by Czechs and Balances
Does the name Imran Ahmed ring a bell with you? No? How about Sarah Eagan? Nothing? Tom Lavelle? Let me guess…I’m batting a thousand. So would it surprise you to learn that these people — these great unknowns — are at the helm of a non-profit helping to drive policy in the Biden White House here in the US as well as in the bastions of power in the UK?
You likely haven’t heard the names Callum Hood or Simon Clark either, but these five individuals make up the driving force of the Center for Combatting Digital Hate (CCDH). It’s a catchy little name that packs an emotional punch for anyone who has been caught up reading online threads in the news calling for this or that group to be silenced, canceled, doxxed, maimed or even killed. It’s a group whose time has certainly come. But wait, not so fast.
Digging into the CCDH website is not a task for the faint of heart, but is well worth the effort for those who wonder about these shadow people. They proclaim political agnosticism and no affiliation to any specific party. So far, so good, but dig deeper.
A search on these people sets off the spidey senses because there is not much information on them. What little can be found does not align with what the CCDH publishes about itself. On one hand, the CCDH claims to have no political affiliation. But if anything can be said about CEO Imran Ahmed, it would be that he IS a political animal through and through. Since 2012, Ahmed has been embroiled in Labour Party politics, serving as senior political advisor to Hilary Benn from 2012-2015 and then aligning with Angela Eagle to help her with her bid for MP. He also co-authored a book with Eagle entitled “The New Serfdom: The Triumph of Conservative Ideas and How To Defeat Them”. That doesn’t sound politically unaffiliated to me. In fact, this book was roundly criticized for its empty attacks on the free-market with no alternatives offered, its condemnation of the current “toxic culture” of personal success, and its calls for an “empowered state”. Angela Eagle is a radical leftist and makes no effort to hide it. Ahmed is a radical leftist, too. In fact, Ed Miliband, himself a leader in the British Labour Party, has referred to Ahmed as a “dangerous” left wing radical when Ahmed served as a Shadow Cabinet advisor.
So when the CCDH tries to foist itself off as politically unaffiliated while having a CEO who is clearly politically active, who can believe that? I don’t.
After establishing his political bona fides, Ahmed launched the not-for-profit CCDH for the ostensible purpose of countering online hate. His Chief of Staff (CoS), one Sarah Eagan, does not have a huge presence online, but then, if my math is close to correct, she is probably only about 26 years old. Prior to becoming the CoS at CCDH, Ms. Eagan was the Press Secretary for NextGen American/Pennsylvania where she self-identified as a “Progressive Political Communicator, Writer and Strategist”. A quick peruse of her articles on Cuttings show her to, indeed, be progressive, liberal, and dedicated to directing young people to the progressive cause. I can’t help but wonder if Ms. Eagan’s clear agenda also plays into the “non-political” stature of the CCDH.
And then we come to Callum Hood, the Head of Research. I expected him to be an established researcher, and therefore braced myself to have to dig my way out from under tons of information, from original papers