Filed under: Anti-fascist, Featured, This Week in Fascism
Welcome, fellow antifascists!
This week, we’ve got the far-Right organizing protests against public health guidelines, an attempted bombing against a Massachusetts assisted living facility, doxxes of podcast hosts, a member of The Base, and multiple Proud Boys who blocked a hospital in Michigan, plus how you can help fight the far-Right’s assault on social distancing!
Without further ado, let’s begin!
Far-Right Organizes Protests Against Public Health Guidelines
New: I looked at who is behind the protests this week, and those planned for coming days, and found a pattern: GOP & dark money orgs making common cause with the radical right https://t.co/XregcnPYbL
— Jason Wilson (@jason_a_w) April 17, 2020
Across the country, anti-stay-at-home protests are popping up in an effort to push back against State and local ordinances that have instituted “stay-in-place” orders to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. However, the protests have lacked specific demands and many states have not outlawed public gatherings; merely suggesting social distancing as a public health measure, making it unclear what the demonstrators were actually protesting.
“Liberate Virginia and save your 2nd Amendment,” President Trump tweeted, implying somehow that the right to own firearms was under attack. “It is under siege. LIBERATE MICHIGAN” he added in a successive tweet, along with “LIBERATE MINNESOTA.”
— PragerU (@prageru) April 18, 2020
With the non-specific nature of the protests, heavily animated by fever-dreams and conspiracy theories, members of the far-Right were free to fill in their own ideologies and drew out a range of right-wing attendees. As Jason Wilson reported in The Guardian, the protesters, specifically in Michigan included, “Proud Boys, conservative armed militia groups, religious fundamentalists, anti-vaccination groups and other elements of the radical right.” Antifascists who attended various other rallies also reported a large contingent of Qanon supporters and many cities saw heavy stickering before hand by the neo-Nazi group, Patriot Front.
As Wilson wrote:
But the protest also attracted far-right protest groups who have been present at pro-Trump and gun rights rallies in Michigan throughout the Trump presidency.
In Idaho, the protest garnered the support of Ammon Bundy, a far-right militia leader best known for his 2014 Bunkerville standoff with the Bureau of Land Management. In downtown Vancouver, a dozen protesters, including neo-Nazi Brian Ruhe, attended an April 12th protest. In San Diego, Roger Ogden, a far-Right organizer known for rallying against Chicano Park, also took a leading role in organizing a demonstration. Neo-Confederates continued their protests in Pittsboro, North Carolina, violating social distancing guidelines by grouping around their cars to talk. In Boston, the organizers of the Straight Pride Parade sponsored a convoy of approximately 15 cars, including members of violent far-right groups like the American Guard and Soldiers of Odin splinter cell the Patriot Saints. Local residents were not pleased with the group flouting public health recommendations, heckling the group as they passed. “Suck my dick,” yelled one passerby at the convoy.
Twitter researcher Thirteen Roses documented the presence of Philadelphia Proud Boys and Three Percenters in several Pennsylvania Facebook groups associated with the protests, including a Philadelphia Police Department Officer related to Zach Rehl, a leader in the Philadelphia Proud Boys.
Lansing protesters parked cars in the streets of the downtown, effectively gridlocking a local hospital and the surrounding streets. At least one member of the Proud Boys attended, flying a sign reading “Michigan Proud Boys” from his automobile. As reported by Wilson, the Lansing event was “heavily promoted by the Michigan Freedom Fund, a group linked to the Trump cabinet member Betsy DeVos” and:
[C]ounts among its donors “dark money”…linked to the Koch brothers [through] Donors Capital Fund, and Castle Rock, a foundation seeded with part of the fortune of Adolph Coors, the rightwing beer magnate.
The Facebook pages and websites calling for protests appear to be run by a collection of grifters cashing in on the zeitgeist, some of whom have little or no connection to the areas in which they’re scheduling protests, and many with long track records of shady fundraising. According to security watch-dog site, Kebs On Security:
The past few weeks have seen a large number of new domain registrations beginning with the word “reopen” and ending with U.S. city or state names. The largest number of them were created just hours after President Trump sent a series of all-caps tweets urging citizens to “liberate” themselves from new gun control measures and state leaders who’ve enacted strict social distancing restrictions in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
KrebsOnSecurity began this research after reading a fascinating Reddit thread over the weekend on several “reopen” sites that seemed to be engaged in astroturfing, which involves masking the sponsors of a message or organization to make it appear as though it originates from and is supported by grassroots participants.
The Reddit discussion focused on a handful of new domains — including reopenmn.com, reopenpa.com, and reopenva.com — that appeared to be tied to various gun rights groups in those states. Their registrations have roughly coincided with contemporaneous demonstrations in Minnesota, California and Tennessee where people showed up to protest quarantine restrictions over the past few days.
More importantly, the same code shows up on a number of other anti-gun control sites registered by the Dorr Brothers, real-life brothers who have created nonprofits (in name only) across dozens of states that are so extreme in their stance they make the National Rifle Association look like a liberal group by comparison.
This 2019 article at cleveland.com quotes several 2nd Amendment advocates saying the Dorr brothers simply seek “to stir the pot and make as much animosity as they can, and then raise money off that animosity.” The site dorrbrotherscams.com also is instructive here.
A number of other sites — such as reopennc.com — seem to exist merely to sell t-shirts, decals and yard signs with such slogans as “Know Your Rights,” “Live Free or Die,” and “Facts not Fear.” WHOIS records show the same Florida resident who registered this North Carolina site also registered one for New York — reopenny.com — just a few minutes later.
The Facebook pages for the Pennsylvanians Against Excessive Quarantine, Minnesotans Against Excessive Quarantine, and Ohioans Against Excessive Quarantine also appear to be run by the Dorr brothers, who have a history of direct mail fundraising for conservative causes – gun rights, the pro-life movement, etc. – and then funneling the money back to direct mail services owned by the brothers. The brothers also appear to own a series of domain names for “ReOpen” protests in seven different states.
“[I]f you live in California, Arizona or Colorado or if you have friends or family in those states, #OperationGridlock is being organized RIGHT NOW! Contact Bill Way at 970-672-0127 or email him at [email protected],” tweeted Mike Detmer, a Republican Congressional candidate who recently defended the Proud Boys after a photo controversy.
Bill Way runs livefree.com, a website that promises to teach participants to “learn to earn six-figures from anywhere in world” from the “tools, tactics, and training proven to build wealth,” according to a promotional YouTube video.
— Erin Gallagher (@3r1nG) April 19, 2020
Attempted Bombing at Jewish Assisted Living Facility in Massachusetts, Two Arrests Made
An "event” in a white supremacist group's online calendar was titled “jew killing day,” the location was listed as “Jew Nursery Home” and contained the message “FUCK JEWS,” according to a a federal affidavit. The event was ”accepted” by six other users. https://t.co/4m5liuioCZ
— Christopher Mathias (@letsgomathias) April 16, 2020
On March 18th, the FBI received screenshots of chats from a neo-Nazi discord server, The Holy Kaiserreich Reborn, indicating plans to attack a Jewish assisted living facility in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts. Randy Burrus of Assumption, Illinois, who also goes by the pseudonym “Martyrdom” on the discord server, planned the attack, originally suggested a mass shooting.
Like many on the far-Right, Burrus has a documented history of domestic violence, violating protective orders, and violence toward women. Burrus is also charged with illegal possession of firearms. Burrus was arrested on Wednesday April 15th, and appeared in Federal Court via teleconference on Thursday April 16th where he was formerly charged with possession of a firearm by a felon and with possession of a firearm after conviction for misdemeanor domestic violence.
On April 2, 2020, a partially burned five-gallon container of gasoline was found outside the East Longmeadow facility, along with a burned pamphlet on Christian conversion. John Michael Rathbun, 36, of East Longmeadow, was arrested on April 15 after his DNA was found on the device.
The Right Voice Co-Hosts Doxxed
Meanwhile, the Twitter account for The Right Voice has now set its tweets to protected and the podcast's website has been set to private.
…guess they saw the article. pic.twitter.com/VvfIpeQ2Tx
— Atlanta Antifascists (@afainatl) April 15, 2020
Atlanta Antifascists exposed Chris Burnham, Loudon County, Virginia, and Amanda Sproul, of Dublin, Georgia, as the hosts of The Right Voice, a white nationalist podcast launched in 2015. The podcast has hosted far-right figures like Richard Spencer and David Duke in the course of over 160 episodes.
Burnham is listed as the President of Burnham Communications, a satellite installation company in Round Hill, Virginia, and the Vice President of Hunt Valley Veterinary Service, Inc., also in Round Hill.
Sproul is a secretary at the Carl Vinson Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Dublin, Georgia. You can tweet to them at @VADublin, or you can call (478) 277-2701 to reach the Medical Center Director’s Office.
Zachary Tyler Brackett, Member of The Base, Natural Order, NSC-131 in Worcester, Massachusetts
1/ Say hello to Zachary Tyler Brackett, age 30, of Worcester, Massachusetts.
He's a neo-Nazi and a member of The Base, Natural Order, and NSC-131. He's a former member of Patriot Front.
He should be considered armed and dangerous, for reasons that I'll get into. pic.twitter.com/ueLQNUYPkV
— AntiFash Gordon (@AntiFashGordon) April 13, 2020
Zachary Tyle Brackett, 30, of Worcester, Massachusetts, was exposed as a member of neo-Nazi groups The Base, Natural Order, and NSC-131.
Prior to the fall of 2019, Brackett was a member of the neo-Nazi Patriot Front, until Patriot Front Network Directing Officer Chris Hood was kicked out of the group, allegedly for stealing organization funds to buy weed. Brackett left the group with Hood, at which point both men joined The Base, appearing in at least one propaganda photo for the group in the fall of 2019. By November 2019, Brackett was posting recruiting materials for The Base on his Facebook page.
Brackett was also a member of Natural Order, whose leader was revealed last week by Eugene Antifa to be 17-year-old Zephyr Garrison in Meredith, New Hampshire. Garrison planned for the group to take over the town of Sandwich, New Hampshire, by seizing empty vacation homes, in order to create a white ethnostate.
Brackett was identified by using the same display name on Facebook as in Telegram, and wearing the same jacket that he wore in Base propaganda photos that he wore for photos posted on his father’s Facebook page. While he removed personal photos from his profile and changed his Facebook display name to Herewald Von Warre, his Facebook URL still read “zachary.brackett.562.”
One hour after the dox was posted to Twitter, Brackett confirmed the dox on via a Facebook post. “You should make sure your url isn’t a name though lol,” one of his friends wrote.
“I didn’t even realize,” he commented.
Christopher Pohlhaus, Neo-Nazi in San Antonio, Texas
Hello everyone! Let's give a warm welcome to the Telegram neo-Nazi Christopher A. Pohlhaus of San Antonio, Texas, better known as "The Hammer". Chris runs a Telegram channel (which we won't name) that spreads openly genocidal and neo-Nazi content almost daily.
— Garfield but Anti-Fascist (@AntifaGarfield) April 15, 2020
Researcher Antifa Garfield released the identity of “The Hammer,” who runs a Telegram channel promoting neo-Nazi ideology and violence against marginalized people.
Christopher A. Polhaus, of San Antonio, Texas, is a tattoo artist at Creation Tattoo Company in San Antonio, Texas. If you wish to warn the company and/or potential customers, their Facebook page is here.
Jon Sumner, Proud Boy in Elmira, Massachusetts
We're hard at work identifying as many open fascists as we can who attended the Lansing Plague Festival yesterday. First up is Proud Boy Jon Sumner of Elmira, MI. pic.twitter.com/RsepxLPfEI
— Vigilant AFA (@AfaVigilant) April 16, 2020
Vigilant AFA released the identity of Proud Boy John Sumner, of Elmira, Michigan.
Sumner attended the Lansing gridlock protest, where far-right protesters blocked a hospital in protest of social distancing guidelines recommended to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
In March, Sumner offered what he claimed was a “large bounty” for the identities of the members of Vigilant AFA. In April, he was spotted on Facebook attempting to sell a Capriware Easter Platter, handpainted with bunnies, for $10 in a local Facebook group.
Sumner is the owner of Winfield Farm in Elmira, Michigan. If you wish to leave a review on their Facebook page, informing the community of his hate group ties, you may do so here.
Zachary Richard English, Proud Boy in Clare, Michigan
Happy belated 28th birthday to Proud Boy Zachary Richard English of Clare, MI! We were only off by five days, but wanted to make sure we got you this gift. pic.twitter.com/P4bUa2Zxhm
— Vigilant AFA (@AfaVigilant) April 19, 2020
Vigilant AFA also exposed Proud Boy Zachary Richard English, of Clare, Michigan.
English also attended the Lansing gridlock protest blocking a hospital last week, wearing the black-and-yellow Fred Perry used as a uniform by the Proud Boys, with “FAFO proudboysusa.com” written on the back window of his truck to advertise the group.
Like many people at the moment, English is currently laid off, so there’s no current call to action.
InfoWars Employees Owen Shroyer and Rob Dew Banned from Twitter
Infowars host Owen Shroyer was suspended from Twitter today.
Alex Jones and his outlet Infowars were kicked from Twitter in 2018, but many of the outlet's on air personalites remained. When I contacted Shroyer, he told me that Twitter did not give reason for the suspension.
— Jared Holt (@jaredlholt) April 16, 2020
InfoWars host Owen Shroyer was banned from Twitter this week, after encouraging his fans to rally in Austin, in violation of social distancing guidelines.
InfoWars News Director Rob Dew was also banned from Twitter.
US Navy Boots Atomwaffen Sailor
Update: The U.S. Navy has removed a sailor exposed in the Iron March forum leak as a recruiter for neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division in a @Gizmodo investigation by me and @dmehro https://t.co/So9tzoAutc
— lvl 45 covid potus (@thetomzone) April 17, 2020
David Cole Tarkington, was kicked out of the Navy this week, after being exposed as a member of the Atomwaffen Division, a neo-Nazi group linked to five murders in the US, by a March 2020 Gizmodo investigation.
On the neo-Nazi Iron March forums, Tarkington used the pseudonym The Yank, where he recruited members for AWD, including former leader John Cameron Denton.
Call to Action
Deplatform Quarantine Protest Groups
Nurses blocking anti lockdown protests in Denver is the kind of bad assery that we all should aspire to pic.twitter.com/zkMZaANSk4
— keyvan (کیوان)🌹 (@shafieikeyvan) April 19, 2020
We have no faith in the State to stop or even contain the virus. From China to the US, governments worldwide have attempted to silence and confuse the broader population while protecting the economy. This same stance holds true today, as Trump is now pushing for a “return to work.” This will only accelerate the deaths of workers on the frontline, disproportionately of color, and those who are medically most at risk. While Trump has worked to transfer trillions of our money to bailout corporations, many of us haven’t even gotten our pitiful stimulus checks. Backed by powerful foundations and Right leaning billionaires, like the Tea Party, the recent wave of far-Right demonstrations to “open” the economy simply echo this push. The far-Right continues to paint Trump as a savior and “socialism” as the enemy, while the State fleeces its rank-n-file out of trillions of dollars in the service of big corporations and banks and pushes them back to work in the midst of an exploding pandemic.
Since the COVID-19 crisis began, the far-Right has sought to take advantage of the chaos. While local anarchist, autonomous, and abolitionist organizations concentrate on mutual aid, delivering food and homemade hand sanitizer, far-Right groups have staged attacks on hospitals, assisted living facilities, and even made plans to seize the town of Sandwich, New Hampshire, creating an all-white ethnostate.
In the past week, the far-Right has taken to a new tactic – public demonstrations against public health guidelines. As detailed above, the protests have often taken the form of blocking hospitals, which the far-Right believes is either responsible for new restrictions on gatherings, or else engaged in a massive conspiracy to restrict Constitutional freedoms.
While the classic Points of Unity long held by antifascist groups such as Anti-Racist Action demand that we confront the far-Right wherever they organize, we can’t ethically demand that our comrades gather to confront these rallies in-person. Any mass antifascist gathering would mean infection.
In the United States, the death rate of known cases hovers around 4.3%, but those numbers may be higher or lower, depending on access to medical care. Statistically, any mass gathering in sufficient numbers would mean that someone would die. Fascism has always been a death cult, and the public gatherings make that evident. The organizers of these protests – some true believers, some grifters – are more than happy to throw their followers on the corpse-fire of their quest for power.
But we can still disrupt their organizing. The protests center around social media pages, usually on Facebook. This week, we can disrupt far-Right organizing by mass reporting the Facebook pages spreading COVID-19 misinformation and putting our communities at risk by organizing live events.
Below is a list of the most active COVID-19 protest groups on Facebook, listed in alphabetical order by name of state. Find your state and report the groups active there, then share this list with friends and ask them to do the same. Though Facebook has yet to offer an official tool to report COVID-19 misinformation, the company’s VP of Integrity issued a blog post on Thursday, claiming that the company is tracking the potentially dangerous posts.
Support Our Prisoners
- Support Gage Halupowski! Currently serving a six year sentence. More info here.
- Support David Campbell! Currently serving a year. More info here.
- Support Eric King! Anarchist and antifascist prisoner who has been targeted by the State and neo-Nazi inmates for being ‘ANTIFA.’ More info here. Donate here.