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Mar 3, 21

This Week in Fascism #98: The GOP Doubles Down on Trumpism, Voter Suppression, and White Nationalism

Welcome fellow antifascists!

We’ve got a lot of ground to cover today. First, a look at the recent CPAC and AFPAC conferences and what the GOP’s continued embrace of Trumpism, voter suppression and connections to far-Right groups means, then, a US diplomat is caught running a far-Right Christian Nationalist blog, finally, a Trump supporter who stole Pelosi’s laptop from the Capitol on J6 turns out of be raging neo-Nazi. Also, Gab gets hacked and updates on prisoners, more stories, doxxes, and much more!

We got a lot to cover so lets jump into it!

News:

Paul Gosar Attends White Nationalist “Groyper” Conference; CPAC Doubles Down on Trumpism

Last weekend saw the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which has long been a venue for both mainstream and far-Right activists to network and build their influence within the Republican party and its adjacent organizations, from the NRA to Turning Point USA. While in past years CPAC has made an attempt to draw the line between itself and the Alt-Right, banning or kicking out individuals such as Milo Yiannopoulos, Richard Spencer, and Nick Fuentes, at the same time it has allowed some individuals directly connected to those movements to take the stage. This year and ironically under the banner of “American Uncancelled,” CPAC even removed the anti-Semitic content creator Young Pharaoh from speaking at the event, while other far-Right individuals were welcomed with open arms.

In the recent past this has included blow-hards like Michelle Malkin and this year Matt Gatez, former anti-Muslim activist Scott Pressler, Angela Stanton King who promoted Qanon in her speech, and Paul Gosar, the later who spoke at the adjacent American First Political Action Conference (AFPAC), held at the Hilton in Orlando and now in its second year, is an attempt to pull younger CPAC goers into the white nationalist “Groyper” movement. Proud Boy leader Enrique Tarrio was showed up to putter around outside of CPAC, however he did not go inside.

According to the Huffington Post:

Arizona Reps. Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs, both of whom helped organize the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally, are CPAC panelists this year. Gosar has ties to the far-right militia Oath Keepers, whose members were deeply involved in the storming of the Capitol. The leader of an Arizona chapter recently claimed Gosar once told Oath Keepers that America was already in a civil war. “We just haven’t started shooting yet,” Gosar allegedly said. (The congressman has yet to respond to this claim.)

Gosar’s extremist resume is long. He once traveled to London to speak at a rally in support of a jailed anti-Muslim activist; he went to Nevada to support far-right militiamen in an armed standoff with federal authorities; and he’s posed for a photo with a member of the neo-fascist Proud Boys, another group with a large presence at the insurrection. Gosar will be speaking on a CPAC panel Saturday called “Sell Outs: The Devaluing of American Citizenship.”

Paul Gosar himself is no stranger to building coalitions with the far-Right. During the protests that erupted in Arizona as the votes were being counted following the 2020 election, Gosar joined Mike Cernovich and Alex Jones in pro-Trump demonstrations. In the 2019 documentary The Brink, which details Steve Bannon’s attempts at building a pan-European fascist movement by uniting far-Right, white nationalist, and neo-fascist parties, Gosar can be seen meeting along side Bannon and one of his money suppliers, a former President at Goldman Sachs, and representatives from the Swedish Democrats, a white nationalist and anti-immigrant party in Sweden.

AFPAC managed to also attract Alt-Lite grifters such as Laura Loomer, Jon Miller of Glen Beck’s BlazeTV fame, along with former Republican Rep. and white nationalist stan, Steve King. Also speaking at the event was Vincent James, an anti-Semitic conspiracy peddler behind The Red Elephants. At one point, Nick Fuentes and several dozen Groypers attempted to enter into CPAC but were stopped by security, who they called “gay” for wearing masks and then quickly left.

Trump himself spoke at the end of the CPAC conference, and called for a continued battle within the party to rid itself of the enemies of Trumpism. From Mother Jones:

Trump also reiterated that the party is united behind him—with the exception of a “handful” of establishment members of the GOP in Washington. Trump attacked the 2020 election as being stolen by corrupt Democrats and urged Republicans to pass laws that would restrict voting to a single day and all but eliminate absentee voting.

In his speech, which hinted at Trump running for President in 2024, Trump stated that he would not form a third party, but would continue to build a Trumpian base within the GOP. Trump’s speech was met with approval from Qanon supporters and groups like the Proud Boys in various online spaces. Moreover, Political Action Committees tied to Trump seized on his CPAC appearance, using the event as an excuse to launch new fundraisers, bringing in millions of dollars from Trump supporters.

Politically, as the Republican Party continues to lose voters following the attempted pro-Trump coup in DC, it also continues to shift hard to the far-Right – doubling down on conspiracy theories, culture war talking points, and also embracing a strategy of attacking voting rights and movements from below.

As Vanity Fair wrote:

The transparent and ludicrous lies that Trump told, over and over, in his desperate campaign to overturn his loss to Joe Biden have now ossified into the official party line, with Republicans across the country attempting—in some cases successfully—to translate the MAGA propaganda into actual laws. The GOP has now put forth bills in 43 states that would dramatically restrict access to the ballot, according to a Brennan Center analysis; in places like Georgia, with Republican-controlled state governments, anti-democracy lawmakers are succeeding. And on Tuesday, the franchise will face perhaps its biggest test in decades when the conservative Supreme Court considers a pair of Arizona laws that could open the floodgates for even more racist voting restrictions.

In swing states where Trump sought to overturn his narrow losses, Republican legislators are using his lies as a pretext for “election security” bills targeting mail-in voting and other measures that expand access to the ballot. In Wisconsin, the GOP has put forth a package that would force voters to show an ID, limit absentee balloting, and that could dampen early voting.

From building coalitions against far-Right attacks on basic rights to mobilizing against white nationalist movements like the Groypers, the playing field may have changed, but the need for widespread, grassroots, antifascist action remains as needed as ever.

Turning Point USA Troll Turned Montana GOP Rep’s Attempt to Label Antifascists As Domestic Terrorists Goes Up in Flames

A Republican attempt to label antifascists as “domestic terrorists” by a former member of a far-Right group known for being infested with white nationalists and racists has so-far failed, according to the Daily Beast:

Days after far-right rioters broke into the U.S. Capitol, Montana state Rep. Braxton Mitchell introduced a resolution aimed at the opposite end of the political spectrum: “antifa,” the loosely affiliated left-wing anti-fascist movement.

The bill is the latest attempt to push penalties on the left even as national-security experts plead with lawmakers to watch for new attacks from the far right. Unlike previous anti-anti-fascist bills, however, this one’s biggest stumbling block might be its own sponsor.

After Mitchell, a freshman lawmaker, introduced it in a contentious Montana House meeting on Feb. 16, most of the bill’s Republican co-sponsors yanked their names from the measure.

Unlike some of his older peers in the Montana House, Mitchell comes from a hard-right youth movement. In 2018, he organized pro-gun marches in opposition to some of his classmates’ “March for Our Lives” demonstrations. He joined Turning Point USA, a well-funded student club, and went on to become an ambassador for the group. After Donald Trump disputed his 2020 election loss, Mitchell used Twitter to amplify a call for members of Congress to reject electors “from disputed states.” He also tweeted a picture and video of the far-right paramilitary group the Proud Boys at the pro-Trump “Million MAGA March,” a Nov. 14 demonstration.

Bellingcat Identifies White Riot Participant Who Stole Nancy Pelosi’s Computer as Accelerationist Neo-Nazi 

Bellingcat has released the identity of White Riot participant Riley June Williams, who was involved in not only breaching the Capitol on January 6th, but also stealing Nancy Pelosi’s laptop, which she then bragged about to her ex-boyfriend. Bellingcat’s thorough investigation uncovers more than just William’s involvement in the Capitol riots, but her commitment to and participation in accelerationist neo-Nazi ideology in digital spaces. The United States District Court of America has charged Williams with 1. knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds; 2. without lawful authority; 3. violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; and 4. aiding and abetting others to, embezzle, steal, purloin, obstruct, influence, or impede any official proceeding. Interestingly enough, she isn’t being charged with stealing congressional property.

Williams commitment to the far-Right goes beyond the Capitol siege and into digital neo-Nazi accelerationist spaces. According to Bellingcat:

She is somebody who posted racist and Anti-Semitic content as well as filmed a video that appears openly pro-Nazi and promotes accelerationism (speeding up the collapse of society) as a pathway towards establishing a genocidal white supremacist state.

An antifascist activist reached out to Bellingcat days after the White Riot with a 36 second video that appeared to show Williams dancing while wearing an iconic skull mask (a staple with accelerationist neo-Nazi circles; made popular by the neo-Nazi terrorist group Atomwaffen), sunglasses and a baseball cap with a sonnenrad on it. The sonnenrad, or black sun, is also a symbol that has been appropriated by neo-Nazis post WWII. To learn more about the sonnenrad and the symbolism behind it, check out Jason Wilson’s explainer piece for The Guardian. She marches in place and eventually raises her hand to roman salute, or Sieg Heil, the salute used by Hitler’s military. The last several seconds switch to a negative color fashwave filter and Williams’ eyes glow, a nuanced and particular aesthetic nod to online, neo-Nazi meme culture.

Bellingcat, with the help of the antifascist researcher, were able to trace the video to photos and content posted by Williams on various social media platforms, eventually linking her to the January 6th Capitol Siege. The investigation shows that she was an admirer of Christopher Polhaus, Telegram neo-Nazi from San Antonio, Texas who sells fascist swag including clothing, patches and flags. Chris also runs a neo-Nazi Telegram channel called “The Hammer,” a reference to Polhaus’ nickname. Polhaus was initially doxxed by the comrades at Antifa Garfield and the tweet thread is worth revisiting to get the full picture of Hammer’s reach.

Williams would frequently post photos to her various social media accounts in the same style as Polhaus and others who follow him, regularly wearing her skull mask. Using the handles @/whitepillgroyper and @/whitepillgroypr, Williams tweeted to, retweeted and boosted far-right groyper Nick Fuentes. Williams wasn’t shy about using antisemitic language to bait and troll other Twitter users.

The Bellingcat investigators in collaboration with the antifascist researcher who provided the video were able to positively identify Williams based on hair, purple-rimmed glasses, the infamous grey dress she was seen wearing in the “Heil Hitler” video, and a tattoo.

It’s clear that as more identities of White Riot participants come out, that the lines between patriots, conservatives, and far-Right neo-Nazi accelerationists are blurred and there is a lot more overlap than many would like to believe. Riley June Williams is just one person, but there are 800 more and they are all worth looking into. For more on Riley and the full investigation, head to Bellingcat.

Hactivist Group DDoSecrets Tells Wired They’ve Obtained 70 GB’s of Leaked User Data From Far-Right Networking App Gab

On February 28th, Wired reported that Wikileaks-style group Distributed Denial of Secrets has come into possession of 70 gigabytes of user data from far-Right networking platform Gab. Fascists, patriots and QAnon followers have sought refuge on Gab before and immediately following the downfall of Parler, another social media platform with lax hate-speech policies. Parler was also recently the target of hacktivists last month. It’s leaked data shows users actively planning the January 6th White Riot in DC. Several of it’s users were found to be a variety of governments workers and were accessing Parler on government property.

Regarding the GabLeaks, Wired states:

According to DDoSecrets’ [cofounder Emma] Best, the hacker says that they pulled out Gab’s data via a SQL injection vulnerability in the site—a common web bug in which a text field on a site doesn’t differentiate between a user’s input and commands in the site’s code, allowing a hacker to reach in and meddle with its backend SQL database. Despite the hacker’s reference to an “Anonymous Revival Project,” they’re not associated with the loose hacker collective Anonymous, they told Best, but do “want to represent the nameless struggling masses against capitalists and fascists.”

DDoSecrets isn’t making the data publicly available. Instead, they are releasing the data to individual organizations, researchers, journalists, and social scientists. This decision to not share the information publicly is due to the fact that there are likely users who’s data is included, who aren’t members of the far-Right, involved in far-Right organizations, or the spread of misinformation. People or groups who DDoSecrets chooses to share the data with are more likely to use is for research purposes.

Best wrote in a text message interview with WIRED. “It’s another gold mine of research for people looking at militias, neo-Nazis, the far right, QAnon, and everything surrounding January 6.”

Wired reached out to Gab about the leak, who didn’t respond. Gab’s CEO Andrew Torba released a public statement on Gab’s blog wherein which he promised a security audit, reiterated that Gab doesn’t store private identifiable information like “telephone numbers, Social Security numbers, birth dates, or health and financial information,” and generally downplayed the attack. He used his own Gab account to address that hack by hurling slurs against trans people. A very “on-brand” move for Torba, who’s single job is to run a social networking platform where the worst of the worst can recruit and radicalize people to far-right ideology.

Buzzfeed Releases Investigation into Congressional Republican Madison Cawthorn’s History of Sexual Violence and Predation Toward Women

Buzzfeed investigators published a detailed report looking into troubling allegations of patterned and predatory sexual harassment and assault by congressional Republican Madison Cawthorn. Buzzfeed spoke to over three dozen people. These folks included his victims, friends of his victims, and victims’ family who corroborated the accounts of harassment. Based on this report, Cawthorn targeted women he had known through his home-school community, as well as from his time as a student at Patrick Henry College, a small, conservative Christian school in Purcelville, Virginia.

Cawthorn, who, at 25 years old, is the youngest member to be elected to the House of Representatives, has made a name for himself by pandering to the far-Right. He has pushed conspiracy theories about Trump’s mythical election win over Joe Biden, openly worked with QAnon followers, and attacked the Left. But Cawthorn has more to his reputation than his Trumpist antics and early congressional career. For the short time he was a student at Patrick Henry, Cawthorn was known for his vile misogyny, boundary crossing, sexual inappropriateness and general predation. Whisper networks of students and staff in residence halls would warn female students to avoid being alone with Cawthorn, and to be clear about enforcing boundaries if they were to have to interact with him.

Cawthorn, who drove a white Dodge Charger, would frequently bait young women students into going on car rides with him. During these rides, Cawthorn would drive recklessly and pressure his passengers into disclosing intimate details about their sexual experiences. Women he targeted recalled similar experiences of being badgered into going on the joy rides with Cawthorn and when his advances were met with boundaries, the energy would take a dark turn and Cawthorn would become hostile, aggressive and intimidating, leaving his victims feeling shocked, confused, and fearful.

Buzzfeed reports:

As Cawthorn’s own political career took off, his former classmates expressed shock and dismay in private Facebook groups and text messages seen by BuzzFeed News; they said he had been “chauvinistic” on campus just a few years before and discussed female students’ sexual misconduct allegations against him.

…Patrick Henry officials, including the school’s president, ignored repeated emails and calls from BuzzFeed News regarding Cawthorn’s alleged sexual misconduct and behavioral problems. The only official to respond was Paul Yancey, the campus security chief, who declined to comment on questions about the alleged misbehavior.

Cawthorn and his surrogates categorically deny the claims and chalk them up to politically motivated smear tactics. The entire investigation is worth reading. It’s important to understand the way misogyny is central to conservative and far-Right ideology. Cawthorn may not be a full-blown neo-Nazi, but his continued fraternization with notable QAnon and far-right celebrities means he is, at very least, keeping in close company with people who have shown themselves to be antisemitic, transphobic, islamophobic, racist, and yes, misogynistic as well. Head over to Buzzfeed for the full investigation and testimony from his many, many victims.

Richard Holzer Sentenced to 19 1/2 Years in Prison for Synagogue Bombing Plot

Self-identified neo-Nazi Richard Holzer has been sentenced to 19 1/2 years in federal prison followed by 15 years of supervised release for threatening to plant explosives at the Temple Emanuel Synagogue in Pueblo, CO. According to the Department of Justice, Holzer pleaded guilty to “intentionally attempting to obstruct persons in the enjoyment of their free exercise of religious beliefs, through force and the attempted use of explosives and fire,” and “attempting to maliciously damage and destroy, by means of fire and explosives, a building used in interstate commerce.”

FBI agents say that Holzer used social media to promote his Nazi ideology, and that he sent photographs of himself with firearms to an undercover officer, as well as a message that stated he was preparing for the “RAHOWA” or “racial holy war.” He spent months coordinating the attack with undercover agents, going to the temple to “observe” members of the congregation and working to obtain pipe bombs and other explosives. Following his arrest on November 21st, 2019, Holzer stated that the attack “would define me as a person who would die for his people.”

Reuters notes, “The judge rejected arguments by defense lawyers that Holzer has renounced his racist views, noting that since his arrest he has reached out to other white supremacists and continued to invoke Nazi imagery.”

U.S. Diplomat Fritz Berggren Caught Running Antisemitic, Christian Nationalist Blog 

A United States diplomat named Fritz Berggren has been revealed to be the author of an antisemitic, Christian nationalist blog called Blood and Faith, thanks to reporting by Politico. Since at least 2017, Berggren, whose job at the State Department involves handling special visas for migrants from Afghanistan, has published racist, anti-Jewish, and white nationalist content under his legal name. On October 4th, 2020, Berggren wrote, “Jesus Christ came to save the whole world from the Jews — the founders of the original Anti-Christ religion, they who are the seed of the Serpent, that brood of vipers.”

Berggren’s Christian nationalism bears many similarities to the Christian Identity movement, an extreme religious ideology that suggests Jews and non-whites are not true descendants of Adam and Eve and are therefore inferior and sub-human. Like adherents to Christian Identity, Berggren equates Judaism with Satanism, writing in one blog post that, “They are the devil’s seed.” In the same post he writes, “Salvation is there for the Jews—if they reject their Judaism, utterly.”

Unsurprisingly, Berggren’s writing also contains many references to the left, BLM, and Antifa, casting them as destructive forces threatening to wipe out European Christian identity. “The goal of the Left is to destroy blood and faith so that (Marxist) religion alone becomes master and enslaver of all,” he says. “Europeans must reclaim their blood and faith, just as Blacks are proud and hispanics have very strong blood identity organizations.”

Berggren, who has been a Foreign Service employee since at least 2009, declined to respond to Politico’s messages, but he has continued to post to his blog, including one post titled “Welcome, Politico Readers!” and another from February 28th called, “Jewish Fragility.” A spokesperson stated that Berggren’s fascist ramblings “are personal views and do not represent those of the State Department,” but declined to mention whether any disciplinary action is being taken.

Colorado Springs Antifascists has since revealed that Berggren is a resident of Colorado Springs, CO. For more information on his location, read their NoBlogs post and check out the Twitter thread below.

Doxxes

Martin Christopher Rojas, American Renaissance Author

Atlanta Antifascists has identified the final American Renaissance employee who remained to be doxxed. Martin Christopher Rojas, who writes under various pen names including “Chris Roberts,” has written more than 500 articles for white supremacist and anti-immigration sites including AmRen, Counter-Currents, VDare, and Alternative Right. Rojas worked for the right-wing Leadership Institute from 2015 to 2016, then joined AmRen as “Director of Special Projects” for a brief time. He was employed by American Renaissance again in November of 2019.

During 2018 and 2019, Rojas lived in Atlanta, where he helped white nationalist Sam Dickson in his efforts to deliberately gentrify historically Black and working class neighborhoods in the city. Half-Chilean, Rojas is a citizen of the country and has ties to their far-right movement. Under the pseudonym “Nathan Doyle,” Rojas wrote a piece for VDare about his time canvassing for Georgia gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp. He also canvassed for Donald Trump in 2016.

For more information on Rojas, read the companion article and check out the Twitter thread!

Paul Joseph Landolt, Atomwaffen Splinter Group Member of Fort Lauderdale, FL

As first reported by researcher Christian Exoo of Deplatform Hate and republished by the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, Paul Landolt, is a violent neo-Nazi and leader of the Atomwaffen Division splinter group Fashlash. Landolt, who goes by the pseudonym “Revived” on Telegram, is viciously racist and regularly celebrates death and violence against Black people. He works as a pilot and flight instructor, and purports to be a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, although those claims are unsubstantiated. Landolt recently waged a harassment campaign against a racist, Alt-Right streamer named Paul Miller, filming videos outside of his house and threatening him. He also posts photographs of his firearms on Telegram, and boasts about openly wearing a swastika shirt around his neighborhood.

Fashlash was formed in 2018 after John Denton became the leader of Atomwaffen Division and started promoting satanism. Anti-Hate Network notes that the group was responsible for a hoax stating that the white supremacist militia the Republic of Florida was involved in the Parkland school shooting.

Amie Eckert, Lehigh Valley Tea Party Member of Bangor, PA

Community Research Opposing Hate has identified Amie Eckert, a member of the Lehigh Valley Tea Party and an active member of the MAGA movement. In the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election, Eckert attended and organized many flag-waving demonstrations in support of Trump, including one on October 30th, where she was arrested for harassment and disorderly conduct. Her attorney, Lehigh Valley Tea Party attorney Tom Carroll, was forced to resign from his job in 2007 for playing a racist prank on a coworker.

Eckert organized two bus trips to Washington D.C.’s Million MAGA Marches: one on November 14th and one on December 12th. Both of these protests ended in violence, with Trump supporters roaming the streets intimidating and attacking people. This didn’t stop Eckert from bringing her elementary-school-aged child with her to the events, and taking a photo of the child posing with two Proud Boys in tactical gear.

Last fall, Eckert also began to build a coalition with members of the Proud Boys and discussed forming a local chapter of the hate group. Most recently, Amie chartered multiple buses to the January 6th March to Save America Rally in D.C.

For much more information about Amie, and records of her horrible racism and transphobia, view CROH’s full post here, or read their Twitter thread below.

Tom Ramsey, D.C. Rioter of Louisville, CO

Front Range Antifascists have identified Thomas Ramsey, a Trump supporter from Louisville, CO who attended the January 6th riot at the Capitol in D.C. Anonymous Comrade on Twitter first noticed Ramsey, who appeared in video footage from the riot wearing his work jacket, which read “WestMark Design & Construction.” Front Range Antifascists was able to identify Ramsey as the owner of the company based on the photograph on the business’ website.

The video posted by Anonymous Comrade showed Tom Ramsey very close to the Capitol, appearing to assist another person to get to the building. Other than that, not much seems to be known about Ramsey’s activities at the J6 occupation, so anyone with additional video footage may contact FRAF directly.

Concerned community members can help by leaving reviews for WestMark Design & Construction on Google, Manta, AngiesList, and the Better Business Bureau. For more information, read the full post here.

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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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