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Feb 9, 21

This Week in Fascism #95: Greene Around the Gills

Welcome fellow antifascists!

We have some big stories for you this week. First, an update on fascist and Qanon aligned Republican Marjorie Greene, a story about a Republican strategist recently arrested on child pornography charges, how ICE is threatening detainees with COVID-19, more information on collusion between the Oath Keepers and Trump world, and more problems for Kyle Rittenhouse. Plus doxxes and an updated antifascist prisoner list!

With so much to cover – let’s dive in!

News

Qanon Supporting Republican Marjorie Greene Linked to Far-Right Groups Doubles Down as House Votes to Remove Them from Committee Assignments

On Thursday February 4th, the House of Representatives voted to remove congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene from the House Education and Labor Committee and the House Budget Committee. Greene, a promoter of the QAnon conspiracy theory and Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud, faced calls for resignation after Media Matters reported that Greene agreed with a Facebook comment that called the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting a false flag operation. A later report by CNN’s KFile revealed that she had “liked” posts on Facebook that promoted the execution of Democratic politicians and FBI agents in 2018 and 2019. In April 2018, she suggested that “the stage [was] being set” for the execution of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, a common belief of QAnon proponents at that time. She also referred to Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg as “#littleHitler” and a “bought and paid little pawn.” In January 2019, she created a White House petition called “Impeach Nancy Pelosi for crimes of Treason!” and liked posts that suggested the House Speaker should be killed. She also expressed agreement with comments that the Sandy Hook massacre was staged.

After being criticized by Nancy Pelosi for these comments, Greene’s office released a statement that read, “Democrats and their spokesmen in the Fake News Media will stop at nothing to defeat conservative Republicans. They are coming after me because I’m a threat to their goal of Socialism.” Ahead of the House’s vote on Thursday, Greene gave a speech in which she expressed remorse for some of her more egregious remarks, but also blamed “cancel culture” for the criticism she faced, and claimed that she was being taken out of context by the media.

The recent media coverage of Greene’s promotion of QAnon and other conspiracy theories centers around social media posts from 2018 and 2019, however the representative has continued to promote QAnon openly as recently as December, as Travis View notes on Twitter.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

The QAnon movement hinges on the idea, informed by centuries of false anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, that the secret mission of Donald Trump’s presidency was to imprison and execute the Democratic and centrist politicians who allegedly make up a massive “cabal” of Satanists and pedophiles – and what better way to stop them than by running for office and joining the government! Change that Satanic pedophile ring – from the inside!

But, in the face of recent reporting, while Greene may have walked back some of her more outlandish remarks, all evidence points to the fact that she still subscribes to this violent, fascist ideology. And, as groups like Atlanta Antifascists have pointed out way before Greene was elected, Greene has long been tied to local far-Right, white nationalist, and fascist formations, showing that in a post-Trump world, Republicans are still willing to bloc with the far-Right.

Oathkeepers Spotted Acting as Security for Stone, Other Trump Aides

Hundreds of doxxes have emerged as antifascists, liberals, and investigators have begun to comb through footage of the January 6th White Riot at the U.S. Capitol. In the wake of the attempted DC Authoritarian Zone, it has become more apparent that Trump surrogates of higher profile were also present in DC on that day – one of which is noteable racist and Trump confidant Roger Stone. Stone’s connections to the far-right have been well documented over the years. In an ABCNews video published on Raw Story, Trump supporters gathered around Stone outside of the DC hotel he was presumably staying at. Stone’s security detail was comprised of a handful of Oath Keepers, a far-Right militia who’s membership includes former and active law enforcement, as well as military. They were founded in 2009 by Stewart Rhodes and have since been involved in everything from acting as an auxiliary police force to the State during the uprising in Ferguson (because nothing says anti-government like putting down a Black insurgency) to providing security for white nationalist speakers like Lauren Southern and Baked Alaska in Berkeley.

This also isn’t the first time the Oath Keepers have provided private security for Trump’s top supporters. According to an article for the Daily Beast, Oath Keeper Rob Minuta not only provided security for Roger Stone on January 6th, but also for former Trump aide and QAnon promoter Michael Flynn at the December 12th rally in DC. The events from that day would lead to neo-fascist thugs terrorizing the streets of downtown DC; stabbing antifascist counter-protesters and ripping down Black Lives Matter banners from historic Black churches and burning them in what has been described as modern day cross-burnings. In the lead up to these events, members of the Oath Keepers also joined with the Proud Boys, InfoWars grifters like Alex Jones, and white nationalist “Groypers” led by Unite the Right marcher Nick Fuentes, to a variety of ‘Stop the Steal’ rallies held outside of various state capitols.

At a November 14th Million Maga March in Washington D.C., Minuta was spotted acting as security for InfoWars host and conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones. One photograph from the January 6th rally shows the Oath Keeper standing next to Dominic Pezzola outside of the Capitol, the Proud Boy and ex-Marine who now faces conspiracy charges for his role in the siege of the building.

Adam Rawnsley, writing for The Daily Beast, states that Minuta’s connections with the Oath Keepers dates back to the spring of 2020, when founder Stewart Rhodes promoted an anti-lockdown protest at Minuta’s New York tattoo shop, Casa di Dolore. Minuta violated the state’s COVID-19 regulations by reopening the shop in May. Interviews from this period reveal that the militia member considered moving his family to another state to avoid vaccine mandates. Upon the shop’s reopening, Stewart Rhodes was the first customer, getting the phrase “We the people” emblazoned on his arm.

Kenosha Killer Violates Bond Conditions, Fires Attorney

On Wednesday, prosecutors filed a motion asking Judge Bruce Schroeder to issue an arrest warrant and increase bond by $200,000 after Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse failed to inform the court of his address change, violating the terms of his release from jail. Rittenhouse’s lawyers have stated that the 18-year-old has been living in an “undisclosed safe house” after receiving death threats. The legal team offered to disclose the address if prosecutors agreed to keep it private, but this was rejected by Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger.

From The Washington Post:

In a three-page motion filed Wednesday afternoon, prosecutors in Kenosha County alleged Rittenhouse had “minimal incentive to comply with his bond conditions” because his $2 million bond had been paid by a “dubious Internet fundraising campaign.”

This is the 2nd time prosecutors have attempted to modify Rittenhouse’s bond conditions. In mid-January, footage surfaced showing Rittenhouse drinking at a bar with his mother and a group of men who appeared to be Proud Boys. He was photographed flashing the “OK” symbol (a gesture popularized by the alt-right that means “white power”), and his companions were caught on video singing “Proud of Your Boy,” the Proud Boy’s theme song. Following this incident, district attorneys asked the judge to prohibit Rittenhouse from entering bars, drinking alcohol, and associating with white supremacist groups.

On Monday, Rittenhouse also fired John Pierce, the attorney responsible for raising the killer’s $2 million bond. Pierce stepped away from the criminal case in December after he was criticized for promoting Linn Wood’s FightBack Foundation, deemed a “slush fund” for the case by the prosecution. He remained Rittenhouse’s attorney for civil matters.

Rittenhouse’s bail hearing will take place next week.

ICE Threatened Detainees with COVID-19 Exposure

According to The Intercept, asylum-seekers from Cameroon detained at an ICE facility in Louisiana were told that if they did not submit to deportation that they would be transferred to the COVID-19-positive ward of the jail. According to detainees at the Pine Prairie ICE Processing Center, five asylum-seekers were violently dragged, pushed, and threatened until they submitted to deportation. The men also report being held at a overcrowded, unsanitary staging center, where social distancing was impossible. According to The Guardian, the deportation flight was cancelled after reports of abuse surfaced.

The Intercept notes that these migrants had fled the murderous and genocidal Francophone regime in Cameroon, which has targetted and repressed supporters of the Anglophone seperatist movement. Despite the dire situation, the United States’ asylum grant rate for Cameroonians dropped nearly 20% between 2019 and 2020, and many Cameroonians have faced mass deportation, followed by detainment and torture in their home country.

After a Texas judge granted an injunction on Biden’s 100-day deportation moratorium, ICE immediately ramped up deportations again. In the follow days, another ICE detainee reported that a group of asylum-seekers from Cuba were also threatened with exposure to COVID-19. Jusiel Mendez, who was held at the Etowah County Detention Center in Alabama, said that an official at the jail threatened to send him and others to the quarantine ward if they refused to sign deportation orders. Medez said that he had already caught COVID-19 at the facility, and did not recieve the proper care. Two others in this group had medical conditions that put them at high risk of complications from COVID. One stated that he had heard the guards claim that the virus was not real. ​​​​​​​

It is important to note that during the Biden administration, ICE has found a way to continue to legally deport asylum-seekers to war zones, where they face state repression, torture, and death. As liberals and centrists relax and become complacent, falsely believing that Biden’s presidency signals a return to some baseline of trustworthiness and justice, the left must stay alert and continue to resist white supremacist state violence in all its forms.

Former Trump Aide Charged with Distributing Child Pornography

Content warning: This write-up contains disturbing content referencing rape, pedophilia, and abuse of infants.

According to The Daily Beast, Ruben A. Verastigui was arrested on Friday by D.C. Metropolitan Police for possession and distribution of child pornography. Verastigui is a 27-year-old from Northeast, DC. The arrest was originally announced by Jared Holt on Twitter (content warnings apply).

Verastigui was employed by the Senate Republican Conference until July of 2020, and worked for Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions until he was arrested and fired this week. In 2017 and 2018, Verastigui worked for the Republican National Committee, helping to manage the social media ads for Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. and the Trump Make America Great Again Committee. He has also worked for several anti-choice groups, and spoke at the 2013 National March for Life. Verastigui’s involvement in anti-abortion activism is especially disturbing considering that the investigation uncovered videos and photos depicting sexual abuse of babies.

Verastigui was distributing these images and videos during the time that he worked for the Senate Republican Conference as a digital stragetist. The investigation also revealed that he had invited another person to Washington D.C. to sexually abuse a minor.

Doxxes

Paul Bonnen and Donovan Sagan of Mid-Valley OR

(Content warning: Twitter thread contains graphic images that some may find triggering.)

Corvallis Against Fascism has identified two neo-Nazis organizing in their region: Paul Bonnen of Corvallis, and Donovan Sagan, who was last spotted in Albany. They are members of the National Socialist Black Metal band Xenocide.

Paul Bonnen is a former member of the violent white supremacist gang Volksfront, which originated in the Oregon prison system in the 1990s. The group has been tied to several hate crimes including Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting, which led to their dissolution. Paul has played in several Oregon NSBM bands, writing songs with titles such as “White Alliance Against Z.O.G.” and “Jew’s Last Breath.” A registered sex offender, Bonnen was sentenced to two years probation in 2012 for raping a 16-year-old. He is currently living in motels in Newport, Corvallis, and Monmouth, and drives an old green van.

Donovan Sagan is a neo-Nazi from Temecula, CA. In screenshots of a Facebook Messenger conversation that previously circulated online, Sagan states that he wants to form a band that will outdo GG Allin and feature “rape, child molestation, scat, blood, racism, etc.” These messages also feature photos of Sagan’s torso, covered in self-inflicted wounds, and many disturbing references to self-mutilation.

Bonnen and Sagan both run a white supremacist record label called Vineland Elite Circle. They put out records by explicitly fascist bands, and sell merchandise that features swastikas, images of Adolf Hitler, and other overt nazi symbolism.

Thanks to Corvallis Against Fascism’s thread, Wix has already been contacted and Vineland Elite Circle’s website has been taken down. The crew also requests that tips on Bonnen and Sagan’s whereabouts be sent to [email protected].

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This Week in Fascism

A weekly roundup of the latest and greatest happenings in the anti-fascist world. Each column features a roundup of news, actions, doxxes and current calls to action.

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