Filed under: Featured, This Week in Fascism
Welcome fellow antifascists!
This week we bring you in-depth stories on Signal dropping the mic during some beef with Cellebrite, the US military getting caught making plans to intimidate protesters with fighter jets, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler facing major backlash for calling for vigilantism against protesters wearing black, how cops fell for absurd lies about antifascists and BLM, and much more! Plus, your weekly supply of action updates, doxxes, and everything else.
There’s a lot to cover, so let’s dive right in!
Cellebrite vs. Signal
Encrypted-messaging app Signal slams Cellebrite security company over alleged security holeshttps://t.co/yoEarPAs2t
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) April 22, 2021
Most activists, especially leftists activists use the secure and encrypted messaging app Signal, which can be installed on Android and Apple devices, for digital communications. It’s become standard practice for anyone who wants to take a minor step to protecting their digital security. For those who are paying even closer attention to this particular fight (the fight to protect our data), you’ll recognize the name Cellbrite, a company who’s entire modus operandi is to thwart data security by exposing vulnerabilities in code, and then selling their data extraction cyberweapons (UFED and Physical Analyzer) to those who share their (lack of) values (i.e. dictators, oppressive regimes, bad actors, etc.). Cellbrite has even bragged about being able to access Signal users data, which has caused some understandable tension among Signal users. What we know, however, is that the way they gain access to our data is by having our unlocked phone in their users hand. This would be true for anyone who had access to our unlocked phones.
Remember: no app is completely safe and encryption is good for traveling from one device to another but if the end users aren’t practicing good operational security, then the communication is compromised. The safest way to communicate safely is and has always been to communicate in person.
Our latest blog post explores vulnerabilities and possible Apple copyright violations in Cellebrite's software:
— Signal (@signalapp) April 21, 2021
Recently though, something interesting happened. The founder of Signal happened upon a Cellbrite data extraction kit, investigated the tools, and blogged about it. What we learned from Moxie Marlinspike’s investigation is that Cellbrite’s own software is outdated and full of security vulnerabilities. He also found that it’s also violating copyright laws specifically linked to Apple software. Because of these vulnerabilities, anyone who has a bone to pick with Cellbrite and access to the kit that Moxie has, could exploit these vulnerabilities. According to Moxie’s blog:
For example, by including a specially formatted but otherwise innocuous file in an app on a device that is then scanned by Cellebrite, it’s possible to execute code that modifies not just the Cellebrite report being created in that scan, but also all previous and future generated Cellebrite reports from all previously scanned devices and all future scanned devices in any arbitrary way (inserting or removing text, email, photos, contacts, files, or any other data), with no detectable timestamp changes or checksum failures. This could even be done at random, and would seriously call the data integrity of Cellebrite’s reports into question.
The blog includes a sample video of the exploit for folks who want to see it in action. Moxie also offered to provide Cellbrite with a list of the uncovered exploits but only under the condition that Cellbrite “do the same for all the vulnerabilities they use in their physical extraction and other services to their respective vendors, now and in the future.” Furthermore, Signal will be pulling innocuous, functionally useless and “aesthetically pleasing” files that will be stored, at random, on users’ devices, a set of booby traps, if you will, in the event that a users phone comes into contact with Cellbrite’s cyberweapons. For the full story, check out the link above.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler Faces Backlash After Calling for Vigilantism Against Protesters
Today, @tedwheeler asked people to "take a stand" by tracking and calling the police on others for wearing black clothing. His comments are inappropriate, irresponsible, and dangerous.
— ACLU of Oregon (@ACLU_OR) April 24, 2021
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler faced a round of condemnation from community groups and civil liberties organizations after he called for vigilantism against protesters, after demonstrations continued following the Portland police killing of Robert Delgado.
Don’t Shot PDX released a statement:
On April 22nd, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler made a dangerous call to action to turn community members into vigilantes to defend property and ‘take back our city’. Immediately, Donald Trump’s call to patriot viligantes to defend their cities across the nation came to mind. Kyle Rittenhouse, Dylann Roof and so many other privileged white supremacists that have used violence to reclaim their heritage, confidence and values.
In Oregon, the rhetoric used against protestors and community organizers showing up against police brutality has been eerily similar to the views expressed by these killers.
The law and order directives perpetrated by Donald Trump are making a comeback in the form of Ted Wheeler’s instructions to target ‘anarchist protestors’. This urging to police your neighbors does not come from a place of commitment to our city, rather it is another brutal tactic of state sanctioned violence.
This past summer thousands of people were harmed by the actions of mayor Ted Wheeler and his lack of leadership. The lack of effort and engagement on issues of race and equity are further complicated by his use of force as police commissioner. Wheeler speaks repeatedly of ‘self described anarchists wanting to burn and bash’ and how ‘these people don’t want Portland to open back up’. His officers just shot and killed a man in our community last week – His name was Robert Delgado. Where was the call to action for his life that was stolen by the city of Portland, or the countless others who have been murdered and without justice in the last year alone? This ongoing terror has caused irreparable health and safety issues for so many vulnerable people.
In a state that was founded on exclusionary laws as a white utopia, there are generations of white supremacy at the very core of Portland culture. Yet you are enacting these calls of violence to the descendants of those families.
Portland, Oregon has its own share of Kyle Rittenhouses and Dylann Roofs who are waiting for this call from a higher authority. In a city that already harasses and racially profiles its minority communities, Ted Wheeler has exacerbated this with the explicit statements made at his recent press conference.
While Wheeler has called for harsh repression of anarchist, antifascist, and Black Lives Matter protesters, for the last several years his police have worked directly with far-Right organizers.
While Ted Wheeler calls for vigilantism + repression – for years he + his police have worked directly with the far-Right; facilitating their rallies, feeding their leaders information + even shielding them from arrest. https://t.co/A0hyD5is1X
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) April 24, 2021
Fighter Jet Placed on Alert During Beginning of Pandemic to Intimidate Civilians During Food Shortages; Scare Protesters
According to the LA Times, last March, California National Guardsman were given unusual orders to ready the F-15C fighter jet to be deployed in two hours notice. The orders first came at the beginning of the pandemic, indicating that those in higher level state government offices were concerned of civil unrest as a result of lockdowns and grocery shortages. But the orders continued through the protests in response to the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin and the Minneapolis Police Department.
Those sources said the order didn’t spell out the mission but, given the aircraft’s limitations, they understood it to mean the plane could be deployed to terrify and disperse protesters by flying low over them at window-rattling speeds.https://t.co/BDVKCu46iY
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) April 23, 2021
The F-15C fighter jet’s exclusive purpose is to shoot down enemy aircraft in times of war or if another country were to attack the United States. Those Guardsman who spoke to the LA Times under the promise of anonymity indicated that they felt uneasy with the orders from the beginning because instead of standard order protocols, these orders came down orally or via text message. Additionally, it was indicated in these informal orders that the purpose of deploying this specific aircraft was to fly at low levels to intimidate protesters. An aircraft designed specifically to shoot down enemy aircraft being prepared by California National Guardsman to be used against the United States population shows that the State views its own population as potential insurgents.
The LA Times states:
Those sources said the order didn’t spell out the mission but, given the aircraft’s limitations, they understood it to mean the plane could be deployed to terrify and disperse protesters by flying low over them at window-rattling speeds, with its afterburners streaming columns of flames. Fighter jets have been used occasionally in that manner in combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan, they said.
Deploying an F-15C, an air-to-air combat jet based at the Guard’s 144th Fighter Wing in Fresno, to frighten demonstrators in this country would have been an inappropriate use of the military against U.S. civilians, the sources said…
“It would have been a completely illegal order that disgraced the military,” one source said. “It could look like we’re threatening civilians.”
The article also indicates that the Department of Defense stated that using the fighter jet to disperse or intimidate crowds would be an inappropriate misuse of the aircraft. Further, the use of this particular aircraft would have to have been approved by Governor Newsome who’s office, when asked about the order, indicated that this type of directive was never a consideration.
Dan Woodside, a retired Guard pilot indicated to the LA Times that:
“The decibel level alone from an F-15C demonstrating a show of force can break windows, set off car alarms and cause more fear than shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theater,”
The United States government has routinely used the US military against “its own” population and wage colonial expansion: from the US air-force dropping bombs on strikers in Appalachia, death squads engaging in genocide to push Indigenous people from their lands, to the National Guard being used to put down riots and strikes.NSM Member Arrested After Hate-Rally for Pointing Gun at Black Residents
Reuters reports that on Monday, April 19th, Burt Colucci, the leader of NSM or the Nationalist Social Movement, was arrested in Chandler, Arizona for pointing a loaded handgun at a Black man while threatening to kill him and his friends following a rally planned by the hate group. According to the article:
The altercation began outside a hotel in Chandler, Arizona, after Colucci placed trash on the car of the African Americans and used racial slurs against them, according to statements police collected from Colucci, the Black people and an independent witness. Only Colucci was identified in the police report that was made public.
Two days earlier, the group, about 15 men deep and dressed in black with swastika armbands, held a rally where they shouted racial slurs at Black community members who challenged them. NSM is one of the US’s oldest neo-Nazi groups who’s members have dwindled in recent years but who’s proclivity for violence is well documented. In 2017, NSM participated in the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia where antifascist activist Heather Heyer was run over and killed by neo-Nazi James Alex Fields, Jr.
A Maricopa county judge set a $7,500 bond for Colucci, allowing him to return to his home in Florida, but ordered him back to Arizona by April 25th for his next hearing. According to Reuters, if convicted, Colucci faces up to three years in prison.
Cops Pursued Absurd Tips About Antifa & BLM During 2020 Uprising
According to Kelly Weil of the Daily Beast, new documents reveal that law enforcement pursued absurd tips about alleged threats from antifa and Black Lives Matter during last summer’s uprising following the murder of George Floyd. Amidst widespread social media rumors claiming that antifascists and BLM activists were plotting to terrorize communities across the country, repeated tips about antifa activity poured in to local law enforcement in rural Washington, with some outlandish claims even reaching state police.
One woman in Anacortes, WA reported an individual to the county sheriff’s department for looking angrily at her group’s patriotic and pro-police signs while walking past their event, claiming that her friend stated with certainly that the person was an “Antifa or BLM scout.” The sheriff then forwarded the message to the Anacortes police. Another Anacortes resident claimed that her husband was “in a group with antifa” and had warned her to stay home on a certain date because the activists had plans for violence. Both of these tips were forwarded to higher-ups at multiple law enforcement agencies by the police chief, and cops increased their staffing for the event, which never transpired. When another tipster reported “ACAB” graffiti as a sign of antifa activity, even suggesting that they might blow up a nearby dam, the sergeant ordered officers to monitor the area and stated that antifa may have used to location to train.
Weil quotes Ryan Shapiro, executive director of Property of the People:
“When individuals and law enforcement have been whipped into such a paranoid frenzy that they’re primed to see ‘antifa’ or ‘BLM’ terrorist conspiracies literally in the toilet, the situation is a powder keg,” Shapiro said. “There’s a direct line from this sort of deliberately induced political hysteria to violent, repressive crackdowns on progressive dissent.”
Updates From the Capitol Siege
Robert Chapman Turned In To Feds By Bumble Match for Storming the Capitol
A January 6th rioter named Robert Chapman has been charged for disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds after he bragged about his crimes to a match on the dating app Bumble, who then turned him in to the FBI. Federal agents verified Chapman’s claims by comparing his profile photo on the app to footage from the riot. He was arrested on Thursday.
According to George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, incriminating social media posts have been used as evidence in the vast majority of cases resulting from the attempted coup. This data highlights the dangers of poor operational security. Anarchist, antifascists, and anti-capitalists should take note, and do their best to maintain privacy and anonymity,
Proud Boy Charles Donahoe In Pretrial Detention
Charles Donahoe of North Carolina was arrested on Thursday for his role in the fascist attempted coup on January 6th. Donahoe faces charges of conspiracy for organizing alongside other Proud Boys to storm the Capitol. Other members of the pro-Trump street gang facing conspiracy charges are Zach Rehl, Ethan Nordean, and Joe Biggs. Donahoe is accused of distributing “specialty radios” to the group to allow them to communicate during the riot, and assisted in hiding the group’s activities and plans from law enforcement.
During the detention hearing, Judge Michael Harvey expressed skepticism over the dangers posed by Donahoe and the Proud Boys. According to Politico, he voiced his doubt that the group could pose a significant threat now that Biden has already been sworn in to office stating, “That is done. It’s over. Is there something else that we should be concerned about with respect to the Proud Boys, this group?”
Capitol Police Units Told to Monitor For Anti-Trump Protesters
During a House Administration Committee hearing on the security failures of the Capitol siege, Representative Zoe Lofgren quoted from a radio transmission from January 6th that instructed Capitol Police officers to monitor anti-Trump counter-demonstrators instead of Trump supporters. “Attention all units on the field, we’re not looking for any pro-Trump in the crowd. We’re only looking for any anti pro-Trump who want to start a fight,” the call stated.
The transmission was discovered by the Department Office of Professional Responsibility during an internal investigation of the department. 36 officers have been accused of misconduct as a result of that investigation, including an officer who was suspended for taking a selfie with one of the rioters.
On Thursday, Capitol Police stated that the quote “has been misquoted and is lacking…necessary context.” However, the transmission backs up ample evidence that police overlooked significant threats of violence from right-wing Trump supporters leading up to the storming of the Capitol.
Christopher “CJ” Lessard, Neo-Nazi Militia Member of Raleigh, NC
Today we’re going to meet CJ Lessard, larping militia member & Neo-Nazi from Raleigh NC. He's technically the bald person in this picture of a man and a clown.
But first we have to talk a little about the NC GOP. 1/17 pic.twitter.com/p2zu8H1qji
— Raleigh Antifascists (@oakcityAFA) April 25, 2021
Oak City AFA has identified CJ Lessard, a neo-Nazi in the Raleigh area. He was first spotted at a Stop the Steal rally in mid-November, and at a Thanksgiving event later in the month. This past Friday, CJ was spotted in a parking lot spying on anti-racist marchers protesting the police killings of Ma’Khia Bryant and Andrew Brown.
On his Facebook page, Lessard publicly shared the logo of a right-wing extremist group called National Rebirth of Poland, a symbol used occasionally by Nazis in the U.S. The username of CJ’s Parler account, created in November 2020, is CJLessard1488. He was the owner of Broken Knuckles Kustoms until 2019, when the company dissolved.
Please spread the word about CJ, and read Raleigh Antifascists’ Twitter thread for more information.
Neo-Nazi Jonathan Ziegler, Folkfront Member of Omaha, NE Doxxed and Fired
Meet Jonathan Ziegler of Omaha, NE. Jonathan was caught on camera placing neo-Nazi stickers on the campus of Temple Israel on April 9 202. He is a fitness manager @genesisclubs in Omaha https://t.co/IO2kWJNSIc pic.twitter.com/1dkguUmOKR
— nebraska antifascists (@antifa_ne) April 26, 2021
Jonathan Ziegler was spotted vandalizing the property of Temple Israel in Omaha earlier this month. The neo-Nazi was caught on camera walking his dog and putting up stickers for Folksfront, a branch of the Folkish Resistance Movement.
Up until this week, Ziegler was a fitness manager at Genesis Health Clubs. After being exposed by antifascists, his social media accounts went on lock down and his work issued a statement saying he had been fired. Also, his Venmo account showed frequent interactions with National Socialist Paul Miller.
— nebraska antifascists (@antifa_ne) April 28, 2021
Sons of Confederate Veterans Database Leak
LEAKED: Sons of Confederate Veterans national database contains info for nearly 58K members, with 32K+ designated as "active". The now-public database likely dates from 2017.
The SCV is a racist pro-Confederate organization including politicians and white nationalist organizers. pic.twitter.com/wxwkeeIXxM
— Atlanta Antifascists (@afainatl) April 23, 2021
Atlanta Anitfascists have released a database of national membership information on the Sons of Confederate Veterans, an organization for male descendants of Confederate soldiers that defends the display of Confederate symbols and monuments and falsely claims that “the preservation of liberty and freedom” is what motivated the southern states to fight in the Civil War.
Altanta Antifascists were able to identify several prominent Georgia politicians on the organization’s membership list, including House representatives Tommy Benton (a particularly notorious racist), Terry England, Alan Powell, and Rick Williams. (Another House member named James A. Collins also appears on the list, but is not an active member of the group.) Jeff Mullis, a Georgia state senator and author of a 2019 bill designed to protect Confederate monuments, is also an active member.
Unsurprisingly, the organization also has white supremacists in its ranks. A member named John C. Hall is friends with white nationalist Sam Dickson and affiliated with the League of the South. The list even includes Martin K. O’Toole, president of the racist Charles Martel Society and friend of Holocaust denier David Irving.
Antifascist researchers from across the country will find this leak to be a very valuable resource! The full article, including links to the database, can be read here.
Call to Action
- There is a call-in campaign to ask the City of Dallas to cancel an upcoming “For God and Country Roundup” conference featuring Qanon conspiracy peddlers. See the thread here for more info.
🚨Call to action🚨
Q*non is a death cult openly espoused by neo-nazis and fascists. At the core of their belief systems is the expansion of the authoritarian state to brutalize those who are not white & christian. pic.twitter.com/xYxI3XBWTg
— Elm Fork John Brown Gun Club (@EFJBGC) April 27, 2021
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Support Our Prisoners
- Support those arrested during the ongoing rebellion! Check out list of bail funds here.
- Support Gage Halupowski! Currently serving a six year sentence. There is currently an outbreak at his prison, so please step up and support! More info here.
- Support Dan Baker! Currently facing federal charges for creating an event on Facebook to counter an armed far-Right rally at the capitol building in Florida. 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.
- Support those arrested at recent ‘While Lives Matter’ protests in Sacramento, here and in Huntington Beach, here.
photo: Tito Texidor III via Unsplash