March 18, 2021
From It's Going Down
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Welcome fellow antifascists!

This week, we’ve got a lot of news to cover, from the escalation of anti-Chinese and anti-Asian rhetoric spilling over into the streets of Atlanta with the most recent mass shooting, a police officer in Fresno being outed as a member of the Proud Boys, a member of the Capitol police getting caught with an antisemitic text, Gab keeps getting hacked, antifascist students in Chapel Hill, NC continue to keep the pressure on against an employee linked the far-Right. Plus, doxxes, a call to action in NYC, and much more.

Let’s dive in!

News

People Hit the Streets Against Anti-Asian Violence In Wake of Atlanta Killings

According to NBC News, over the past year there have been almost 4,000 racist incidents and attacks against Asian people, largely women. This wave of violence and intimidation has gone hand in hand with the COVID-19 pandemic and lock-down, following an escalation of anti-Chinese and anti-Asian rhetoric from Trump, the far-Right, and the entire political class.

As NPR reported:

Crimes targeting Asian Americans have risen dramatically since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Stop AAPI Hate, a coalition that tracks incidents of violence and harassment against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the U.S., reported nearly 3,800 instances of discrimination against Asians in the past year. The actual number could be much higher.

On Tuesday, a white gunman in the Atlanta area went on a shooting rampage, targeting Asian spas and massage parlors, killing 8 people in total, 6 of them Asian women. In response, there has been a wave of rallies and marches against anti-Asian racism in several US. cities. In DC, Chuck Modi was on hand to document the march and rally, which called for solidarity with the Black liberation struggle and attacked the idea that more police and State power could bring stability and safety.

Capitol Police Officer Suspended After Copy of The Protocols of the Meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion Discovered at Security Checkpoint

The Washington Post is reporting that a U.S. Capitol Police officer has been suspended after a copy of a notorious antisemitic text was discovered near a Capitol Hill security post on Sunday afternoon. Photographs taken at the scene show a copy of The Protocols of the Meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion sitting in plain view near an entrance of the Longworth House Office Building.

When asked for comment, Capitol Police told The Washington Post that an officer had been suspended pending an investigation. It is not yet known who placed the document in the building, or whether the officer was involved. The “rattled” staff member who discovered the text said that they were particularly troubled due to the recent coup-attempt at the Capitol building.

Fresno Police Officer Outed As Member of Proud Boys in California

In Central California, officer Rick Fitzgerald has been exposed by antifascists as a member of the Proud Boys who has taken part in violent rallies and attacks against left-wing demonstrators in Sacramento. According to one local news report:

Fitzgerald has worn a Fresno police uniform for 19 years, and Navy blue before that, but he wore a different shade of blue at Sunday’s Tower Theatre protests.

Protesters who spotted him wearing his Sons of 76 uniform recognized him from a previous protest where they saw him wearing the uniform of the Proud Boys, which is designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Legal analyst Tony Capozzi says Fitzgerald’s appearance in Proud Boys gear at a November 2020 protest in Sacramento will likely create big problems in the court system.

Fitzgerald was first spotted taking part in ongoing far-Right protests in Fresno calling for a vacant building to be sold to an anti-LGBTQAI church. From another report:

For weeks, demonstrators in the central California farming hub have been outside the Tower Theatre hoping for sidetrack its sale to a church that critics claim is hostile to gay rights and marriage equality.

Those rallies have been frequently met by counter-protests, led by the far-Right Proud Boys, and YouTube footage of Sunday’s dueling demonstrations allegedly showed a police officer among the self-described “Western chauvinists.”

U.S. Army Reservist Who Stormed Capitol Was Known Nazi Sympathizer who Dressed Up Like Hitler

According to Politico, Timothy Hale-Cusanelli, a U.S. Army reservist who was arrested in January for his involvement in the Capitol siege, was widely known as a neo-Nazi by his colleagues at the New Jersey naval facility where he worked. 44 of Hale-Cusanelli’s co-workers at Naval Weapons Station Earle were interviewed by NCIS. Kyle Cheney writes:

Of those interviewed, 34 agreed Hale-Cusanelli held ‘extremist or radical views pertaining to the Jewish people, minorities, and women.’ One contractor colleague said he discussed his dislike for Jews every day. A supervisor told investigators she had to admonish him for sporting a ‘Hitler’ mustache (images of which prosecutors extracted from Hale-Cusanelli’s phone).

According to the report, one officer noted that Hale-Cusanelli “talked constantly about Jewish people,” and once said that “Hitler should have finished the job.”

The details of this NCIS investigation were disclosed by the prosecution in response to a letter by Sgt. John Getz, submitted by the defense in support of releasing Hale-Cusanelli. Getz wrote:

I appalled at how [Hale-Cusanelli] was slandered in the press in regards to him being a ‘white supremacist’. I have never known him to be this way. I know that our co-workers would agree…I believe the media to have severely exaggerated this particular character trait.

However, the investigation reveals that Getz was fully aware of Hale-Cusanelli’s Nazi sympathies. The sargeant told NCIS that he was aware that Hale-Cusanelli was a Holocaust denier, and noted that the reservist “would make racial jokes and wouldn’t be quiet about it.” Getz has since acknowledged that his letter contradicted statements made to NCIS, but defended his statements in support of Hale-Cusanelli, saying that he “was not personally offended by Defendant’s conduct.”

As of March 15th, The Washington Post is reporting that Hale-Cusanelli is still an active member of the army. Meryl Kornfield writes:

Hale-Cusanelli is a sergeant in the Army Reserve, serving in the 174th Infantry Brigade out of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, according to the Army. Legal filings from prosecutors and his attorney indicated that he was discharged after his arrest and barred from Weapons Station Earle, where he works. However, Army Reserve Strategic Communications told The Washington Post after this story originally published that leadership is reviewing the case and that administrative action has not been taken.

Hale-Cusanelli’s case is just one recent example of a more widespread problem. In This Week in Fascism #97, we covered a newly released Pentagon report on white supremacy in the U.S. military. Brandon Russell of Atomwaffen Division, Rinaldo Nazzaro of The Base, and Steven Bitzko of Doghead Division are just a few neo-Nazi accelerrationists who have held positions in the military. In 2020, Technical Sgt. Corey Reeves was discharged from the Air Force for his participation in the white supremacist organization Identity Evropa, nearly two years after he was first exposed as a neo-Nazi. As of late January, nearly 1 in 5 defendants in Capitol siege related cases were military veterans.

Texas Man Set Up Security Company to Access Weapons

This week, prosecutors revealed that Guy Reffit, a Three Percenter who participated in the Capitol siege in January, told two other rioters that he had established a security company to access law enforcement grade weapons to violently overthrow the government. In encrypted private messages made public on March 13th, Reffit claimed that his business could allow him “to circumvent the 2nd amendment issue,” allowing he and his fellow patriots to “take back our country.”

Reffit, who is a member of the Texas Three Percenters, named his business TTP Security, LLC. He falsely informed the FBI that TTP stood for “Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures,” but according to prosecutors, private Telegram messages to fellow right-wingers and J6 attendees “reveal this to be false.”

In conversations recorded secretly by a family member, Reffit said that he had brought a firearm with him in a restricted area of the Capitol grounds and that he was aware of other rioters who were also illegally carrying guns. In another recording, Reffit said that January 6th “was only the preface of the book,” suggesting that he could be expected to participate in more violent actions in the future. Reffitt also threatened to shoot his eighteen-year-old son if he turned him in to authorities.

Reffit did not make it inside of the Capitol building, but was captured on video as a key figure who led the crowd closer to the building. He also admitted to charging at the Capitol in recorded conversations. “I didn’t make it in. But I started the fire,” he said.

NC State Refuses to Fire IT Manager Who Doxxed Activists and Students

Students at North Carolina State University gathered on Friday to protest the school administration’s inaction against Chadwich Seagraves, a desktop manager at the Office of Information Technology accused of doxxing anti-racist and leftist activists in North Carolina and Oregon. Seagraves also has ties to the Proud Boys, and digitally harassed an NC State University student in 2019.

Seagraves was identified by Anonymous Comrade Collective in November of 2020. Their meticulous research reveals that Seagraves’ name was linked to the metadata of many of the image files that accompanied the doxxes. ACC also located his Twitter account, @roostersghost, where he openly discussed his affiliation with the Proud Boys (an archived tweet confirmed that he was the state president of the NC chapter), posted personal information that helped confirm his identity, and offered Alt-Lite grifter Jack Posobiec “a large amount of info on Portland Antifa,” connecting him to the doxxes. The account posts right wing propaganda, including racist, Islamophobic, transphobic, and homophobic content. ACC’s article also includes a screenshot of a tweet in which Seagraves doxxed an antifascist student at NC State.

Following Anonymous Comrade Collective’s identification of Seagraves, Raw Story reported that one of the victims of the mass-doxx had filed lawsuits against the Proud Boy. They also noted that Seagraves had given a speech introducing violent neo-Nazi Augustus Invictus at a Chapel Hill rally back in 2017.

On January 11th, however, NC State announced that a “rigorous” internal investigation “did not substantiate any significant allegations.” Raw Story notes that the school has not clarified whether the investigation addressed the mass-doxxes or simply the offensive tweets, but NCSU has determined that the online activity in question was not conducted on university computers or during work hours. Since the activity was done on Seagraves’ personal time, the university Chancellor states that “it’s not subject to the State Personnel Act and doesn’t allow for dismissal because no laws or policies were broken.”

Of the NCSU student doxxed by Seagraves, the Chancellor said, “We have no evidence that the person who wrote this is a student at NC State, and they’ve not come forward and cooperated with the university in the investigation. So, we weren’t able to substantiate that allegation.” However, the victim, who goes by the name Belvy, disputes this. At Friday’s protest, he said that he was never informed about an investigation and that he has feared for his life for a year as a result of the doxx. “The university doesn’t want to face the fact that its own staff are threats,” RawStory quotes. “They don’t care about minorities. NC State has made it clear they don’t want to talk about this anymore.”

Clearview AI Lawsuit

A lawsuit filed with Alameda County Superior Court is part of a groundswell of push back against surveillance technology and specifically surveillance tech company Clearview AI. Alameda, Berkeley, Oakland and San Francisco have taken on the fight against surveillance technology and surveillance tech companies based on local laws that prevent the use of such technology. The plaintiffs which include four independent activists and the organizations Mijente and NorCal Resist. The Los Angeles Times reports:

Clearview AI has amassed a database of more than 3 billion photos of individuals by scraping sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google and Venmo. It’s bigger than any other known facial-recognition database in the U.S., including the FBI’s. The New York company uses algorithms to map the pictures it stockpiles, determining, for example, the distance between an individual’s eyes to construct a “faceprint.”

This technology appeals to law enforcement agencies across the country, which can use it in real time to help determine people’s identities.

The plaintiffs argue that this technology will disproportionately impact Black people, Indigenous people, people of color and those who would be targeted by the State for their activism. Clearview AI has specifically marketed it’s technology to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies as well as Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Cities in California are not the only jurisdictions to file suit against Clearview AI. The State of Illinois as well as Canada have also taken steps to ban Clearview AI’s technology and demand that the images of its residents be wiped from Clearview’s servers. The LA Times stated:

Enhancing law enforcement’s ability to instantaneously identify and track individuals is potentially chilling, the plaintiffs argue, and could inhibit the members of their groups or Californians broadly from exercising their constitutional right to protest.

Beyond the use of scraped images being obtained by Clearview AI and the inherent problems that come with biased policing, comes the issue of misidentification – a concern for Black people who’s images are also hosted in Clearview’s servers. Surveillance technology, since it’s inception, has been notoriously bad at accurately identifying Black people. Misidentification has led to at least two instances of wrongful arrest. Black people are 100 times more likely to be misidentified by facial recognition than white people. But more accurate identification doesn’t mean a better system. In fact, those who oppose this technology all agree that facial recognition and surveillance leads to suppression of political dissent. Check out the LA Times article for the full picture.

A Plague of Frogs: Gab Hacked Again

Last Monday, social networking platform and safe haven for far-Right organizing and conspiracy theorists,  Gab, was hacked for the second time in two weeks. According to ArsTechnica, the breach came to light when the hacker obtained access to Gab CEO Andrew Torba’s account and posted a scathing message criticizing him for not paying the 8 bitcoin ransom and downplaying the severity of the original hack. The hacker also posted this same message to many other high profile Gab accounts as well before the site was taken completely offline.

When the service was restored a few hours later, Torba posted a statement saying that Monday’s breach was the result of site administrators failing to revoke OAuth2 bearer tokens, which browsers and mobile apps store after a user has successfully logged in to a site.

As we reported last week, the Wikileaks-style site Distributed Denial of Secrets obtained 70 GB of Gab user data. This included login credentials, posts and direct messages between users. Gab was removed from Google’s play store in 2017 and in 2018 was removed by it’s webhost GoDaddy. For the full picture of the second breach, head to the article.

Doxxes

Keith “Biome” Erickson and Gregg Marchese, COVID Denier Nazis from Oregon

Rose City Antifa and Corvallis Against Fascism have released a two-part series of articles on Keith “Biome” Erickson and Gregg Marchese, two neo-Nazi hippies from the Ashland area. Keith Michael “Biome” Erickson first came to the attention of RCA in a Telegram channel titled “Make America Fascist Again.” In this channel, Biome bragged about gaining access to COVID denial communities in the area, and stated his intention to further radicalize the people in those circles. The pair created a separate Telegram channel called FreeJaCo (short for “Free Jackson County”), where they shared plans to protest COVID restrictions, anti-mask propaganda, and fascist content.

Keith Erickson, who began his political journey as a failed local mayoral candidate, has been a Holocaust denier and antisemite for over a decade, judging by his Telegram messages. He is known for putting up fascist propaganda around Ashland and attending public events to harrass leftists and progressives. Gregg Marchese began his radicalization as a local talk radio host, until his show was cancelled for antisemitism. Since then, he has written for fascist publications such as Renegade Tribune, Occidental Observer, and Barnes Review. Both men have been banned from three local synagogues for disrupting services, and once interrupted an anti-hate meeting in their community to spread their antisemitic, white supremacist beliefs.

Through their COVID-denial activism, they established a friendly relationship with an anti-mask Jackson County Commissioner, Colleen Roberts. Roberts collaborated and messaged back and forth with Erickson, Marchese, and their Telegram group for months. Erickson has also collaborated with Jimy White, a local member of the far-Right who organized two “Freedom Rallies” in the summer of 2020. Following the rally, a tipster informed local journalists that White had posted a photograph on his Facebook page depicting himself and Erickson holding what appears to be a stolen Black Lives Matter banner. White is performing a Nazi solute in the image, while Erickson is holding a picture of Adolf Hitler.

Corvallis Against Fascism have identified several of the antisemitic conspiracy theorists in Erickson and Marchese’s “FreeJaCo” Telegram channel. Kevin Goodrich, Julian Feldman, Tarah Green, Sonia Novik, Zach O’Brien, Ligia Radoias, William Gary Soura III, Jacob Cox, and Tam Masdon. More information on these individuals can be found in CVA’s full NoBlogs post, and be sure to visit the link at the bottom of the page.

David Aaron Mitchell and Jennifer L. Mitchell, Exodus Americanus Hosts of New Albany, IN

Anonymous Comrades Collective have identified David Aaron Mitchell and his wife, Jennifer L. Mitchell. David, who uses the pseudonym “Roscoe P. Jones” online, is the host of the white nationalist podcast Exodus Americanus, which has been releasing fascist content since 2015. His wife Jennifer, who goes by “TabbyBoomBoom,” “Mary Protestant,” and “MaryHatesFacts,” is a frequent contributor to the show and her catchphrase is “I fucking love eugenics.” Based on recent social media posts, it appears that Jennifer and David may be going through a divorce.

The Mitchells attended the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017, and Jennifer wrote a follow up blog post calling on her readers to prepare for civil war. David’s Twitter name is “TheWhitePowerRanger,” and his profile picture is an image of the television show character of the same name, alluding to the phrase “white power.” Jennifer has described a Jewish person as a “genetic mistake” and a “waste of oxygen.” Both of them are openly fascist, homophobic, transphobic, antisemitic, and racist.

Anonymous Comrade Collective was able to trace the Mitchells back to Indiana based on an Exodus Americanus P.O. Box address in Floyd County. This, combined with an Instagram video of the street outside of David’s house, gave enough clues to find their residence and their legal names. From there, they located David’s personal Facebook page, which is full of right-wing content and fascist dogwhistles. David’s page led them to Jennifer’s social media accounts, and it was revealed that she works as a chemist for Idemitsu Lubricants America in New Albany, IN.

For more information, read ACC’s full article here.

Alan Swartz, Racist Police Officer at Kutztown University in PA

Community Research Opposing Hate (CROH) has published an article on Alan Swartz, a bigoted Kutztown University police officer exposed by a student group called Kutztown University Activists (KUA). On their Instagram page, KUA shared an extensive collection of racist, transphobic, and Islamophobic Facebook posts by Swartz, and called on the university to hold the police department accountable. Swartz, who has worked for the school since 2012, vocally supported Kenosha killer Kyle Rittenhouse and posted a meme featuring a confederate flag. He shared Islamophobic content which accused Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib of being ISIS agents, and claims that the January 6th riot was a false flag operation.

KUA requested a meeting with the president, dean, and police chief of KU to discuss Alan Swartz’s dangerous views, but the meeting was denied two days later. The administration said they were reviewing the situation, but could not discuss personnel matters. Earlier this week on March 10th, the students gathered to protest outside of the Stratton Administration Building. The school has not communicated with the students about the matter, aside for their statement that the issue is under review.

CROH notes that the Plain View Project found that bigoted attitudes pervaded nearly every department they investigated. They write:

“Their job is not to defend community members (quite literally, as determined by this Supreme Court case). Rather, the role of police is to defend the property of the rich — or in this case, university property — and repress any social movement which would challenge the hierarchies that are required to maintain racial capitalism. Swartz’s racist, transphobic, anti-Muslim, conspiracy-deluded mindset is not the exception. It is the mindset required to enact the role of police officer in our current social and political conditions, and still be able to sleep at night.”

You can sign KUA’s Change.org petition here.

Call to Action

If you are in the New York area this weekend, please, come out on Saturday for the Anti-Racist and Anti-Fascist Block Party being organized by United Against Racism and Fascism NYC and featuring none other than Daryl Lamont Jenkins! The event will feature live music, free food, speakers and much more! Event begins at 1pm!

Support This Week In Fascism!

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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.

Photo: Screenshot via Chuck Modi

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