Filed under: Featured, This Week in Fascism
Welcome fellow antifascists!
Today on This Week in Fascism, we report on how far-Right Trump supporters connected to the storming of the capitol in DC disrupted a COVID-19 vaccine distribution site in LA last weekend; how the Proud Boys have started to break apart following their leader, Enrique Tarrio, being outed as a “prolific snitch,” and how a Montana neo-Nazi now faces massive fines after organizing a “robocall” campaign.
We’ve got lots of other news stories plus doxxes and ways to support prisoners – so without further ado, let’s dive in!
Far-Right Conspiracy Theorists Linked to Storming of Capitol Blockade Distribution of COVID-19 Vaccines in Los Angeles
Siaka Massaquoi, who helped shut down the largest vaccination site in the US today, is one of several Beverly Hills Trump rally participants who attended the Capitol riot in DC on January 6th. Here he is with Philip Anderson in DC. pic.twitter.com/fCFm8x0uWB
— Chad Loder (@chadloder) January 31, 2021
A group of about 30-50 far-Right, pro-Trump conspiracy theorists protested outside of Dodger stadium last Saturday, causing police to shut down the main entrance to a COVID-19 vaccine distribution hub. The hands-off nature of the police in the face of the group shutting down access to a life-saving vaccine again shows the degree in which the State is willing to give the far-Right a free pass. The group shouted, carried signs and handed out pamphlets to folks who’s car windows were down while they were in line to be vaccinated. All of the protesters were unmasked.
The LA Times reports:
Confirmed coronavirus cases in California have surpassed 3.2 million. More than 40,000 people — one out of every 1,000 Californians — have died from complications of COVID-19. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s official death toll stands at 16,647 after 316 fatalities were confirmed Saturday, along with more than 6,900 new cases.
Included within the crowd was a variety of far-Right grifters, Qano followers, and activists from across the Southern California area and beyond, many of whom have been involved in recent far-Right rallies against curfews and lock-downs. One such rally took place on January 5th, when far-Right groups protested inside of the Century City mall, forcing their way into stores, clashing with customers while not wearing masks.
It looks like Benjamin Patino, the LA-based Trump supporter who was detained by the FBI for threatening to shoot up a school if Biden won, was also there at today’s anti-vaxx protest. https://t.co/tTuzwlHmGZ pic.twitter.com/aYX7lMJTfS
— Chad Loder (@chadloder) January 31, 2021
Among those in attendance at the rally outside of Dodger stadium was former Republican candidate Omar Navarro, who has been linked to street gangs like the Proud Boys and the Rise Above Movement. Other attendees included Benjamin Patino, an LA-based far-Right Trump supporter who threatened to shoot up a school if Biden won the 2020 election as well as numerous individuals who took part in the storming of the US capitol on January 6th. For a deep dive, check out this thread from Chad Loder.
This LA-area anti-lockdown protestor, Daniel J. Rodriguez of Fontana, CA, is on video smashing windows inside the US Capitol on Jan 6th. https://t.co/KjEDw8M1fE
— Chad Loder (@chadloder) January 30, 2021
According to The Daily Beast:
Navarro was one of approximately 50 people to protest vaccinations outside the stadium, one of the largest such sites in America, this weekend. The group temporarily shut down access to the location—though officials said the measure was purely a precautionary one.
Their ranks were filled with fringe figures who had also recently attended other far-right actions, like anti-mask raids at shopping centers and the Jan. 6 rally that preceded the attack on the nation’s Capitol. The Los Angeles anti-mask events, in particular, have drawn criticism as opponents contrasted the light police response with the force targeted at racial justice protests last year.
Authorities, including Los Angeles Fire Department officials, temporarily stopped admitting drivers in response to the Saturday afternoon protest, a police spokesperson told The Daily Beast. They added that none of the protesters broke the law, and that no arrests were made.
Still, people waiting for vaccinations described the demonstration—in which marchers waved disinformation-rich signs about masks and vaccines, both of which are proven to be safe and effective—as the latest complication in the administrative nightmare of securing a shot.
Proud Boys Indicted for Conspiracy Over January 6th Capitol Occupation
On Friday January 29th, Dominic Pezzola and William Pepe of New York were indicted in D.C. federal court for charges of conspiracy, disorderly and disruptive conduct in restricted buildings or grounds, and civil disorder. Pezzola is facing several additional charges related to his involvement in the J6 riots, including additional counts of civil disorder; assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers; and destruction of government property. Both men are active members in the far-Right street gang the Proud Boys.
From the Department of Justice:
According to the indictment, Pezzola and Pepe engaged in a conspiracy to obstruct, influence, impede, and interfere with law enforcement officers engaged in their official duties in protecting the U.S. Capitol and its grounds on Jan. 6, 2021. It is alleged that Pezzola and Pepe took actions to evade and render ineffective the protective equipment deployed by Capitol Police in active riot control measures, including actions to remove temporary metal barricades erected by the Capitol Police for the purpose of controlling access to the Capitol Grounds, and the stealing and purloining of property belonging to Capitol Police.
VICE first identified Pezzola by his alias “Spazzo,” and noted his presence at the December 12th Million Maga March in D.C., during which a Black church was vandalized and four individuals were stabbed. In that piece, VICE writes:
The Proud Boys typically move around public demonstrations like a small army, flooding entire blocks in their trademark black and yellow colors. But on this day, their strategy was to avoid detection. Their self-styled “chairman,” Enrique Tarrio, had ordered the Proud Boys to go “incognito” and dress in plain clothes, so while they were central to the planning, inciting, and execution of the insurrection that led to five deaths, their role was not immediately obvious from the video disseminated from the scene.
Pezzola, a former marine, allegedly stole a riot shield from a police officer, and can be seen in a widely-viewed video clip using the shield to smash one of the Capitol windows. Sources say he was the first protester to breach the Capitol Building effectively enough to allow protestsers to enter.
Alan Feuer notes that Pezzola was observed wearing a communications device in his ear.
NEW: Prosecutors unseal conspiracy charges against Proud Boys Dominic "Spaz" Pezzola and William Pepe. No paperwork yet. pic.twitter.com/oCzKdrur7M
— Alan Feuer (@alanfeuer) January 30, 2021
According to Democrat & Chronicle, FBI agents discovered a thumb drive containing manuals on how to make firearms, improvised explosives, and poisons in Pezzola’s home. Pezzola and associates who participated in the siege later stated that they had intended to kill Nancy Pelosi and Mike Pence on January 6th. They planned to return to Washington D.C. on inauguration day and claimed to have access to firearms, according to court documents.
Proud Boy leader Ethan “Rufio Panaman” Nordean was also arrested recently for his role in the attempted coup in DC on January 6th. Internally, the Proud Boys also seem to be in disarray, as over the last week, numerous Proud Boy chapters have attempted to distance themselves from the national leadership.
Oklahoma Proud Boys also break from the national organization following Capitol insurrection and Tarrio revelations. pic.twitter.com/AoMV7TCAB9
— Devin Burghart (@dburghart) February 4, 2021
In an even bigger hit to the far-Right street gang, the Canadian government has recently declared that it will list the Proud Boys along with Atomwaffen Division and the Base as terrorist groups.
Montana Neo-Nazi Receives $10 Million Fine by FCC for Racist, Antisemitic Robocalls
Scott D. Rhodes, 51, of Libby, Montana has been fined $9.9 million from the Federal Communications Commission for placing a series of harassing, fascist phone calls in 2018, to tens of thousands of residents in eight different states.
One key reason for the steep fine is Rhodes’ use of “neighbor spoofing,” in which the caller makes it appear as though they are calling from a local phone number. Spoofed robocalls “used with the intent to defraud, cause harm or cheat recipients” are a violation of the Truth in Caller ID Act, according to Ajit Pai.
Rhodes first made headlines in Idaho after he placed racist propaganda around a high school parking lot in late 2017, the culmination of a large campaign of fascist flyering whose targets included the mayor and other politicians, journalists, and members of local non-profits. The Sandpoint Reader reported that he was also under investigation in Alexandria, VI for sending a threatening recording of Adolf Hitler to politicians in the area, and for an incident of racist harassment against a Black man.
Later, he made 34,000 robocalls promoting his fascist podcast, 5,000 of which were illegal. Following the murder of Molly Tibbetts, a tragedy widely exploited by the far-Right after an undocumented Mexican immigrant was charged for the crime, Rhodes sent 8000 violently racist calls to residents of her hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa. Racist calls attacking Black gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum were sent do Florida, while similar messages against Stacy Abrams were made to Georgia residents.
Finally, in late 2018, during neo-Nazi killer James Fields’ trial for the death of Heather Heyer, Scott Rhodes, made 2,000 robocalls to Charlottesville, VA spreading conspiracy theories about Heyer’s killing. According to the FCC, this case could be referred to the Department of Justice if Rhodes fails to pay the fine within 30 days.
Three Percenter Supporter Charged for Possession of Pipe Bombs
Ian Benjamin Rogers, 43, of Napa, CA was charged with possession of five pipe bombs on Tuesday January 26th. During a search of Rogers’ business, an auto repair shop, FBI officers discovered the explosives along with several firearms, black powder, pipes, and manuals including The Anarchist Cookbook, U.S. Army Improvised Munitions Handbook, and Homemade C-4: A Recipe for Survival. The suspect’s home was also searched, and a total of 49 guns were seized, as well as thousands of rounds of ammunition. According to court documents, Rogers maintains that the bombs “were for entertainment purposes only.”
UPDATE: Ian Benjamin Rogers, charged by @USAO_NDCA w/having these 5 pipe bombs, believed Trump won, spoke of attacking @Twitter @Facebook & Dems like Gov. @GavinNewsom, per @FBISanFrancisco, adding Rogers had this “3 percenter” sticker on vehicle & “White Privilege Card” pic.twitter.com/rUF5stQ0hP
— Henry K. Lee (@henrykleeKTVU) January 28, 2021
Officers discovered a Three Percenters sticker on Rogers’ vehicle, and a mock credit card that read, “What Privilege Card, Trumps Everything.” Text messages on his phone revealed that he believes that Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election, and that he intended to attack Democrats and Democratic party property “to ensure Trump remained in office.”
Rogers is being held on $5 million bail as he awaits trial.
Proud Boy Chairman Turns Out to be a ‘Prolific’ Federal Informant
On January 27th, Reuters dropped an article announcing that the far-Right street gang the Proud Boys’ reckless leader Enrique Tarrio, has a history of working as a federal informant that resulted in convictions of over a dozen individuals. This news comes as no surprise given the history of white supremacists working with the feds to avoid lengthy prison sentences of their own, including white supremacist blogger Hal Turner, Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan Bill Wilkinson, Kevin Roach of the Aryan Brotherhood, among others.
Indiana Proud Boys announce break with national chair Enrique Tarrio and his allies over informant controversy. pic.twitter.com/kZWsHydFdw
— IREHR (@IREHR) February 2, 2021
According to the Reuters article, court transcripts, and statements from law enforcement, Tarrio’s lawyer’s and the judge presiding over the cases wherein which he participated as an informant, Tarrio assisted in providing testimony that took down several marijuana grow operations, a handful of prescription fraud schemes, and a human smuggling case. Tarrio’s participation helped in the prosecution and federal charges of 13 individuals. When Reuters reached out to Tarrio, his response was, “I don’t know any of this. I don’t recall any of this.”
Law-enforcement officials and the court transcript contradict Tarrio’s denial. In a statement to Reuters, the former federal prosecutor in Tarrio’s case, Vanessa Singh Johannes, confirmed that “he cooperated with local and federal law enforcement, to aid in the prosecution of those running other, separate criminal enterprises, ranging from running marijuana grow houses in Miami to operating pharmaceutical fraud schemes.”
Tarrio’s then-lawyer Jeffrey Feiler said in court that his client had worked undercover in numerous investigations, one involving the sale of anabolic steroids, another regarding “wholesale prescription narcotics” and a third targeting human smuggling. He said Tarrio helped police uncover three marijuana grow houses, and was a “prolific” cooperator.
In 2018, Tarrio became the Chairman of the Proud Boys, and has been a key organizer in a handful of violent events including the Million MAGA March in November and then again in December in DC where Proud Boys stabbed counter-protesters and tore Black Lives Matter banners from historic Black churches and burned them, and then the January 6th White Riot on the nations Capitol. When Tarrio entered DC in January, he was arrested with two high-capacity magazines as well as for his participation in burning the Black Lives Matter banners in December. He was ordered to leave the city and not return until his court date in June.
Jewish Voice for Peace Circulate Petition in Response to Proposed Facebook Ban of Term “Zionist”
Jewish Voice for Peace in collaboration with a handful of other organizations, is leading the charge to keep Facebook from banning the use of the term “Zionist” according to a petition that was recently circulated from Jewish Voice for Peace’ Twitter account. Per the petition, the reason for the word ban is due to the use of “Zionist” in place of Jew or Jewish. The push for such a ban is in part, due to pressure from the Israeli government to censor opposition of it’s violence toward Palestinians. Further, a simple word ban is not only reductive but will likely have harmful consequences for those voicing concerns about hate speech, antisemitism, and would prevent Palestinian voices from being able to speak out about the harm caused by the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the way this occupation impacts the everyday lives of Palestinian people.
According to the petition:
The current Israeli government, and some of its supporters, have demanded that Facebook add “Zionist” to its hate speech policy – this would shut down conversations about accountability for policies and actions that harm Palestinians.
Other examples of censorship by the Israeli government have shown up in working definitions of antisemitism, and the way organizations and governments attempt to codify and legislate it. For example, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition has been widely adopted but has brought up concerns about how it’s definition is used to censor criticism and opposition of Israel. Additionally, JVP states that:
The IHRA definition conflates antisemitism with holding the Israeli government accountable for rights violations, stifling protected political speech that is necessary for healthy, open discussions about foreign policy and human rights.
The petition has garnered over 20,000 signatures and is growing. When reporters for The Verge reached out to Facebook about the policy and the proposed changes, they responded with, “Just as we do with all of our policies regularly, we are independently engaging with experts and stakeholders to ensure that this policy is in the right place, but this does not mean we will change our policy.”
Tacoma Cop Plows Through Community Members, Sending Two to Hospital; Police Union Refuses to Accept Any Amount of Accountability
Journalists + blue checks pushing long tired narrative that street clashes + property destruction are imported from other cities to #Tacoma and "new" to protests there. A lie. After George Floyd was murdered, demonstrators there looted stores, smashed windows + blocked freeways. pic.twitter.com/ElSg2Bsmbh
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) January 25, 2021
In the late hours of January 23rd, Tacoma Police responded to calls about a sideshow – people in vehicles doing burnouts and donuts. A local Fox News affiliate reports that around 100 people were observing the events. When the police cruiser arrived, spectators immediately surrounded it and according to reports, began pounding on the windows – a totally understandable response to the ominous and foreboding presence of cops in community spaces. In an act of reckless violence, the officer then plowed his vehicle through the crowd of community members, hitting several and hospitalizing two. The footage of the incident is horrifying.
In response to this atrocity, the officer was immediately placed on administrative leave, as per standard protocol. The article states:
“I am concerned that our department is experiencing another use-of-deadly-force incident,” interim Tacoma Police Chief Mike Ake said in the statement. “I send my thoughts to anyone who was injured in tonight’s event, and am committed to our Department’s full cooperation in the independent investigation and to assess the actions of the department’s response during the incident.”
Apparently the officer, Officer Khanh Phan, reports fearing for his life in those moments and also expressed concern that the police cruisers windows would be broken and he then reacted out of fear. This type of response is not unusual for police, who take the frequent “shoot first, ask questions later” approach to managing their own distress while responding to calls.
Another article reports police union officials released a statement saying:
“With one hand, the city touts that it called for an independent investigation of the incident that occurred downtown Saturday night, with the other hand, the city passes judgment on the involved officer and all Tacoma police officers by again implying wrongdoing and criminality spurred by racist tendencies.”
Predictably, union officials in Tacoma are frustrated with push back and virtually any negative responses, critiques or challenges to policing or decisions from law enforcement, whether those opinions come from city officials or community members. Police Unions aren’t known for their transparency or accountability.
Angry community members gathered to protest the following night, breaking windows, writing graffiti, and rallying outside of the local jail. Outrage continues to fester across the country in response to racist and deadly policing and the complete lack of accountability that has served to protect law enforcement agencies who police with impunity.
Joe Sitosky, Proud Boy of Mogadore/Ravenna, OH
9/ ⚠️ACTION ITEM⚠️
Please KINDLY reach out to @OCModeling and let them know one of their models participated in the coup/insurrection in Washington, DC on 1/6. Ask them if they plan on continuing to work with Joe Sitosky the DC insurrectionist. pic.twitter.com/RPKsoZeUfq
— Antifascist Trash Panda ↙️↙️↙️🦝 (@trashpandaAFA) January 26, 2021
Joseph Sitosky of Ohio is an Ohio Proud Boy who was president at the January 6th Capitol siege. Joe, who uses the alias Joe Spadaro, recorded himself climbing the scaffolding outside of the building and shared the videos and photographs on his Facebook page. A believer in the QAnon conspiracy theory, his Facebook bio reads “WWG1WGA,” and he is also a fan of InfoWars. He also volunteers for the Portage County Ohio Republicans, and posts pictures of his firearms on social media.
Sitosky is an adult film actor employed by OC Modeling. Antifa Trash Panda requests that you contact the business and inform them that their employee took part in the Capitol riots. You can view more info in their full thread here.
Mark E. Smith, Proud Boy of Ravenna, OH
1/ Meet Mark E Smith, 50, of Ravenna, OH. Mark was part of the riot that did the insurrection at the U.S. capitol 1/6 in Washington DC. Thanks to a couple tips we were able to place Mark with several Ohio Proud Boys at the U.S. capitol.
Welcome to hell, Mark! pic.twitter.com/wjFFm8G89K
— Antifascist Trash Panda ↙️↙️↙️🦝 (@trashpandaAFA) January 27, 2021
Mark Smith, 50, of Ravenna, OH is an associate of the Ohio Proud Boys. Smith was seen in Washington D.C. at the January 6th Captiol occupation with members of the “Western Chauvinist” hate group, including Joe Sitosky (below). A former member of the Crips, Smith goes by the nicknames Moeloco Venice and Big Moe.
Smith, himself a Black man, has some very bizarre and troubling beliefs, reflected in his social media posts. One post on his Facebook page reads “Black People are so evil!!,” and another states that “Blacks in America are the true Jews, who killed Jesus.” He also believes that he is a reincarnation of Captain Moroni, Nephite commander from the Book of Mormon.
Antifa Trash Panda notes that Smith has a record of domestic violence and is a danger to the community. The researchers request that folks share their thread to raise awareness.
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