an example of imperialism; a major power intervening at the behest of a client facing defeat in a civil sar?

  13. Barry, difference of degree maybe between Bibi and Asad but not kind.

    Unless you think Syrian people are more worthy victims than Palestinian victims.

    And no, Russia's intervention in Syria is not an example of imperialism as such.

    Because Russia didn't create the Syrian regime to invite them in.

    As did the US in "South Korea" and "South Vietnam" among other places.

    Russia in Syria today is more like the US in England during WWII.

    They are like minded allies fighting a common foe.

  14. Barry,

    The Shoah/Holocaust is a sacred memory for all of humanity; not just for Jews. The determination that such barbarity never happens again is a founding principle of the EU and of the 1948 Genocide Convention.

    Stop with the propaganda and one sided version of history, basically because very few people fall for it. Here is a list of genocides since WW2 , if you look at the list it seriously calls into question not only your but anyone else who thinks like you about "such barbarity never happening again."

    Stop with the holocaust crap it isn't all about the Jews, even Jews will tell you that. The UN that you hold up as some sort of role model is nothing other than the ultimate bastion of wankerdom (if not, it has to be the bench mark in what wankers are measured by). Why don't you refresh everyones memory and tell us exactly how many UN Resolutions have the modern state of Israel gave the one finger salute to again. And why did humanity stand by and allow millions of innocent people to be butchered in genocides across this rock when they swore to the world in 1948/49 they will not allow it to happen to anyone again...?

    The blue print for the EU cn be traced back to the early 1920's Germany and before.

    Back to the piece...Barry do you think the Kochs are as corrupt as the Podesta's?

  15. 'Zionist puppet' Donald Trump has declared he is removing US troops from Syria much to the chagrin of Israel! Meanwhile the Natobots are outraged that he is removing the possibility of a clash between US and Russian tell me who is the 'mad' I.e Trump or the war means peace Natobots?