The new McCarthyism: Inside the China conspiracy theory that helped fuel Trump's Capitol riot

Early on the morning of Jan. 6, Samuel Fisher, a self-described dating coach, sent a friend a photo of a rifle and pistol through Facebook Messenger. He told his friend he planned to go to the parking garage in Washington DC "super early" and would be "leaving shit in there maybe except pistol." He added, "And if it kicks off, I got a vest and my rifle."

In a post on his personal website, according to a government affidavit filed in support of the federal criminal complaint for unlawful entry and disorderly conduct, Fisher predicted that "Trump and We the People will be betrayed again by every so-called representative who said they'd fight for us." He predicted three possible scenarios for Jan. 6, the day Congress was scheduled to meet to certify the electoral vote.

"Trump has an ace card up his sleeve," Fisher wrote, describing the scenario he looked upon as most favorable. "He plays it. The Deep State is arrested and hanged on the White House lawn for High Treason."

The second scenario encapsulated his worst fears: "Trump fails, Biden gets installed…. Patriots are ineffective and we live under the rules of the elite pedophiles and chinese communist party."

In a third scenario, with Trump failing to act, his supporters would take things into their own hands: "Trump fails, Biden gets installed…. Patriots show up in the millions with guns. They execute all treasonous members of government and rebuild."

Alongside the MAGA, Gadsden, "America First" and Kekistan flags, the Trump supporters who swarmed around the Capitol on Jan. 6 also carried homemade signs portraying Biden as a stooge of China. "Beijing Biden is CCP loyalist," read one, while another showing a feeble-looking Biden in the embrace with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Along with the QAnon myth purporting that Donald Trump has been waging a battle with a shadowy cabal of pedophiles, a complementary conspiracy theory had taken hold promoting the idea that the Communist Party of China engineered Joe Biden's electoral victory. The idea of communist subversion has only gained strength among Trump's followers and other Republican voters, as belief in QAnon has ebbed since Jan. 6.

The primary promoter of the Chinese election interference claim — both in the runup to the Jan. 6 insurrection and since — is Trevor Loudon, a New Zealander who got his start as an anti-Soviet campaigner in his native country in the 1980s, and raised his profile in the United States as a speaker at tea party events following the 2008 election of Barack Obama.

Trump himself seeded the China election interference conspiracy theory during the 2020 campaign, repeatedly hammering at the theme by telling conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that "China will own the United States if this election is lost by Donald Trump in early August, repeating the claim after the Democratic National Convention, and then broadcasting it to Fox News viewers in mid-October.

Loudon's broadly posits that the Communist Party of China deliberately spread COVID in an effort to inflict political damage on Trump in early 2020, instigated riots through US proxies following the death of George Floyd in the summer, and then tipped the election in Biden's favor. He outlined his claims in the weeks after the November election, appearing as a guest on the Epoch Times YouTube channel "Crossroads with Joshua Philipp."

"To top it all off, you had these same pro-Chinese communist parties running big voter registration drives in targeted states — the key swing states — signing up hundreds of thousands of low-propensity voters, mainly in the minority communities so they could lift the Democrat vote total enough to either win outright or lift it up enough where a little bit of fraud on top wouldn't be noticed," Loudon said.

The Epoch Times is affiliated with Falun Gong, a Chinese dissident group opposed to the Communist Party. The publication played an important role in the Stop the Steal protests. Epoch Times personnel unloaded stacks of newspapers at the Dec. 12 Stop the Steal rally at the Ellipse and received a shoutout from the stage ahead of One America News, another pro-Trump outlet, for streaming the event. In addition to being a guest, Loudon is listed as a contributor on the Epoch Times website.

"So, the Chinese, through their communist networks in this country were able to promote the COVID propaganda," Loudon concluded in his interview with Philipp. "They were able to burn American cities all across the country and bring the country to the point of chaos, and then they were able to target and specifically influence key elections across the country."

An intelligence assessment on foreign threats to the 2020 US election that was declassified by US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines on March 15 concludes with high confidence that "China did not deploy interference efforts and considered but did not deploy influence efforts intended to change the outcome of the US presidential election." US intelligence officials also concluded that Chinese officials calculated that the cost from blowback, if they were caught trying to influence the US election, would outweigh any potential benefits. The report further stated, "We assess that Beijing also believes there is a bipartisan consensus against China in the United States that leaves no prospect for a pro-China administration regardless of the election outcome."

In contrast to its assessment of China, the intelligence agencies assessed "that Russian President Putin authorized, and a range of Russian government organizations conducted, influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden's candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting former President Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process, and exacerbating sociopolitical divisions in the US."

The intelligence assessment continued: "A key element of Moscow's strategy this election cycle was its use of proxies linked to Russian intelligence to push influence narratives — including misleading or unsubstantiated allegations against President Biden — to US media organization, US officials, and prominent US individuals, including some close to former President Trump and his administration."

The US intelligence assessment does not specifically address Loudon's contention that China influenced the outcome of the election through voter mobilization groups in key swing states. Loudon has made that claim in multiple interviews, articles and self-produced videos. When providing specific evidence, he points to two individuals — one a former executive director of the Chinese Progressive Association of San Francisco and the other an American geography instructor at Wuhan University who has produced maps for New Virginia Majority, a voter mobilization group that focuses on working-class communities of color.

The former claim links the local nonprofit to the various state-level voter mobilization groups through a third group called Seed the Vote, but Loudon does not explain how a group in San Francisco helped sway the vote in the six swing states that were crucial for Biden's victory. And his claim about the geographer in Wuhan elides the fact that Virginia — a state Biden carried by 10 points — was not in contention during the 2020 election.

The claim about the executive director of the Chinese Progressive Association is used interchangeably by Loudon to link the Communist Party of China with both the protests for racial justice and the election. A video produced by Loudon in January includes a clip of the San Francisco nonprofit leader saying, "We have a relationship with the Chinese embassy. Like we have — I've had various conversations with them about our positioning."

An article published on the conservative Heritage Foundation blog in September 2020 similarly claiming a link between Beijing and the Black Lives Matter movement through the Chinese Progressive Association was circulated by conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, former Trump aide Sebastian Gorka and Donald Trump Jr., according to Axios.

A fact-check by Axios rated the claim as false while quoting a former China analyst named Alex Joske at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute as saying, "There appears to be no open-source evidence of a close relationship between CPASF and the Chinese government. The organization has received little attention from Chinese state media and definitely doesn't have the hallmarks of a united front group." The Axios fact-check also quoted Yale University historian Arne Westad as saying, "In the 1960s and early 1970s, China was very much a promoter of revolution abroad. But after the death of Mao [in 1976], this era ended…. And that's been more or less consistent up to today."

On the East Coast, Loudon's claim about Chinese election interference centers on Stephen McClure.

"Well, guess where Steve McClure works?" Loudon said in one of his videos. "For the last 10 years, he's been working generating maps out of the Wuhan, China Geography Department — the Wuhan University, which pays his salary. He uses their computers. He uses their personnel to generate maps to flip districts in Virginia, and I'm guessing further afield as well."

McClure's resume, which he provided to Raw Story, shows that he worked on at least eight projects as a consultant for New Virginia Majority along with Tenants and Workers United since 2005, including creating maps for the general election voter mobilization campaign in 2012. McClure told Raw Story that he hasn't done any contract work for New Virginia Majority since 2019. The last project, he said was an analysis of the impact of the new Amazon HQ on housing costs in northern Virginia that he produced free of charge.

In contrast to his detailed taxonomy of left-leaning voter mobilization groups, Loudon is less specific when he talks about purported ballot fraud, which was the focus of the widely discredited claims made by lawyer Sidney Powell centering on Dominion voting machines.

"Clearly there was electronic fraud," Loudon told a group of GOP activists in Virginia on May 11. "What the aim was to lift the minority votes in these certain key states so the electronic fraud would be less noticeable. And they did that, but Trump did so much better in the minorities [sic] than they expected that it wasn't quite enough, so they panicked and had to dump tons and tons of ballots at 2 o'clock in the morning, and that kind of thing."

Loudon did not elaborate on the claims, and his audience did not ask him for evidence. He could not be reached for comment for this story.

Following the Jan. 6 insurrection, as hundreds of Trump supporters motivated by the false belief that the election was stolen found themselves swept up in a national dragnet, Loudon has continued to produce new videos amplifying and expanding on his claims. His Rumble channel shows a prolific output, including a video posted two days after the insurrection with cover art showing Xi and Trump squaring off that is entitled "How the CCP mobilized its US networks to take down the US." Others take aim at members of the new administration. "Dyed in Red! The sinister background of 'Moderate' Kamala Harris, China's American dream president," came out on Feb. 9, followed five days later by "Communists Behind the New Admin! Pete Buttigieg and His History with The Gramsci Society."

Along with writing and appearing in videos, Loudon has been traveling to speak with GOP groups and conservative voters. He made four appearances in Kentucky and Indiana in March, where he spoke to conservative Christian groups. Later that month, Loudon was the keynote speaker for a dinner hosted by the Wabasha County GOP in Minnesota. The Duluth News Tribune reported that Loudon told the 400-some attendees that the killing of George Floyd and subsequent unrest had been "planned since 2016."

And the newspaper reported that Loudon advocated for conservative states to create a compact agreeing to defy federal legislation.

"I don't mean to leave the union," Loudon reportedly told the group. "I want to go back to that people, so you can join together and you tell a federal government we will not implement any unconstitutional directives in our states."

No state has received more attention from Loudon since the Jan. 6 insurrection than Virginia.

With gubernatorial and state legislative elections this year, Virginia is widely considered a bellwether for the 2022 midterms. Glenn Youngkin, the Republican nominee for governor, had previously been considered an enabler of Trump's false election claims because he sidestepped questions about Biden's legitimacy prior to his nomination and has made "election integrity" the focal point of his campaign. But on Thursday, Youngkin finally acknowledged in an interview with Fox Business that "Joe Biden was legitimately elected our president."

Anticipating Virginia's crucial status, Loudon shrewdly released a video that presented his claims about Stephen McClure and the New Virginia Majority on Jan. 15.

He outlined them again during a webinar hosted by the Virginia Project, an independent political action committee set up to help the GOP regain control of state government, on Tuesday.

"That dovetails with what's happening on the election integrity front," David Gordon, the PAC's founder, said during the webinar. "We have questions about whether all of these new voters that are being signed up by these groups are actually voting on their own behalf, or they're being used to pad the pool of unlikely voters that are exploited by third-party groups committing large-scale election frauds."

The PAC launched a project called the "Virginia Election Integrity Audit" after the 2020 election. Ned Jones, its director, has suggested on Twitter that the Jan. 6 insurrection was staged. Responding to a Jan. 15 tweet by the Virginia Project, Jones wrote, "The incident at the Capital was a planned event. You could tell by Schumer, Pelosi, and Pence's convenient speeches and fake outrage later that night. Why haven't we heard a word about the cop shooting an unarmed woman? Nobody is talking about her!"

The original tweet from the Virginia Project read: "The Capitol riot is a Charlottesville hoax redux — all the players were left wingers, including all relevant elected officials — and also the alleged 'right wing' boogeyman they set up for preplanned violence. This is standard Democrat MO for many years."

Gordon said during the webinar on Tuesday that his PAC plans to raise Loudon's claims about Chinese election interference with the Republican Party of Virginia and push the state party to address it. Calls and emails from Raw Story seeking the party's stance on Loudon's claims went unreturned.

One of the participants in the May 11 webinar asked Loudon: "How is this not treason? How is this country not acting on these treasonous parties?"

Loudon answered rhetorically: "Well, why isn't Hillary Clinton in jail? Why isn't George Soros in jail? Why isn't Mitch McConnell in jail? Why isn't — what has happened is since the 1970s the FBI has refused to investigate communists."

Pressed to explain why there hasn't been any action on his claims of illegal foreign election interference, Loudon doubled down on a deeper conspiracy.

"You've got massive communism in the Democratic Party that they're not going to expose it, because that's them," Loudon said. "I say in my movie there's a hundred members of the House of Representatives and 25 members of the US Senate, including [Virginia Sens. Mark] Warner and [Tim] Kaine, who couldn't pass an FBI background check or get a security clearance to run a school bus in Loudoun County. They're running every congressional committee in the House, is run by Marxists."

The woman concerned about treason lamented: "So, we had a campaign in the 1950s with Joe McCarthy, and we destroyed him."

Loudon agreed.

"Yeah, yeah, that's right," he said. "Well, the communists destroyed him. Who came up with the name 'McCarthyism'? It was the Communist Party USA. So, ever since then, every Republican has been terrified of being labeled a McCarthyist. They're terrified of being called a racist. That comes out of the communist movement as well."

'You can’t tie me to white supremacy': Inside the fight over 'critical race theory' in America's richest county

In the aftermath of Virginia's 2019 election, when Democrats took control of both houses of the state legislature, an IT engineer named David Gordon announced a plan to help Republicans regain control of state government.

The Virginia Project, Gordon pledged in the mission statement for the new political action committee, would "force the Democratic Party to play defense, disrupt their narratives, and counter their long-view of strategy of incremental and continuous gains."

By March 2021, the Virginia Project would have a potent issue. Anxiety over critical race theory, a field of study developed by legal scholar Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw and others, was being fanned by conservative politicians, media personalities and local activists across the country, with detractors charging that school administrators were stealthily incorporating new ways of considering race and equity into school curricula.

The Virginia Project launched a "Program on Un-American Activities," which charged that topics like "critical theory, critical race theory, queer theory, equity, transgenderism, cancel culture and other forms of Cultural Marxism" were being wielded as "ideological subversion" against the United States.

The PAC squarely took aim at a key battleground in the new culture wars — Loudoun County, the wealthiest county in not only Virginia but the entire country, just outside of Washington DC.

Loudoun County Public Schools has acknowledged a history of discrimination against Black and Latinx students, and an energetic cross-section of school board members, teachers and parents has committed to promoting what it believes are more equitable practices. Meanwhile, a local parent named Scott Mineo was ramping up a new organization called Parents Against Critical Theory, or PACT, to fight the perceived implementation of critical race theory. PACT and the Virginia Project joined forces on March 3 to present a webinar entitled "What is Critical Race Theory and Its Impact on Loudoun County Schools" that casts the district's efforts to improve equity as a detrimental force that, as one presenter put it, is "now actually running our government."

Sensing a formidable alliance taking shape, parents on the other side of the debate drew up a list of opponents that was shared in the private Facebook group Anti-Racist Parents of Loudoun County. Screenshots of the Facebook thread were leaked, and critical coverage from the conservative website the Daily Wire and Fox News soon drew unfavorable attention to the school district.

Violent, racist and degrading emails and social media posts directed at teachers, school board members and parents quickly ensued.

Meanwhile, the Virginia Project issued letters threatening litigation against a school board member and a parent involved in efforts to promote equity. There is no evidence that Mineo or Gordon were responsible for any of the emails or social media posts, or encouraged anyone else to make them. Mineo and Gordon's organizations have denounced threats. In an April 22 press release, PACT declared it was standing with the school board "against any type of threatening or vile communications." A lawyer for the Virginia Project, albeit in a letter threatening a lawsuit against one of the parents, wrote that "all such threats and all people issuing any such threats are not in any way connected with or condoned by TVP."

Loudoun County is rapidly diversifying, with the white population dropping from 69.5 percent in 2010 to 63.1 percent, according to the most recent census estimate. White students in Loudoun County Public Schools have gone from being a majority of enrollment — 57.8 percent — in 2010 to only 43.4 percent today. Although white students are no longer the majority, they still make up the largest racial cohort.

In 2013, the school district launched a survey to gauge parents' input on a range of social and cultural issues. Based on the results, schools Public Information Officer Wayde Byard told Raw Story: "We undertook an equity effort, training staff, which is majority white. During the staff training, critical race theory was discussed. It was not the basis for the training. It was not indoctrination. It was not put in the curriculum."

Asked to provide evidence that Loudoun County Schools is teaching critical race theory, Parents Against Critical Theory founder Scott Mineo provided Raw Story with an invoice from a consulting group that shows the district was billed $3,125 in June 2020 for five hours of coaching support itemized as "follow-up meetings focused on critical race theory development."

Broadly summarized, according to a slide in a presentation by the consulting group that provided the training, critical race theory "analyzes the role of race and racism in perpetuating social disparities between dominant and marginalized racial groups."

Mineo told Raw Story that people who oppose critical race theory don't deserve to be stigmatized.

"Being against critical race theory doesn't mean that someone holds the position of a white supremacist," he said.

The administrators and teachers at Loudoun County Public Schools are reckoning with tangible evidence that the district has discriminated against Black and Latinx students. Following an investigation into a complaint filed by the NAACP Loudoun Branch, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced in November 2020 that "there is reasonable cause to believe that Loudoun County Public Schools' administration of the Academies of Loudoun program resulted in a discriminatory disparate impact on Black/African-American and Latinx/Hispanic students who applied to the Academy of Engineering & Technology and the Academy of Science programs in the fall 2018 admission cycle for enrollment in the 9th grade class of 2019-2020."

As the controversy over equity at Loudoun County Public Schools unfolded, Mineo has been catapulted into the national media, with appearances on Fox News' "Fox & Friends."

A "Fox & Friends" story headlined "Evidence of race indoctrination in Virginia classrooms is clear, Loudoun County parent says," ran on April 8, featuring an interview with Mineo. Introducing the segment, co-host Steve Doocy put the onus on Mineo, saying, "A Virginia parents group is fighting to keep critical race theory out of their classrooms in Loudoun County, Virginia. They've released evidence that, they say, proves the controversial curriculum is being used in their schools."

The evidence presented was a slide headlined "White fragility" that, ironically, appears to have proved its point as a focus of ire for conservative media and activists. The slide includes this quote: "Since white people are in a state of privilege with regards to racial issues (meaning they can choose not to think about racial issues that don't affect them) they may respond to the whole discussion of race with discomfort."

A slide in the presentation on critical race theory by the Virginia Project in the March 3 webinar co-hosted with Mineo's group claims that beneath the outward goals of "dismantling systems of oppression and structural racism," there is a hidden agenda "to undermine our constitution and individual sovereignty" and that it "erases history and culture and replaces it with a 'new, more equitable and equal' future." The slide concludes, "Critical theory is essentially a religion. Call it wokism, neo-Marxism, neo-racism or identity politics; it utterly lacks in humility and forgiveness and is practiced with religious zealotry."

For his part, Mineo shared a presentation with a slide that uses controversial and conspiracy-charged language to describe organizations that he says are responsible for promoting critical race theory. The presentation attacks the NAACP as "Black supremacists, anti-white and BLM supporter"; Black Lives Matter as a "domestic Marxist terrorist organization, black supremacists, anti-white, pro-segregation, anti-police, funded and controlled by white liberals"; and the National Education Association as "anti-education, anti-student, radical social justice warriors."

Sensing a threat to equity efforts in the school district, a group of parents opened a thread in the Anti-Racist Parents of Loudoun County private Facebook group "to compile a document of all known actors and supporters" in "the anti-CRT movement," as one parent put it.

Mineo's name was the first to be added in the March 13 Facebook thread.

All told, the parents working to promote equity compiled 50 names, including spouses, according to screenshots provided to Raw Story by the Virginia Project.

No evidence has been publicly presented indicating that the names of critical race theory opponents were published outside of the private Facebook group, or that anyone's addresses were listed on the Facebook thread. A screenshot reviewed by Raw Story shows that Jamie Neidig-Wheaton, the administrator of the group, turned off comments seven weeks ago, which would have been around March 16, the day the Daily Wire story came out.

The day after the Daily Wire article was published, a teacher named in the story received an email from an anonymous account that said, in part: "Really? You fucking ugly piece of dog shit…. How dare you and your merry band of dumb cuts and pussy 'men'! Fuck you and your list! Eat shit and die."

Another person wrote from an encrypted email account: "I saw your fat face in a Daily Wire article. I hope you die of a massive heart attack very soon. You aren't fit to teach how to lick a postage stamp, much less indoctrinating kids on how to judge people based on the color of their skin."

Scott Mineo and David Gordon, his webinar co-host at the Virginia Project, also found themselves on the receiving end of hostile email posts.

One Facebook user posted a photo of coffin samples for sale on Facebook Marketplace, writing, "I'd put them on the porches of my enemies as a warning… lol jk (kinda)," according to a Facebook screenshot. Then, in a comment, she specified: "Right now it'd be dropped off at the PACT leaders houses and the VA project dingbat David Gordon."

Other messages were far worse.

In April, two school board members, Vice Chair Atoosa Reaser and member Beth Barts, publicly shared a hideously violent and racist email they received.

"Don't be surprised when you low-IQ, poorly educated, and morally bankrupt pinko traitors are dragged from your beds in the middle of the night and hanged by the neck until dead by the righteously angry parents of your community," the email reads. "I will be cheering them on. White men built all the best things in the world. Every other civilization is inferior."

The writer goes on to describe laughing when he watched George Floyd die, closing, "You're welcome, you ungrateful subhuman torture-deserving vermin."

Mineo's group immediately issued a statement on its website denouncing the email, stating, "We completely reject anyone that wishes to help us that shares this type of mindset."

Gordon told Raw Story: "It didn't come from us. I wouldn't associate with anyone who does anything like that." But in a follow-up email, Gordon said he suspects the email was contrived to support false accusations against the Virginia Project. "Everyone assumed it was made up by one of the 'anti-racist' group members because it's so over the top, and just the kind of desperation move they are inclined to," he wrote. "Another possibility is that it's just some random shitposter in their mom's basement."

The two opposing sides have remained bitterly divided .

Citing a post by a member of the Anti-Racist Parents of Loudoun County who allegedly urged others to "hack and shut down or hijack websites" of anti-critical race theory groups, a lawyer for the Virginia Project warned administrator Jamie Neidig-Wheaton in a March 24 letter that "some of their actions violate Virginia criminal code, and some of their behavior subjects the culpable individuals to civil liability for compensatory and punitive damages."

Reached for comment, Neidig-Wheaton said, "My only request is that readers look at my church's antiracist pledge, and consider their commitments as Americans, and if they are Christians, consider their commitments as Christians."

In a similar letter to school board member Beth Barts, Philip Bradfield, a lawyer based in Newport News, wrote on behalf of the Virginia Project: "This letter is a formal demand that you immediately and completely cease to participate in, promote, request, call for, or solicit any and all behavior described above, including listing names, addresses, employers, etc. of perceived political enemies, hacking or hijacking websites of perceived political enemies, or other criminal/fraudulent activity online which is calculated to or tends to embarrass, humiliate, or harm the business, job, career, reputation, health, or life of another."

Screenshots of the Facebook thread do not include any addresses.

Bradfield alleged in the letter that Barts urged members of the Anti-Racist Parents of Loudon County Facebook group to push fellow board members to "call out statements and actions which undermine our stated plan to end systemic racism at LCPS."

Barts did not respond to emails seeking comment for this story.

Asked if the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office is investigating potential crimes committed by members of the private Facebook group, spokesperson Kraig Troxell told Raw Story: "Although we cannot provide specific details due to the active investigation, we can confirm a number of complaints surrounding messages posted by a social media group , as well as messages sent in response. The LCSO continues to examine the law in relation to these messages, and work with social media platforms to clearly identify these and other related communications."

The Virginia Project has portrayed parents, teachers and school administrators in Loudoun County as subversives, using inflammatory language and wording suggestive of conspiracies.

Re-booting the March 3 webinar on March 16 after the Daily Wire article began to cause waves, Virginia Project founder David Gordon said: "This presentation is done as part of our program on un-American activities, which was kind of named tongue in check, but it proved its name immediately when this very un-American group of critical-race-theory terrorists — there's really no other word to use for them — came after us.

"And now we have the entire political system lining up to put a stop to these people," Gordon continued. "And we're gonna sue everything and anyone connected to it. So, very good times are ahead."

In an interview with Raw Story, Gordon defended the use of the term "terrorist" to describe the opposing group.

"It's appropriate to the temperature they set," he said. "If you look up the definition of terrorism, it's violence for political objectives." Alluding to the accusation that members of the Anti-Racist Parents Facebook group have engaged in "hacking or hijacking websites of perceived political enemies," Gordon added, "They are commonly associated with terrorism."

The Virginia Project paid the Bradfield Injury Law Firm $2,500 in March, according to campaign finance reports on file with the Virginia Department of Elections. A donation request on the Virginia Project website suggests that if people are interested "in supporting legal action" but wish to remain anonymous, they should send checks directly to the Bradfield Injury Law Firm.

"If you are interested in supporting legal action against the perpetrators in this case, but do not wish to be identified as required in compliance reports, sending a check directly to our legal counsel does not count under law as a contribution to our political action committee and is not subject to reporting," the PAC says on its website. "We prefer contributions to our Civil Rights Defense Fund as these can be used for additional activities such as FOIA requests, but we understand that many are concerned with the risk of retaliation from 'woke' cults and 'woke' employers that appearing on a compliance report may subject them."

Gordon told Raw Story that he asked the PAC's treasurer to ensure that the arrangement was in compliance with Virginia law, adding that contributions directly to the law firm don't need to be reported because, while the Virginia Project is a partisan organization, the case involving Loudoun County Public Schools is not a partisan matter.

"Chris Marston, our treasurer, is also the general counsel of the Republican Party of Virginia," Gordon said. "That's as authoritative as my advice can possibly get. What I was told was that this is completely in compliance with Virginia law. I am paranoid about compliance. Of course, our political opponents will come after us."

The Virginia Project's campaign finance reports indicate that the PAC raised $33,159 from October 2020 through March 2021, and that Gordon paid himself $6,550 during that period, not counting expenses for food, gas and expenditures listed as "dental treatment for consultant's injury."

Gordon acknowledged to Raw Story that he lives in South Carolina.

Asked why, as a resident of South Carolina, he feels invested in the political future of Virginia, Gordon said, "I am a subject matter expert on the dysfunctionality of the Virginia Republican Party. I know how to fix it."

Consistent with the characterization of the Loudoun County equity advocates as un-American "domestic terrorists" bent on subverting the republic, the Virginia Project has also promoted the false claim that the Capitol riot was staged by unnamed left-wing agents.

"The Capitol riot is a Charlottesville hoax redux — all the players were left wingers, including all relevant elected officials — and also the alleged 'right wing' boogeyman they set up for preplanned violence," the Virginia Project tweeted on Jan. 15. "This is standard Democrat MO for many years."

Beyond its work with the Virginia Project, Parents Against Critical Theory has also recently announced a collaboration with 1776 Action, a 501(c)4 organization that is currently running an advertising campaign featuring former Housing & Urban Development Secretary and Ben Carson and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to counter critical race theory and the 1619 Project. A recent Fox News article quotes 1776 Action President Adam Waldeck as saying "his group plans to be active in Loudoun County."

The new partnership with 1776 action, alongside the recent appearances on Fox News, raises Parents Against Critical Theory founder Scott Mineo's profile and puts him in a better position to raise money.

Mineo told Raw Story that his activism is motivated by a conviction that matters of race and equity should not "be discussed in a manner that victimizes a kid in 6th grade as an oppressor."

He did not directly address a question about whether schools hold a responsibility to address historical oppression of people of color and persistent systemic racism.

"It's hard for me to answer because it's a very general question," he said.

While Mineo insisted that his opposition to critical race theory does not make him a "white supremacist," Facebook posts he appears to have authored under the username "Vito Malara" prior to the launch of Parents Against Critical Theory repeatedly express views that are anti-Black and anti-Muslim. Mineo acknowledged authorship of some of the posts, and did not deny that he is the owner of the "Vito Malara" account, which remains active.

One post from 2017 falsely implies that all Black children born out of wedlock do not have fathers in their lives.

"More than 72% of black children in the African-American community are born out of wedlock," Mineo wrote as "Vito Malara." "That means absent fathers. Ok, now we know that 72% of black kids are fatherless. So it begs the question, if they have no idea who their fathers are, how in the hell can they possibly claim their family members were slaves."

Asked about the statement last Tuesday, Mineo said, "When you're talking about a fatherless environment, maybe it was a hit-and-run. Those aren't my stats.

"It's a household that doesn't have a father in it," he continued. That is false: A controversial 2013 statement by CNN anchor Don Lemmon refers to out-of-wedlock births, not children in households without a father.

"I stand by my words," Mineo said. "You can't tie me to white supremacy."

He added, "Would a racist allow his daughter to date a minority? No."

In another post from 2017, "Vito Malara" described a group Black teenagers accused of assault as a "pack of savages." Mineo did not confirm authorship of the post.

At least two posts made the claim that Muslims refuse to assimilate when they immigrate to the United States and western Europe.

"My son's girlfriend is Muslim," Mineo said, when asked about one of the posts. "Whatever."

In another 2017 post, "Vito Malara" wrote: "These people will not assimilate, they only assassinate. How can anyone defend an ideology, not a religion, where the brainwashed murdering losers worship a man, a pedophile named Mohammad who married a 6-year-old girl."

Mineo indicated earlier this month that his views on Muslims have changed since then.

"What I believe now is if you're a radical Islamic terrorist, there's no place for you here," he said. "If you're a contributing member of society, then fine. To try to paint me to some kind of narrative, it's not going to work."

David Gordon with the Virginia Project told Raw Story he was not aware of the Facebook posts, while indicating he was not interested in reviewing them.

"I don't really care because it's not material to anything I'm doing," he said. "There are no posts by Vito or whoever he is in the presentation we did with Scott. It's academically sound, and it adheres to the facts."

Mineo told Raw Story that his experience leading Parents Against Critical Theory has taught him to be more diplomatic.

"I know I have to be more careful with my words," he said. "It's not a bad thing. It forces you to think.

"That's why I'm open to sit down and talk to anyone," he continued. "I have to be able to hold a position without being called a white supremacist. If you're going to call me a white supremacist, you better have some pictures of me walking around with a freaking hood. Because I'm not. I'm not. I know what I am."

DOJ will waive death penalty in case against white supremacist mercenary who's fighting extradition from Ukraine

The US government will waive the death penalty against a former US soldier who is fighting extradition from Ukraine to face federal charges in connection with the 2018 murder of a couple in southwest Florida.

Craig Lang, along with Alex Zwiefelhofer, who is in US custody, is accused of killing the couple during a late-night rendezvous off the interstate south of Fort Myers as part of a plot to raise funds to pay for a military expedition to overthrow the Venezuelan government.

Bjorn Brunvand, Lang's court-appointed lawyer, appeared via Zoom for a status hearing held by a federal judge in Fort Myers today. Brunvand told Judge Sheri Polster Chappell it's difficult to predict when, if ever, Lang will be in US custody.

"We've made inquiries about that," Brunvand said. "It's really unknown how long it will take for the court to rule. My understanding is the extradition order is stayed pending a ruling [from the Ukrainian courts]."

A former soldier with combat experience in Iraq, Lang joined the ultranationalist militia Right Sector in 2015, taking part in the war against Russian separatists. Lang was a considered a mentor to many younger American volunteers, some of whom sought combat skills that they could put to use in service of white supremacist insurrection in their home country.

One aspiring combatant who contacted Lang was a South Carolinian named Jarrett William Smith, who contacted Lang in June 2016 through Facebook, seeking advice about joining Azov Battalion, another ultranationalist formation. Smith was arrested in an FBI sting in 2019 after sharing information about how to make IEDs and encouraging an assassination plot against former US Rep. Beto O'Rourke. Smith is currently serving a two-and-a-half-year sentence at USP Marion in Illinois.

During his time with Right Sector, Lang met Alex Zwiefelhofer, another American soldier who joined the militia after going AWOL from Fort Bragg in North Carolina. When the fighting in Ukraine reached a lull, Lang and Zwiefelhofer hatched a plan to travel to South Sudan to fight al-Shabaab, but they were detained at the border by Kenyan authorities, and deported to the United States. Lang harbored a dream of assembling a mercenary outfit, and he and Zwiefelhofer started making arrangements to travel to Venezuela in the spring of 2018 to overthrow the government of Nicolas Maduro, according to US court documents.

Lang and Zwiefelhofer are accused of arranging luring a Florida couple, Serafin "Danny" Lorenzo and Deana Lorenzo, to a nighttime rendezvous at commercial plaza off the interstate south of Fort Myers. The couple hoped to buy guns from the sellers, and then turn around and re-sell them at a profit. Instead, when Danny stepped out of the truck and walked around to the passenger side, he was killed in a hail of bullets, according to the investigation by the Lee County Sheriff's office. Deana, who was seated in the passenger seat of the truck, was also fatally shot. Deputies determined that two shooters carried out the execution-style assault, one firing from the rear into the back of the pickup truck and the other firing towards the front passenger side of the vehicle. Crime scene technicians recovered more than 63 shells around the vehicle. The two men fled east across the Everglades on a section of Interstate 75 known as "Alligator Alley," according to government documents.

For reasons that are unclear, Lang and Zwiefelhofer did not follow through on their plan to travel to Venezuela. Investigators determined that Lang sold some of the firearms components to a pawnshop in Seattle more than a month after the Lorenzo murders, and Zwiefelhofer returned to stay with his father in northern Wisconsin. According to government documents, Lang flew to Bogota, Colombia in September 2018 and planned to cross into Venezuela, but that plan didn't materialize either. In November 2018, the US Department of Homeland Security tracked Lang flying from Bogota to Madrid. A month later, Lang was back in Ukraine, according to an American expatriate who spoke to the FBI at the US embassy in Kyiv.

During the status hearing in Fort Myers today, Assistant US Attorney Jesus M. Casas told the court that the government has agreed to waive the death penalty in Lang's case in an attempt to overcome hurdles in the extradition process. The death penalty has been abolished in Ukraine.

However, Casas indicated that the US government is still seeking the death penalty against Zwiefelhofer, who has been in US custody since September 2019.

Zwiefelhofer and Lang were indicted on multiple counts related to the deaths of Danny and Deana Lorenzo, including use a firearm during and relation to a crime of violence and interference with commerce by robbery. In December 2019, a grand jury handed returned a superseding indictment, adding new counts for conspiracy to kill, kidnap and maim persons in a foreign country and violation of the Neutrality Act. The additional offenses required approval by the US Justice Department before they could be presented to the grand jury.

As part of the government's allegation that Lang and Zwiefelhofer conspired to overthrow the Venezuelan government, Casas wrote in a December 2019 court filing: "In furtherance of the conspiracy, Lang: (1) discussed with others the plan to fight the Venezuelan government to kill people, (2) obtained firearms, ammunition and other military equipment that he planned to take to take to Venezuela for the purpose of fighting against the Venezuelan government, (3) traveled from the state of Arizona to the state of Florida with firearms, ammunition and other military equipment; and (4) committed an armed robbery of $3,000 in US currency from [Serafin Lorenzo Jr.] and [Deana Lorenzo] to fund their travel to Venezuela,"

In Ukraine, Lang has been celebrated as a hero of the country's struggle to retain sovereignty against Russian aggression, with Right Sector fighters accompanying him to court in a show of solidarity, according to a recent report in Buzzfeed. And Lang has become increasingly conspicuous about his extremist orientation; photos of him appearing in court show a patch on the sleeve of his coat with the number "88" — a widely understood code for "Heil Hitler."

Casas told Judge Chappell today that the government is pursuing Lang and Zwiefelhofer's case on separate tracks given the uncertainty surrounding Lang's status.

Zwiefelhofer's lawyers told Chappell they need more time to travel to meet potential witnesses, gather documents from multiple government agencies and confer with their client, and the court granted a six-month continuance, putting the defendant on the docket for the December 2021 trial term.

Failed Neo-Nazi effort to rally at George Floyd's grave reveals a movement with global connections and infighting

The second round of nationwide White Lives Matter rallies that took place this past weekend turned out to be even more underwhelming than the inaugural event on April 11.

Repeating the dismal performance of last month's rallies, white supremacists mustered only a paltry turnout in a handful of locations across North America, with antifascists infiltrating their planning chats and turning out larger groups of protesters. Many of the local White Lives Matter organizers canceled their events altogether. While last month's White Lives Matter event in Huntington Beach, Calif. turned violent, the state admin took to Telegram on the morning of May 8 to urge supporters to "do some banner drops/sticker activism," before announcing, "California will not have an official event."

Planning chats, which were leaked by an antifascist infiltrator and disseminated by Corvallis Antifa on the eve of the rallies, reveal a segment of the US white power movement with global connections that is restless to assert a more visible presence and capitalize on white backlash against racial justice protests, but still also constrained by concern about alienating potential supporters through extremist rhetoric. The chats reveal significant crossties with the Proud Boys, dozens of whose members face federal charges for storming the US Capitol, and with Patriot Front, an avowedly fascist group that has shied away from publicity since the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va. The involvement of members of the Proud Boys and Patriot Front in the White Lives Matter rallies has caused considerable dissension within both organizations, and churn within the broader white power movement.

Emblematic of the potential for escalation as a result of schisms from more established white power groups, the admin of the Texas channel who uses the Telegram handle @rooftoparyan disclosed ties to both Patriot Front and the Proud Boys. In the White Lives Matter chats, @rooftoparyans reported that his involvement with White Lives Matter caused him to get pushed out of Patriot Front, while claiming that he was assembling a more militant group of activists that wanted to rally at the cemetery outside of Houston where George Floyd is buried.

The anonymous supreme organizer, who like the private forum where the planning for the rallies took place is identified as "Vetted admin basket," initially poured cold water on the idea, but @rooftoparyan persisted.

@rooftoparyan told his fellow organizers on May 1 "the more militant guys" in his local group were pushing him to hold the rally at the cemetery, adding, "Personally, I like the idea, to be honest." @rooftoparyan, who claims to be a military veteran, defended the idea of holding a white supremacist rally at the grave of Black man who was murdered by the police as "slapping these parasites back in the face for all the slaps whites have taken in the past year specifically." He went on to express resentment about the removal of "statues to great white men, a lot of which are my heroes here in Dixie," while taking offense at the honor bestowed on Floyd.

Three hours later, "Vetted admin basket" replied, encouraging the cemetery rally while attempting to prevent it from being publicly associated with "White Lives Matter."

"So we love the idea of some sort of 'event' happening at that location," the supreme organizer wrote. "However, it shouldn't be a WLM event. This is because we are 'WLM,' not 'anti-BLM.' We see this idea as an 'anti' message not a 'pro' message. What you all do on your own time, however, is up to you."

After learning about the plans, a group called Screwston Anti-fascist Committee reported that they mobilized a coalition of local groups and individuals to show up at the mausoleum where Floyd is buried.

"On Saturday morning, a sizable group of Houstonians assembled and marched through the graveyard with flowers, which were laid near Floyd's grave," the Screwston Anti-fascist Committee reported. "We stayed until well after the neo-Nazi group had been planning to appear. They apparently changed plans on short notice and never showed up, possibly having caught wind of our counter-protest and being intimidated."

In another comment by @rooftoparyan on May 3 he describes his group as "12 NS guys" — national socialists, or Nazis — who are "all a bit younger and less experienced than me."

@rooftoparyan's Telegram handle suggests his orientation towards race war. The name is likely a play on the phrase "rooftop Koreans," referring to Korean shopkeepers who took up positions on rooftops while armed with guns during the 1992 LA riots to defend their stores from looters. Their example has been widely embraced by white supremacists, boogaloo boys and right-wing paramilitary actors, with the term "rooftop" being repurposed in various contexts to indicate a proactive tactical stance.

Further solidifying his inclination towards race war, @rooftoparyan posted in the White Lives Matter chats on April 23: "I still thank God to this day I picked up TTD." Written by William Pierce, founder of the neo-Nazi group National Alliance, the 1978 book The Turner Diaries is considered an essential text by white supremacists and serves as a blueprint for insurrection, inspiring Timothy McVeigh's bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, among other violent attacks.

These are not ideas or aims that are likely to go down easily with the mainstream Trump supporters the white power movement seeks to recruit. While former President Donald Trump and GOP lawmakers like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene who have aligned themselves with him stoke white grievance, overt Nazism remains a liability for most of their supporters.

One day before his comment disclosing the impact of The Turner Diaries on his life, @rooftoparyan encapsulated the balancing act that the "White Lives Matter" white supremacists are attempting to pull off: Appeal to the mainstream while reining in the white power movement's most radioactive elements.

"Not only do we have to wake up the normies, but we have to cool off the radicals that think everything just needs to explode right now," @rooftoparyan wrote.

Later, on the same day, he reflected on the need to conceal his true beliefs while engaging with potential allies.

"The most extreme position I take openly is mass deportation and ethno-states," he wrote. "Tribalism is life. Everyone would be must better off in their own homelands."

A couple days later, @rooftoparyan would announce that he had been "kicked off all the PF servers." Previously, in the White Lives Matter chat, he had reported: "Patriot Front is in the process of suspending or outright kicking me out right now for organizing WLM in Texas. I just got into an argument with the coordinator of my area."

But he was still involved with the Proud Boys.

"PBs are cool with me organizing but won't back us up as a club," @rooftoparyan wrote. "I'm still working on them."

As an organization publicly positioned as civic nationalist that is led by a man who self-identifies as Afro-Cuban, some of the Proud Boys' rank-and-file members are receptive to white power organizing. But those linkages create a liability for the leadership, which has cultivated support from the Asian-American and Latinx communities.

Jaz Searby, whose Telegram account identifies him as the president of the Proud Boys Borderland chapter, disclosed in the chats that his role as organizer of the Australia White Lives Matter rally put him at odds with others in his organization.

"I was threatened with being disavowed if I interview Tom Sewell," Searby reported, referring to the leader of the Australian neo-Nazi group National Socialist Network.

"My whole chapter quit because of it," Searby added.

After getting frozen out of Patriot Front, @rooftoparyan wanted to know how far the new White Lives Matter formation was willing to go, including openly speaking about what white supremacists call the "JQ," or the "Jewish question."

"How is WLM going to play into building up the NS community?" he asked. "Like I see how the red-pilling is working and it's definitely helping me find guys that think like me, but is WLM ever going to go full NS? Or is drawing the normies in and then pushing our literature and the JQ how we are going about it? Just curious; if that's above my level, I understand."

The response from the supreme organizer was coy, writing, "We are pro-white. That implies pro-NS. But not restrictive to."

Tacitly acknowledging that openly calling themselves Nazis isn't tenable, the leader discussed a conspiracy theory known as "white replacement" while positioning White Lives Matter as the resistance.

"I don't know if you can get more NS than this anyway, even if you don't label it," they said.

Mama Grizzlies: Prominent women in the white power movement have long played protectors

With the political ascent of Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Rep. Lauren Boebert, two of the new members of Congress most closely aligned with QAnon and who most loudly amplified Donald Trump's false claim that the election was stolen, women have become the new face of the far right in national politics.

Greene (R-Ga.) and Boebert (R-Colo.) were both listed as "invited speakers and featured guests" at the Stop the Steal rally headlined by then-President Trump on Jan. 6, and voted against certifying the electoral vote for Joe Biden.

Boebert tweeted on the morning of the insurrection, "Today is 1776," and declared from the floor of Congress that day as Trump supporters were preparing to storm the Capitol: "Madam Speaker, I have constituents outside this building right now. I promised to be their voice.

Prior to becoming a candidate, Greene reportedly suggested in a video that Nancy Pelosi could be executed for treason and liked a comment on social media that said "a bullet to the head would be quicker" to remove her. Along with embracing QAnon, she has embraced a dangerous antisemitic conspiracy theory.

Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, another Trump loyalist and someone ran on QAnon themes without embracing the conspiracy theory as explicitly as Greene and Boebert, also joined Congress as a member of the Class of 2020, but since his election he hasn't commanded the national spotlight to the same degree as his female colleagues.

Almost as prominent as Greene and Boebert is Amanda Chase, a rising star of the MAGA wing of the GOP who currently serves in the state senate and is running for governor of Virginia. Chase attended the Jan. 6 Stop the Steal rally, where she joined Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes and a Proud Boys chapter president.

As a testament to the excitement Chase inspires among Trump loyalists, a friend introduced her at a rally in south Florida on April 24 by saying: "If you were to take Donald Trump and his fight and zeal, and what happened to him with the impeachment hoaxes, and you were to merge him with Marjorie Taylor Greene for being kicked off of her committees in Congress — which Amanda was, for being there on the 6th to support our Constitution — and if you were to take Lauren Boebert before she was even thinking about running for Congress, when Amanda was packing heat at the Richmond capitol several years ago [sic] where the liberals were just going nuts."

Fiery campaigners who unapologetically pay tribute to the Second Amendment, invoke white nationalist themes and flaunt Trump's false claim about the 2020 election being stolen, Greene, Boebert and Chase might seem like unlikely figureheads for a movement that, in addition to halting demographic change, seeks to reassert traditional gender roles and models for family formation.

But women have played a crucial role as leaders in the far-right movement since at least the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment. Sarah Palin electrified the Republican base as the GOP's vice-presidential nominee in 2008, opening the door for Trump-style populism and sponsoring a slate of women candidates during the 2010 Tea Party wave. Slightly ahead of Palin, Michele Bachmann — whose path to Congress ran through local school board battles in Minnesota — accused then-candidate Barack Obama of holding "anti-American views," setting the stage for a racist backlash against the 44th president.

Preceding Palin and Bachmann, Phyllis Schlafly, although never successful in winning a seat in Congress, energetically mobilized a national women-led conservative movement that defeated the Equal Rights Amendment. And as Elizabeth Gillespie McRae writes in Mothers of Massive Resistance: White Women and the Politics of White Supremacy, women formed the bulwark of white supremacist campaigns to block school desegregation, from Virginia in the 1920s to Boston in the 1970s.

Looking even further to the right, women have played essential roles in the white power movement, which beginning in 1983 embraced a goal of overthrowing the US government.

"As bearers of children, women were essential to the realization of white power's mission: to save the race from annihilation," Kathleen Belew writes in Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America. "More concretely, their supporting roles, auxiliary organizations, and recruiting skills sustained white power as a social movement. They brokered social relationships that cemented intergroup alliances and shaped the movement from within."

Sarah Palin set the template for the current crop of far-right women leaders in a May 2010 speech before the anti-choice women's group Susan B. Anthony List that framed reaction against the progress towards social equality as an instinct of maternal protection.

"Here in Alaska, I always think of the mama grizzlies that rise up on their hind legs when somebody's coming to attack their cubs, to do something adverse to their cubs," Palin said. "You thought pit bulls were tough! Well, you don't want to mess with the mama grizzlies."

There were unsettling changes afoot, such as a greater role of government in ensuring that Americans were covered by health insurance, and Palin promised that women would be at the vanguard of the resistance.

"All across this country, women are standing up and speaking out for common-sense solutions," she said. "These policies coming out of DC right now, this fundamental transformation of America — well, a lot of women who are very concerned about their kids' futures are saying, 'Well, we don't like this fundamental transformation, and we're gonna do something about it.' It seems like it's kind of a mom awakening in the last year and a half, where women are rising up and saying, 'No, we've had enough already.' Because moms kind of just know when something's wrong."

Invocations of motherhood as a bedrock of purpose remains a potent part of the messaging for far-right women leaders in electoral politics. Among the three most visible far-right women political figures, who all have children, Greene and Chase talk about their roles as mothers the most. In speaking about their experiences as mothers, Greene and Chase can position themselves as being outside of the political establishment while maintaining traditionally gendered identities as protectors of the hearth.

"You see, most of my life, I've just been a regular person," Greene said, introducing herself at an "America First" rally in south Florida on April 24. Mentioning her experience as a businessperson, she continued, "I've been a wife and a mom of three kids, and I want to tell you that's the best thing I've ever done in my life."

Lest anyone miss the point, Greene added later in the speech: "You want to know the greatest thing that can happen to a woman? It's a blessing, and there's many women that have a difficult time with it."

"Childbirth!" a man in the crowd shouted out.

"Motherhood," Greene said. "Being a mother is what made me be able to achieve my dreams and achieve my goals."

Greene went on to use motherhood as a framework for her hardline opposition to any restrictions on firearms ownership.

"I can tell you right now, as a woman, a mom and a business owner, if someone was coming in, breaking in my home, trying to kill me or my children, I would pick up the biggest gun I have and shoot as many bullets as I want to," she said.

Greene and Boebert have both railed against the Equality Act. Greene stoked fear against transgender rights by falsely claiming during her Florida speech that the legislation "puts men in our daughter's bathrooms, puts boy and men in our girls' sports locker rooms." Boebert similarly charged on Steve Bannon's show that the legislation promotes "supremacy" of gays and lesbians, while using a word that is a slur for transgender people.

Similar to Greene, Chase introduced herself at the January 2020 Second Amendment rally that saw people in tactical gear flood the streets of downtown Richmond, Va. with high-powered rifles as a mother and a regular person called to action by looming crisis.

"I'm just a mom; I'm just a redneck from Chesterfield, and I know what's right from wrong," she said, while standing alongside Proud Boys Enrique Tarrio, Jeremy Bertino, Jay Thaxton and Bill Whicker III. Chase might seem like an unlikely ally for the Proud Boys, an exclusively male group whose initiation requires them to declare, "I am a proud western chauvinist," and whose tenets include "venerating the housewife." Members have gone to pains to enforce gender boundaries as the Proud Boys' violence has escalated: After being stabbed during a December 2020 rally in Washington DC, Bertino posted on Parler: "Women do not belong at the front line at rallies or the battles that happen at them. For every female that is upfront it's 1 less capable man up there defending."

But Whicker gushed during a podcast in which he recalled bumping into Chase again at the Jan. 6 Stop the Steal rally: "Yeah, it was really cool."

While addressing the Second Amendment supporters in Richmond in January 2020, Chase repurposed guns as a women's issue, using it to paint leftists as hypocrites.

"You know, the left likes to talk about how they're all for women," she said. "Well, I'm sorry, but I'm a woman, and I feel like I've been violated because now you're telling me that I have to disarm myself, and so all these sexual predators and everything that want to do me harm — you're going to leave me vulnerable? Hell no, you're not going to do that, because I'm going to fight back."

Taking the point further in a Facebook comment, Chase has drawn condemnation for saying that women who don't carry firearms are more likely to be raped.

On the periphery of electoral politics, far-right commentator and author Michelle Malkin, who has openly embraced white supremacists like former Rep. Steve King and Faith Goldy, has positioned herself as a surrogate mother to the Groyper Army, a group of young, white men who follow Nick Fuentes and push white nationalist memes online.

"Mommy, mommy, mommy," the Groypers chanted as Malkin approached the lectern at the America First Police Action Conference in Orlando, Fla. in late February.

"Mommy is home," the 50-year-old Malkin acknowledged, pausing after each sentence and scanning the audience to let them relish each point. "Looks like y'all cleaned up. Looks like you're too legit to quit. So, there's no bad-energy girls tonight. I like that knowing laughter. And I have just two words: 'Let's go!'"

The maternal references would have seemed strange to outsiders, but they were received as both a ringing endorsement and a delicious inside joke by the aggrieved and socially awkward young, white men in the audience.

Malkin sealed her alliance with Fuentes and his followers when she addressed conservative students at UCLA in November 2019, just days after the Groypers disrupted an appearance there by Donald Trump Jr. to promote his book that was hosted by Charlie Kirk and Turning Point USA. The event was the culmination of a brewing battle between more mainstream campus conservatives and white nationalists over the direction of the Trump movement. The Groypers had intended to goad Trump Jr. and Kirk into taking more extreme positions by asking provocative questions about Israel and immigration. Instead, Trump Jr., who was hawking a book called Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us, announced there would be no Q&A. As the event devolved into chaos, Trump's girlfriend, former Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle yelled, "You're not making your parents proud by being rude and disruptive and discourteous." She also said they could probably only get dates online.

Shortly afterwards, during a speech at Stanford University, conservative commentator Ben Shapiro denigrated Fuentes' followers as "America First asshats" who are a "bunch of masturbating losers living in your mother's basement."

At UCLA, Malkin leaped to the defense of the Groypers, comparing them to her own teenage children.

"And I will tell you that, as a mom with brilliant, right-thinking kids, who, yes, live in my basement, and yes, share memes, I found this obsessive reference, and many of the so-called right are obsessed with it, obsessed with young people's dating habits and lives — these are prominent adult conservative media personalities, much older than their targets," she said. "It's tellingly defensive. It's cringe. It's touchy. And it's also creepy.

"If I was your mom, I'd be proud as hell," Malkin declared.

Malkin's speech drew a bright red line between the more respectable wing of the Trump movement that has come to be associated with the Conservative Political Action Conference and those who are openly pushing for white ethno-nationalism.

Reeling through a list of names of groups and personalities that have variously promoted white supremacy, antisemitism, Holocaust denial and street violence, Malkin said, "They want me to disavow Nick Fuentes and VDARE and Peter Brimelow and Faith Goldy and Gavin McInnes and the Proud Boys and Steve King, Laura Loomer and on and on.

"No, I don't agree with every last thing that all the people I've listed have ever said or written or published or tweeted or thought in their heads, in their inside voices or outside," she continued. "But I will not disavow any of them, and I will not join the de-platforming witch-hunters who hypocritically call themselves free speech and culture warriors."

As a woman who is an opinion leader of the far right, Malkin has adopted the role of surrogate mother to a tribe of young, white men whose racist online chatter belies insecurity about challenges to white dominance and patriarchy.

Among those who embraced Malkin's visit most enthusiastically was Christian Secor, president of America First Bruins. Secor, who later tweeted that he landed an internship under Malkin, adopted the user name "Scuffed Elliot Rodger" as a DLive streamer, paying tribute to the 22-year-old man who killed six people in 2014 and became the founding hero of the incel movement.

Secor carried an "America First" flag into the Senate chambers on Jan. 6, and faces federal charges for obstruction of an official proceeding, civil disorder, assaulting, resisting or impeding officers, and breaching the Capitol.

Malkin tweeted on May 24 that Secor's release to home detention was "very good news."

Watching Fuentes' nightly podcast, it's clear that the Groypers view the white supremacist and patriarchal ideals championed by generations of far-right women leaders as being under assault.

After Fuentes complained earlier this week that he was on a government no-fly list, one of his followers imagined him as a kind of disinherited Don Draper. Reading from the chats on his show on Tuesday, Fuentes said, "Black Groyper says, 'Huh, a demographic change? Feds? Sir the year is 1957, and you have a beautiful wife in the kitchen and four kids. Put your suit on and eat some breakfast. It's time to go to church."

Fuentes paused to consider it.

"I wish," he said. "I wish."

Feds seize funds from white nationalist leader that may have been donated by mysterious now-dead French donor

Nick Fuentes, the 22-year-old white nationalist leader, says the government seized a significant amount of money from him, while complaining that he was placed on a no-fly list that prevented him from flying from Chicago to Florida to attend a press conference yesterday.

Fuentes, who hosts the nightly "America First" show, is an avid supporter of Donald Trump who attended the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville. Following the public backlash against the violence at that event, Fuentes gravitated towards the optics-conscious wing of the fractured alt-right coalition, assembling a following known as the "Groypers" that have focused on radicalizing college Republicans to the white nationalist cause.

Following the 2020 presidential election, Fuentes' group joined the Proud Boys in large rallies in Washington DC on Nov. 14 and Dec. 12 that set the stage for the Jan. 6 assault on the US Capitol. Fuentes spoke outside the Capitol as rioting began on Jan. 6, but has said he did not go inside.

At least one prominent Groyper is charged in the assault on the Capitol. Christian Secor, a former UCLA student and founder of America First Bruins, has been indicted for obstructing an official proceeding, assaulting, resisting and impeding officers, and civil disorder, among other charges. An affidavit submitted by the FBI to support the charges against Secor includes a photo of him shaking hands with Fuentes, who is described in the document as the founder of the "America First podcast" and as "a public figure known for making racist statements and denying the holocaust."

Fuentes mentioned the government seizure of his funds on his "America First" show last night.

"I don't like to brag or anything, but if you knew how much money they took — do you know how much I fucking hate the government because I woke up and one of my checking accounts — one of my checking accounts, which has lots and lots and lots of money in it, had zero dollars," Fuentes told his followers. "So, when people accuse me of being a fed, it's like, 'You have no idea what I have been put through.'"

It's not clear exactly how much money was withdrawn from Fuentes' account, but he said it was in the six-figures range.

Fuentes reportedly received a $250,000 contribution from a mysterious French donor through Bitcoin in December. The donation was disclosed through an investigation by Chainalysis, a group that tracks Bitcoin transfers. The investigation found that the donor, a French computer programmer, transferred a total of $522,000 to various US far-right figures. The largest amount, by far, went to Fuentes.

In a suicide note published as a blog post, the donor expresses support for far-right views, including the false belief that George Floyd died from a drug overdose and the idea that COVID-19 is a hoax perpetrated by world governments as justification to restrict civil liberties.

"That's why I decided to leave my modest wealth to certain causes and people," he wrote.

Megan Squire, a computer scientist who tracks white supremacists' financial transactions for the Southern Poverty Law Center, told Raw Story that this is not the first time Fuentes has publicly disclosed that one of his bank accounts was seized by the government. And Fuentes publicly feuded with others in the white supremacist movement since Jan. 6 about the likelihood that he's under investigation and whether he's putting his followers in legal jeopardy by continuing to hold live events. But Squire said Fuentes is becoming increasingly open about the FBI investigation.

"Last night was the first time he said 'FBI' and 'six figures," she said. "Okay, we're getting some specifics here."

The FBI did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

Fuentes' comments about the government seizing funds from one of his bank accounts were made in the context of his complaint that he has been prevented from flying. On Tuesday morning, he posted a video on Twitter with a recording of a person who appears to be a Southwest Airlines agent telling him "they're not letting you fly." The Twitter post includes the text: "Video proof that I am on a no-fly list."

Tucker Carlson, who has repeatedly promoted white supremacist positions on his Fox News show, appears to have taken up Fuentes' cause during his show on Tuesday evening, although he did not mention Fuentes by name.

"There are reports tonight that a number of American citizens, including Americans who were at the Trump rally in January — the perfectly legal Trump rally in Washington in January — have been placed by this administration on the no-fly list, meaning they cannot fly domestically," Carlson said. "We have not been able to confirm that, but if it's true, this is a turning point in American history. These are people, again, who have not been charged with crimes. If they have been prevented from traveling within their own country by the administration because the administration doesn't like their political views, that is not democracy; it is dictatorship."

On his show last night, Fuentes unspooled a grandiose and deluded rant, extrapolating that his placement on a government no-fly list was a precursor to white genocide.

"Maybe by 2100 we'll be able to say that white people are under attack or something," he said. "And by that point we'll be in the history books. At that point, it'll be Chinese overlords and a new Hispanic/African protectorate of the People's Republic of China teaching them about the Europeans in history class. We'll be extinct."

The myth of white genocide, also known as the "Great Replacement," has been used by terrorists, including Dylann Roof, Anders Breivik, Brenton Tarrant and Patrick Crusius to justify mass shootings that they carried out.

"People have got to start doing something about this, or we're all going to die," Fuentes continued. "We're all going to die anyway, at some point. But we're all going to be killed! We're all going to be killed! We are all going to die, and hopefully go to heaven. But we will all be killed. I mean, they will expedite the death process. We will not be dying of old age. We will be dying of Black person bonking you in the head with some foreign object. You'll be dying of — I don't know — some COVID vaccination squad shooting a tranquilizer dart in your throat."

Squire said Fuentes' call to action shouldn't be dismissed as merely edginess or irony.

"He doesn't shy away from the idea that he's inspired people," Squire said. "He deems himself the leader of a movement and gave them a name. Now they wear funny hats and uniforms. To think that he doesn't want someone listening to him to take action — I don't think you can listen to him, and expect that people will just nod their heads and go on. That's not what he wants. That's not the point of the show."

Squire noted that in the past Fuentes has encouraged followers to kill state lawmakers and told them to be ready "to fight… with weapons" against a possible vaccine mandate.

"It's a directive," she said. "I don't think I need to give him the benefit of the doubt. His words don't leave a lot of gray area."

'Lock and load': The top Virginia gubernatorial candidate has aligned herself with Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and other extremists

Amanda Chase, the Republican frontrunner in the party's nominating contest for governor of Virginia, has surrounded herself with armed volunteers and extremists bent on upending democracy since at least January 2020, when she joined a Second Amendment rally in Richmond that drew thousands of people wielding high-powered rifles.

With a handful of Proud Boys standing nearby, including national chairman Enrique Tarrio, who was clad in a bullet-proof vest, Chase vowed to launch a recall against Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, charging that "he has violated the very oath that he swore to uphold."

Introducing her that day was Joshua Macias, the cofounder of group called Vets for Trump. Macias also appeared with Chase when the state senator announced her candidacy for governor on the steps of the Virginia State Capitol a month later. Also flanking Chase that day was a man named Antonio LaMotta, who was dressed in a knee-length black trench coat and carrying a bulky satchel. Macias and LaMotta would later be arrested on weapons charges when they traveled in a Hummer with QAnon stickers to the Philadelphia Convention Center where votes were being tabulated days after the November election.

Virginia State Senator Amanda Chase and Vets4Trump Joshua Macias 2A Lobby Day www.youtube.com

Chase has scornfully rejected the labels "extremist" and "insurrectionist," but she hasn't shied away from the far-right groups implicated in the storming of the Capitol. And she has made a rousing account of her own effort to disrupt the electoral certification for President Biden into a centerpiece of her campaign stump speech. Like her hero, Donald Trump, Chase is building her profile by attacking the leadership of her own party in her quest for power in blue-trending Virginia.

Chase is one of seven Republicans vying for the gubernatorial nomination. The party opted to hold a convention, scheduled for May 8, instead of a primary — a decision that Chase says was made to prevent her from securing the nomination.

Lamotta, the man who joined Chase when she announced her campaign in February 2020, adopted a war-like posture during the tumultuous 2020 presidential election.

"Why waste all the effort on expecting a legitimate election?" he wrote in a blog post. "You know that they've already defunded the police and funded the rioters across the nation."

The rambling screed went on to darkly hint that billionaire financier George Soros was underwriting disorder and that the US government had become co-opted by sinister forces. "The whole US military is not even ½ percent of the total population of armed American patriots," Lamotta continued. "The patriots will win this war… this is the making of our history, folks. Lock and load, and don't shoot until you see the whites of their eyes."

Reacting to inquiries from reporters in November, Chase acknowledged that one of the men was "pictured in photos with me at various campaign events" while saying that he was "simply a supporter that shows up on occasion at events." Although two men associated with Chase's campaign were arrested, she only mentioned one individual, and did not specify whether she was talking about Lamotta or Macias. Chase attacked coverage of the incident as "the fake news trying to create a story that doesn't exist," while adding that she denounced "any attempt to plot an attack on the Philadelphia Convention Center."

Despite minimizing Lamotta and Macias' association with her campaign as "simply a supporter that shows up on occasion at events," two months later Chase would post a photo on her official Virginia Senate Facebook account showing herself with Macias on the eve of the Capitol insurrection. Also shown in the photo, which depicts five people huddled in a hotel room, was Stewart Rhodes, leader of the Oath Keepers.

Like Rhodes and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (who has endorsed her candidacy), Chase had called on President Trump to invoke martial law to prevent his removal from office.

"Just arrived in DC and talking to organizer for tomorrow's rally!" Chase wrote on Facebook on Jan. 5. "We the People in order to form a more perfect Union are here together. Here at local events with #LatinosForTrump #LawyersForTrump #VetsForTrump and #Oathkeepers."

At least 14 people associated with the far-right militia group, which targets military veterans and retired law enforcement for recruitment, have received federal charges related to the Jan. 6 insurrection, including conspiracy, obstruction of an official proceeding and destruction of government property.

Meanwhile, prosecutors in Philadelphia attempted to revoke Macias' bond, asserting that he "violated the conditions of his bail by once again traveling across state lines in an attempt to interfere with a lawful democratic process."

Chase also renewed her ties with the Proud Boys at the Jan. 6 "Stop the Steal" rally.

Bill Whicker III, president of the Eastside Regulators chapter of the Proud Boys in North Carolina, described his encounter with Chase during a guest appearance on "Right View," a UK podcast, three days after the insurrection.

"I had a state senator walk up to me while I was in the crowd doing…." He paused briefly, and resumed: "… what I was doing."

Whicker said Chase had remembered him from the Second Amendment rally a year earlier in Richmond.

"She's a great senator," he enthused. "She's a Virginia state senator. Her name's Amanda Chase…. Yeah, it was really cool. I got it on my body cam, too. It was surreal as shit, dude. She had all these monster security team with her. Obviously, the state paid for them, and they were just chilling. And she walks up and she's like, 'Hi.' And I was like, 'Yeah, you're Amanda Chase."

Whicker said during the podcast that he did not go in the Capitol.

At least 25 other members of the Proud Boys face federal charges, including conspiracy, obstruction of an official proceeding, civil disorder, and assaulting, resisting or impeding officers.

A campaign aide for Chase told Raw Story she was not available for comment for this story.

Campaign finance reports for Chase, on file with the Virginia Department of Elections, show she has paid Arete Protection Services, a company registered in Nelson County, almost $50,000 for "executive protection services" from late August 2020 through January 2021.

But Chase has also openly recruited armed volunteers to join her campaign entourage.

In a Sept. 27, 2020 post on her Facebook page, Chase published a photo of herself and Jody Pyles — a pastor who owns a martial arts studio in Pulaski County — and other volunteers loading a van to travel to northern Virginia for a Trump rally. The post included an email, suggesting that supporters reach out "if you'd like to host an event or go on tour with us, especially photographers, merchandisers and prior law enforcement."

Another post, on Oct. 21, showed Pyles with a large pistol strapped to his hip at a long dinner table with Chase, her family and campaign staffers.

"Dinner in Louisa after a full day of shooting and practice drills with the family and our security team," the post reads.

Chase's campaign finance reports show that Pyles received a total of $2,889 for consulting, fuel reimbursement and transportation in late 2020. Pyles also also attended the Jan. 6 Stop the Steal rally in DC with Chase. Her reports show that her campaign spent $429.68 on lodging and parking at the Hyatt Place Washington DC on Jan. 6.

Chase alluded to her practice of surrounding herself with armed campaign personnel during a Facebook post last month in which she described attending a Sunday service at a megachurch in Leesburg and being told by the usher that she and her entourage couldn't bring their firearms into the sanctuary.

"I had to actually explain to them that as a state senator and candidate for governor I had threats that warranted being able to carry myself," Chase wrote. "My personal aides also carry and are prior law enforcement and military."

Pyles has discussed his law enforcement background in a Facebook Live video and in an interview with a local newspaper. He worked for the Winston-Salem Police Department in North Carolina for less than two years, beginning in 2003. He was fired in 2005 for insubordination and violating policies on sick leave and reporting to duty, according to a termination letter provided by the city of Winston-Salem.

Prior to joining Chase on the campaign trail, Pyles had been involved in efforts to mobilize resistance to anticipated gun-control legislation after Democrats took control of the Virginia legislature in early 2020, and backlash against the struggle for racial justice following the murder of George Floyd.

Pyles addressed the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors in February 2020 by telling them that "the next step in making their voices heard has been a movement that many counties have joined in creating county militias," according to a report in a local newspaper.

The report said Pyles told county officials that the word "militia" has a negative connotation, so the new organization was named the Pulaski County Home Guard. The newspaper reported that "the first muster" was held at Connection Church, where Pyles is the pastor.

Later, in the summer of 2020, the Roanoke Times reported that Pyles live-streamed on a sidewalk near the campus of Radford University protesting President Brian Hemphill's support for a planned Black Lives Matter protest. The newspaper reported that Pyles called on "the citizens of Radford [to] show up and make some noise" and "let them know that this is not going to be allowed."

In a follow-up video responding to criticism of his call to action at the local university, Pyles said, "We're in civil war. I think these idiots should be treated as terrorists, and you're out here destroying property, you're destroying businesses, you're destroying people's lives, and you should be treated as a terrorist. You should be treated as an attack on US soil. And we should handle it as such."

Reached by phone, Pyles declined to comment on the record about his involvement in the home guard or his opposition to the Black Lives Matter protest.

Earlier this year, Pyles announced his intention to run for Virginia House of Delegates. Chase and Pyles have both accused Republican officials of undermining them, in Pyles case because he refused to distance himself from Chase.

Lending credence to the charge, Pyles read a series of texts from an unnamed party "chairman" on his phone while standing alongside Chase at an April 18 rally in Giles County. The southwestern Virginia county straddles the West Virginia state line.

Quoting the unnamed official, Pyles read: "I just want someone that can win. NoVa will eat her up." The phrase refers to northern Virginia, a Democratic stronghold where Republicans also tend to be more moderate.

In another text, Pyles said the unnamed official told him: "She has found an issue profile to get a solid base. Unfortunately, that does not equal a win. To get 51 percent, you need the middle. And currently in Virginia you need some of the left of center to vote our way. She is toxic, and can't build her base."

Pyles declined to provide the name of the GOP official to Raw Story.

Describing how his campaign was sabotaged, Pyles said in a March 16 video posted on YouTube that the state Republican Party had previously advertised that the deadline to file for the House of Delegates seat was March 25. He claimed that "four leaders who are establishment folks" in House District 12, which covers Giles and Pulaski counties, held a closed meeting and changed the filing deadline to March 15 without telling anyone except their favored candidate.

Sharing Pyles' video on her Facebook page, Chase wrote that she was "calling out" Rich Anderson, the chairman of the Virginia Republican Party, along with the county party chairs in Giles and Pulaski counties, and the party chair for District 12.

Zack Thompson, one of the local party chairs named by Chase, declined to comment on the matter to Raw Story. The state party did not respond to an inquiry from Raw Story, and messages to two other officials named by Chase went unreturned.

Seeking to circumvent resistance in her home state, Chase announced earlier this month that she was traveling to Florida to seek President Trump's endorsement. She attended a dinner at Mar-a-Lago on April 24, but her report the next day indicated that she had come up short in her quest for the coveted endorsement. Chase recounted that Trump told her: "I've heard about you," and gave her a fist bump. She said she plans to meet with Trump's chief of staff this week.

Chase is putting Trump's false claim that the 2020 election was stolen at the center of her campaign, telling voters in a recent campaign video that she's "working with the Virginia Project to help expose and have a full investigation of the 2020 presidential election." She said that during the general election campaign she plans "to work with Sidney Powell," the former Trump lawyer whose defense against a defamation suit by Dominion Voting Systems is that "no reasonable person would conclude that the statements were truly statements of fact."

And speaking at a rally headlined by US Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) in Indian River County before her meeting with Trump last weekend, Chase electrified the crowd with her stock campaign speech about being the second person in history to be censured by the Virginia Senate.

"I publicly said that the 2020 presidential election was stolen — because it was," Chase said. "And then I had the audacity on January 6th to show up at the Stop the Steal Rally in DC. How many of you were there with me?"

Audience members cheered heartily.

"I wanted to go there in person," Chase continued, "because I just knew that I was going to be witnessing history that day, right? And I said, 'We the People, we are going to go there, support our president, Donald J. Trump, and we are going to give Congress the courage that those weak-kneed Republicans needed to stand up to the Democrats and put in the right electors.'"

As Chase continued, she made it clear she was not just reliving past glory.

"We need to replace the RINO Republicans with firebrand Republicans that have a backbone and speak the truth," she railed, her voice rising above a surge of ecstatic cheers. "We are not idiots. We the People know the truth, and we don't care about your political speeches. We want some action. We want this election-fraud dumpster-fire disaster exposed. We want criminal prosecutions. We want a full investigation of this election. We want people held accountable. And we want the right president put in office."

'She's savvy': Mike Flynn endorses far-right Republican who pushed Trump to invoke Martial Law

Amanda Chase, the far-right candidate for governor who has been censured by the Virginia Senate for hailing the Capitol rioters as "patriots," has received the endorsement of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

Chase previously echoed a call made by Flynn for Donald Trump to declare martial law to prevent his removal from office.

"Not my president and never will be," Chase wrote on Facebook on Dec. 15. "The American people aren't fools. We know you cheated to win and we'll never accept the results. Fair elections we can accept but cheating to win; never. It's not over yet. So thankful President Trump has a backbone and refuses to concede. President Trump should declare martial law as recommended by General Flynn."

Flynn, Trump's former National Security Advisor who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, received a pardon in December 2020, and soon afterwards became a fixture at Stop the Steal rallies.

During a Dec. 12 Stop the Steal rally in Washington DC that set the stage for hundreds of Proud Boys roaming the streets and committing assaults and also vandalizing Black churches, Flynn said, "We're inside the walls of the Deep State. There is evil and there is corruption, and there's light and truth. We're going to get to the light and we're going to get to the truth. And us inside of this barricade, we're gonna knock those walls down."

In a video posted on Chase's Facebook page on Saturday, Flynn praised the candidate by saying, "She is a leader, she's courageous, she's tough, she's disciplined, she's savvy, and she's got good, just God-given common sense. And she just absolutely breathes patriotism."

The Virginia GOP nominating convention that will determine which candidate the party places on the ballot for the November general election, is only two weeks away. Chase said in the video that people have asked her what she's doing in Florida. By way of explanation, she noted that Virginia once had a Republican-controlled legislature, and she wanted "people to remember what freedom looks like." Flynn, for his part, said Chase was "down here doing some work on Mar-A-Lago area," although neither of them mentioned Trump, the town's most famous resident.

Chase said she's not accepting endorsements from "politicians," but suggested Flynn's endorsement is different.

"I don't trust politicians — I just don't," she said. "I like to be able to speak the truth, and a lot of politicians can't handle that. They want the most politically expedient thing to say — denying truth — and I just appreciate you standing with me boldly as a non-politician and as a general, and a great American patriot."


Amanda Chase endorsed by retired Gen. Michael Flynn www.youtube.com

Here’s some of the bizarre right-wing livestreaming drama that foreshadowed the pro-Trump insurrection

Among a set of virulently xenophobic and racist internet streamers who helped drum up support for a right-wing uprising to keep Donald Trump in power, interpersonal drama — contrived as often as not to sustain audience engagement — sometimes overshadows their shared anti-democratic aims.

The so-called Groyper movement — a subset of young men who push white nationalism under the guise of patriotism and Christianity — would play a role in the storming of Capitol. Christian Secor, a 22-year-old student at UCLA and president of the America First Bruins, carried the group's signature blue "America First" flag onto the Senate floor and sat in the chair designated for Vice President Mike Pence. Secor is charged with violent entry into the Capitol and assaulting, resisting or impeding officers, among other alleged federal offenses.

According to a government court filing, law enforcement found mace and body armor plates in Secor's bedroom and a "ghost gun" in a gun safe when they executed a search warrant at his house in mid-September. A ghost gun is a homemade or improvise firearm that typically lacks a serial number. The government also expressed concern in a court filing about text messages Secor exchanged with an associate the night before his arrest about "future operations" that needed to be "kept ultra secret."

Secor was released to home detention in late March.

In the affidavit supporting charges against Secor, the government cited his "ties to extremist groups," with connections to a "Person 1," who although not named by the government is clearly Nicholas Fuentes[JG1] , the leader of the Groyper movement. The affidavit also cites Secor's connections to a "Person 2," who the government identified as the streamer who goes by the name "Culture War Criminal." Before his Twitter account was suspended, "Culture War Criminal" tweeted: "Christian Secor is a great friend of mine, and a true American patriot. Thanks be to God that he's been released."

As members of the southern California Groyper movement, Secor and "Culture War Criminal" had both participated in Stop the Steal rallies in Huntington Beach, embedding with local GOP activists.

On New Year's Eve, YouTube streamer Corinne Cliford encountered "Culture War Criminal" in Huntington Beach. Following an altercation between Cliford and a group of unidentified pro-Trump women, "Culture War Criminal," who was also streaming, approached her with his cell phone mounted on a selfie stick and said, "There you are," as shown in one of Cliford's videos.

"Culture War Criminal" and his friends chanted, "Make America Great Again" and "F*ck antifa" at Cliford, and eventually she retreated to her car. Her stream shows the group surrounding her car and draping a "F*ck Biden" flag over it. "Culture War Criminal" can be seen filming Cliford trapped in her car, and saying, "Shame on you. You witch. You vile witch."

"If this is how violent it's going to be in Washington DC, then we need full-on, full-on military intervention," Cliford told her followers in her stream. "Because if these people are going to get this violent for their social media, it's not okay.

"If these people are going to act this way in Huntington Beach, these people are going to act this way in Washington DC," she continued. "If this is going to happen in Washington DC, then we are on high alert. Honestly, Washington DC should be closed and no one should be allowed in DC. There should be a complete roadblock of DC. No one should be allowed in the 4th of January…. These are people who are very, very extremist and they're making it so that Trump's not going to be able to win this election…. I am 100 percent for Stop the Steal."

The New Year's Eve confrontation was not the first time Cliford had encountered "Culture War Criminal."

The world of far-right livestreaming is full of shifting alliances and rivalries, streamers often and encounter each other, creating a pool of characters. Conflict and betrayal create compelling narratives that hold the attention of the streamers' followers. The genre thrives on outrageous and extreme statements, amping up racism and misogyny, along with suspense from contrived conflict, to hold eyeballs.

To add to the blurring of fantasy and reality, "super fans" — followers who donate a certain amount of money for the privilege of having their comments appear in a live chat — sometimes show up in real life to assist the streamer in getting out of difficult situations.

On Oct. 15, 2020, Cliford filmed herself speaking with "Culture War Criminal" in the Westwood section of Los Angeles near UCLA. "Culture War Criminal" was with Tim Gionet, a livestreamer better known as Baked Alaska, who marched alongside white supremacists at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va. in 2017. Gionet would later livestream himself inside the Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection. His stream shows him picking up a phone and purporting to make a call in a Senate office and then in another office sitting on a couch and propping his feet up on a table. Gionet, who faces charges of breaching the Capitol and disorderly conduct, can be heard in his video saying, "America First is inevitable. F*ck globalists, let's go."

Cliford would say later of the October 2020 incident Westwood that Gionet and his livestreamer friends surrounded her and "told me women shouldn't vote."

She struck up a banter with "Culture War Criminal," and it quickly turned confrontational.

"Are you a white supremist?" Cliford asked "Culture War Criminal."

"Why do you think that?" he responded, smiling. When asked if white people should have their own country, he acknowledged, "Yeah, if there's people that want to have their own country."

"Culture War Criminal," for his part, went on a tirade about his desire to subjugate women.

"They should cover up," he said, referring to a group of women offscreen. "We need to flee from sexual immorality. We should not allow women to go off the chain like this. It always results in chaos."

Then "Culture War Criminal" told Cliford to "stick to your sphere."

"You should be taking care of a family right now," he said. "Hey, Saturday night, you should be tucking your kids in, getting ready for church. You should be getting ready for church tomorrow morning."

The friction between "Culture War Criminal" and Cliford over women's enfranchisement and overt white supremacy should not be taken to infer that Cliford's views are not also extreme.

During her New Year's Eve livestream, Cliford filmed herself ranting in a fast-food parking lot against COVID lockdowns, and then suddenly veered into a xenophobic tirade.

"If you're not on the side of the US Constitution and you're in the United States of America, get the f*ck out of my country," she said. "I don't care what you look like. I don't care what you have. As a matter of fact, I don't want any foreigners to be able to own land in California or any state. We need to take our country back. And Trumpy Trump, God bless you, peace, you haven't been tough enough."

The feud between Cliford and "Culture War Criminal" suddenly exploded back into view on Wednesday night when they bumped into each other during a show hosted by fellow streamer Ethan Ralph. Host of the "Killstream" podcast, Ralph is best known as an active participant of the harassment campaign against women during the 2014 Gamergate controversy, including allegedly doxing developer Brianna Wu.

Clip from "Killstream," a podcast hosted by Ethan Ralph, on April 21 roar-assets-auto.rbl.ms

"Culture War Criminal" bills himself as a co-host of "Killstream," which is currently on the game-streaming site Trovo. "Culture War Criminal" has also described himself as an "employee," suggesting a contractual arrangement with Ralph. Cliford was a guest on the show on Wednesday, and was simultaneously streaming through her own YouTube channel.

Cliford initially appeared to want to broker a truce with "Culture War Criminal" during Wednesday's show. But the conflict quickly escalated to a new level of venom and rage.

"Culture War Criminal" called Cliford a "desiccated corpse" who was "animated purely by thot energy" and a "puppet for degeneracy," using language that strongly invokes fascism.

His supporters immediately erupted in the chats with explicit calls for "violence against women" and disenfranchisement.

Ralph himself leant support for that view, challenging Cliford by saying, "So this is how you decided to prove women should vote — by talking about all the Black babies you were going to have?"

During the nearly one-hour long trash-talk fest, "Culture War Criminal" made comments that suggested he had no desire to dispel Cliford's charge that he pulled strings with the Huntington Beach police to harass her. Her New Year's Eve stream shows an officer stopping her for a license and registration check, and then angrily throwing the paperwork in her lap and telling her to drive away.

"I made a phone call and the boys in blue ran you out of town because it's a sundown town, lady," "Culture War Criminal" said. "We don't like your kind there."

Although Cliford is white, "sundown town" refers to a racial code maintained in towns across the United States where police historically used harassment and violence to ensure that people of color did not linger after dark.

"I guarantee if you show yourself there, you will get kneed on," "Culture War Criminal" told Cliford, in what appears to be a celebratory reference to Derek Chauvin's murder of George Floyd.

And responding to Cliford's accusation that "Culture War Criminal" "tried to have me killed in Huntington Beach on New Year's Eve," he told her: "If I wanted you dead, you wouldn't be here right now."

Cliford appeared to be playing a role of a sexually wanton Jezebel by suggestively plunging a lollipop in and out of her mouth, and at one point spreading her legs before the camera, while also periodically expressing desire to have sex with her male cohorts on the show. She appeared to play the role of the heel as a foil for "Culture War Criminal," whose young, male fans cheered him on as a virtuous enforcer of patriarchy.

The interpersonal drama on shows like "Killstream" helps maintain audience engagement that, aside from its monetary value, can be leveraged to incite racist violence.

Cliford's appearance came one day after the verdict in the Chauvin trial, which was the focus of the show that night.

Before the verdict announced, commenters in the chats were feverishly anticipating acquittal, which they believed would result in rioting by racial justice protesters, in turn justifying a violent racist backlash.

"FIGHT THE POWA (SHOOT N******)," wrote a user named ThatOneGoy. Later, the same user wrote: "STACKING BODIES TIME?"

Several users celebrated the fact that the verdict coincided with Adolph Hitler's birthday, and an unidentified guest on the show sang "Erika," a Nazi military march song.

As the announcement approached, another user wrote: "Please let another 50 Kyle Rittenhouses rise up and kick off the golden age."

Ralph made a racist joke about air-dropping Air Jordans "into these urban communities" to pacify protesters. Users in the comment chats repeatedly used the racist term "chimpout" to describe what they anticipated as the reaction to the verdict.

"Culture War Criminal," incorrectly believing that Chauvin would be acquitted, made a joke that referenced the idea of accelerationism — a hastening towards race war resulting from escalating violence and political polarization — that has been embraced by some sectors of the white power movement. (Not all white supremacists are accelerationists; some take a longer view on their project of racial separation.)

"The jurors took off their suit jackets, and they put their brown shirts on," "Culture War Criminal" said, prompting uproarious laughter from the other guests. "We have accelerationists of color on the jury."

After Ralph's show concluded on Wednesday, Cliford kept her stream running. In her continuing spiel, she suggested that the feud was manufactured, although hinting that it also felt personal.

"It was all a joke," she said. But she added: "That was traumatic, honestly."

Another man, presented on the show as Cliford's male companion, disparaged "Culture War Criminal" and then quickly apologized to Ralph.

"I don't give a f*ck," Ralph responded. "I talk crazy. People talk crazy about me."

The conversation later turned to a previous in-real-life livestream that featuring Cliford and Ralph that was built around their misadventures in an unsuccessful quest to get to Compton, Calif. It had been fun — and lucrative.

"I made like 3 grand that day," Cliford recalled, adding that they were able to garner 30,000 viewers at one point.

"That was an epic stream," Ralph agreed.

"That was fun, and you made me a lot of money," Cliford said. "And it was fun. And dare me to go somewhere else because we might as well do it again."

'That sure sends a signal': Judge grants Proud Boys defendant 30-day extension to mull plea deal

A West Virginia Proud Boys leader who has been criminally charged with breaching the US Capitol and engaging in disorderly conduct has requested an additional 30 days to continue discussions with the government, potentially opening the door for a plea deal.

Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey granted the joint motion sought by Proud Boys member Jeffery Finley and the US government on Monday, writing that a continuance through May 14 would "provide the parties with additional time to engage in the discovery process and case discussions."

"The purpose of continuance is to have further discussions to see if there is any possibility of plea arrangement," said Walter Holton, a former US attorney who served under President Clinton. "There's no arrow pointing up or down. Clearly, they're requesting an additional month for further discussion before he enters a guilty or not guilty plea. The only thing to talk about is if he takes guilty or not guilty."

Among more than 20 Proud Boys members charged in the Capitol insurrection, Finley has largely avoided scrutiny to date. The statement of facts accompanying the government's complaint against Finley does not mention his involvement in the violent nationalist street gang, although photos in the document clearly show him in a large group of Proud Boys advancing on the Capitol. And in one photo included in Finley's charging document, he can be seen standing outside the Capitol alongside Philadelphia chapter president Zachary Rehl, who has been identified by the government as "one of the leaders and organizers" of a group of Proud Boys that attacked the Capitol, seeking to obstruct Congress' certification of the presidential election.

Jeffery Finley (right) and Zach Rehl at the US Capitol (courtesy US government)

Finley's lawyer, Aaron D. Moss, declined to comment on whether his client is considering a plea deal.

Jason McCullough, the lead attorney for the government, also declined to comment. In addition to prosecuting Finley, McCullough is also part of the team of government lawyers responsible for trying Rehl, Charles Donohoe, Joseph Biggs and Ethan Nordean, four Proud Boys leaders who have been indicted for conspiracy to disrupt the certification of the electoral vote. The government alleges that prior to the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, the Proud Boys set up an encrypted messaging channel and equipped members with Baofeng radios for communication. Rehl, according to the government, brought the radios from Philadelphia. Video published by Eddie Block, a Proud Boys-friendly streamer, shows Rehl, Nordean and Biggs leading the group that included Finley to the Capitol.

Finley discussed his leadership role in the Proud Boys as a guest on Jan. 19 on a show hosted by a progressive podcaster name Vaush. Introduced on the show as "Suspect Sushi," Finley presented himself as someone familiar with the inner workings of the organization, albeit while making the false statement that no Proud Boys entered the Capitol building.

"I don't know any Proud Boys who were even remotely close to being inside the Capitol personally," Finley told Vaush. "When you're in leadership, you know leadership, and I know that none of the leadership — no known leaders of the Proud Boys, which are usually the face of the Proud Boys — none of them were remotely close to being inside."

When the host challenged the assertion by noting that Biggs — who organized a 2019 Proud Boys rally in Portland, Ore. — was inside the Capitol on Jan. 6, Finley tried to minimize Biggs' role in the organization by saying he was merely a friend of Proud Boys Chairman Enrique Tarrio.

"I don't even know if he's part of a chapter," Finley said during the Jan. 19 podcast, which took place one day before Biggs' arrest. "And one of the things about being a Proud Boy is even if you take the oath, you actually have to be part of a chapter to be a Proud Boy."

Dylan Burns, a Maryland political consultant and Twitch streamer who arranged for Finley to appear on Vaush's show, provided a photo of Finley and Tarrio to Raw Story. Burns said Finley sent him the photo on Oct. 7, 2020 after bragging that he met the Proud Boys chairman at the time he set up the West Virginia chapter. Burns said he got to know Finley as a progressive talk-show host who regularly invites on conservatives to exchange views.

Although Burns knew him as "Suspect Sushi," the person posing in the photo with Tarrio is clearly the same person depicted in court documents that were unveiled on March 29, following Finley's arrest. A separate video taken by Eddie Block also shows Finley in a large group of Proud Boys outside Harry's Bar during a Dec. 12 gathering that ended in a stabbing.

During the Jan. 19 podcast, Finley told Vaush that he decided to join the Proud Boys because he was curious about whether the organization was as extreme as people said it was.

"The original reason to join the Proud Boys was actually more of like to kind of infiltrate," he said. "Yeah, believe it or not. When you're a conservative and you hear about a conservative group that's universally hated, you kind of want to investigate. 'Oh, they're white nationalists and they're Nazis,' and shit like that. So, I said, 'Fuck it, I'll apply, and I'll join.'"

Finley, who is Black, described his childhood growing up in Washington DC during the hour and 40 minutes exchange with Vaush. He dismissed systemic racism as a driver of negative outcomes for Black people.

"I believe that modern Black American culture is toxic and pervasive, and it actually encourages people to be like rappers, ballplayers, basically anything that's considered outside of the normal, like being a square, and working like a regular job," he said.

"Right now, I live in rural West Virginia, so all I have is white neighbors, and we're chillin,'" Finley added.

The criminal complaint alleging that Finley breached the Capitol and engaged in disorderly conduct identifies him as a resident of Martinsburg, a small city in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle region. The complaint notes that Finley, who was wearing a blue suit and red hat, had an earpiece in his ear when he advanced on the Capitol.

Jeffery Finley (courtesy US government)

"It could just be his phone," said Holton, the former US attorney. "Whether it has any significance, it's hard to tell. He's in the back of the crowd at the Capitol. He may be hearing or transmitting things. That may be important."

The motion jointly filed by the government and Finley indicates that counsel for the two "have been in contact by email and telephone" since March 29 — the same day the case was unsealed.

Of the 22 defendants identified as Proud Boys that have been charged to date in the Capitol assault, 17 have pleaded not guilty. Biggs and Nordean, who were arrested respectively on Jan. 20 and Feb. 3, have each pleaded not guilty. Rehl and Donohoe, who were indicted for conspiracy alongside Biggs and Nordean on March 3, have yet to enter pleas. The Proud Boys defendants that have not pleaded were all arrested in March.

Holton said he's not surprised that no Proud Boys defendants have entered guilty pleas to date.

"It's still relatively early," he said. "An organization like the Proud Boys, if they are cooperating, they're not going to do early guilty pleas if there's a cooperating witness. That sure sends a signal that someone's rolling on the others."

'Time to play boyeeeeeez': National officer in League of the South hate group goes on trial

Jessica Reavis, a national officer with the white supremacist organization League of the South, goes on trial next week for illegally carrying a firearm in Pittsboro, NC.

The charge stems from an October 2019 confrontation between Confederate supporters and antiracists over the fate of a monument in front of the Historic Chatham County Courthouse in Pittsboro.

The League of the South, an organization that seeks to create a white, Christian state in the former Confederacy, was one of the more extreme groups that sent activists to Pittsboro, a town of about 4,500 people that lies about 40 miles west of Raleigh, when the Democratic-controlled county commission began taking steps to remove a Confederate monument erected in 1907. Monument supporters retaliated by erecting a Confederate flag on private property across the street from a middle school named after George Moses Horton — a poet and enslaved person who was the first published author in North Carolina — leading to months of tension, including a standoff involving a Confederate supporter driving a large backhoe, and clashes resulting in multiple arrests.

The drive to maintain the monument also attracted members of the Proud Boys and the Hiwaymen, the latter being a neo-Confederate group that fielded members during the United the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va. in 2017 and a violent confrontation between the Proud Boys and leftist counter-protesters in Portland, Ore. the following year. At the more moderate end of the spectrum in the pro-Confederate coalition that assembled in Pittsboro were the Virginia Flaggers and CSA II.

Ultimately, the county removed the monument in November 2019.

Reavis, who lives in Danville, Va., was arrested in Pittsboro on Oct. 5, 2019 and charged with weapons at parades while waving a Confederate flag in opposition to antiracist protesters across the street. North Carolina law prohibits possession of firearms and other dangerous weapons at parades or demonstrations on public property.

Reavis was found guilty of violating North Carolina's weapons at parades law at a district court hearing in January 2020. According to a report by the Southern Poverty Law Center's Hatewatch, she told the court that a misdemeanor conviction would result in the revocation of security clearance she needs for her job as a long-haul truck driver.

Reavis declined to discuss her personal circumstances in an email to Raw Story, but she said she decided to appeal the conviction because she believes the North Carolina law is unconstitutional. "The US Constitution gives us the right to peacefully assemble while practicing our Second Amendment right," Reavis said. "When protesters start exercising their First Amendment, then that does not mean that my Second Amendment is suddenly to end."

Reavis has enjoyed a measure of success during her recruitment efforts in North Carolina. In a Facebook post, , a young man named Richard Sherman wrote that Reavis recruited him into the League of the South during the Oct. 5 event in which she was arrested.

"Met one of the national officers from Virginia and she was really cool, and the organization seemed pretty straight forward, so I joined up," Sherman wrote

Appearing as a guest on a podcast with Billy Roper — an Arkansas neo-Nazi who leads ShieldWall Network — following her arrest, Reavis acknowledged that the League's reputation made some of their more optics-conscious allies uncomfortable. And she blamed the Southern Poverty Law Center for chasing off potential supporters.

"I think that ultimately part of the reason why the people in Pittsboro cucked was because of the SPLC website," Reavis said. "I mean, when you actually read it, it's not that bad. It goes in and says something about what this monument truly stands for. It seems like someone on the inside reported it to them. Someone who is probably SCV — maybe not SCV, but more the heritage type, who want to smile in your face and stab you in the back." (SCV refers to Sons of Confederate Veterans, a group that stayed away from the Pittsboro protests.)

"Those heritage, not hate types, you know," Roper said derisively. "Like you have to choose!"

"Yeah, like these CSA II," Reavis said, laughing.

Emphasizing CSA II's role in discouraging League of the South from coming to Pittsboro, Roper said, "Yeah, I understand they're the ones who have the permit for tomorrow, and are not wanting to play well with others."

During the podcast, Roper asked his listeners to contribute to Reavis' legal fund through Paypal.

Reavis thanked Roper, adding, "Hopefully, we can build bridges and form alliances again, and fight together, shoulder to shoulder, as our ancestors did."

Ideologically, there's little distinction between the League of the South and ShieldWall Network. Both promote revolutionary fascism. The differences are largely strategic and geographic: ShieldWallNetwork advocates for "racially based ethnostates" emerging during an anticipated fragmentation of the United States, while the League calls for a second secession of the Southern states of the old Confederacy.

"We need a blood-and-soil nation in the truest sense of a nation — meaning a people," League of the South President Michael Hill said during a podcast with fellow League official Robert Isaacs aka Ike Baker in July 2020.

During the same podcast, Isaacs, who serves as chief of operations for the League, said he prefers national socialism over fascism.

"To my way of thinking, it's even superior to fascism, because in fascism the people serve the state, and in national socialism the state serves the people," he said. "It will be a blood-and-soil nation, however; it will not work in a multicultural polyglot like we have today."

The podcast reveals that League members are preoccupied with miscegenation, and spend considerable time thinking about whether so-called race traitors should be allowed to return to the fold. Isaacs even went so far as to envision bureaucracy in a future white ethno-state that would address the question.

"You know, obviously, one day we'll have someone in charge of the Office of Race and Resettlement," he said, "and I'm willing to defer that decision to them at that point."

In an email to Raw Story on Friday, Jessica Reavis praised the League president.

"I truly think Dr. Hill is an amazing leader," she said. "He is a very intelligent man. I'm grateful to be a integral part of this great organization."

Reavis said she is open about the League's aims when she speaks with locals at Confederate flag rallies and other events where they square off against antiracist protesters.

"Most people know what the League is about," she said. "If they don't, then I direct them to the national page, and this is how I get new members. Post-Charlottesville and now all the rioting all over the country has red-pilled many people. Many people are asking more questions than ever about the League."

In 2019, Reavis helped establish United Confederates of the Carolinas and Virginia with Woody Weaver of Fuquay-Varina, NC. UCCV has provided an outlet for League members who want to engage in street activism as the League has retreated from public engagement due to the legal and public relations debacle arising from its involvement in the 2017 Unite the Right rally.

As protests in response to the police killing of George Floyd swept the country in June 2020, Reavis and Weaver began to look for opportunities to clash with racial justice protesters. They viewed cooperation from sympathetic law enforcement as a key consideration.

"At this point, the police and patriots need to form an alliance and take America back by force," Reavis wrote on Facebook on June 11. "Bloodshed may be necessary at this point.

"Deputize the patriots and together we can be a hell of a force, and make peace and law again with the police by our side. I know them and the veterans are tired of watching, and their hands are tied…. WELL, UN-TIE THEM WE DON'T NEED PERMISSION TO PROTECT OUR COUNTRY."

Weaver responded in the comment thread that white nationalists should avoid engaging with Black Lives Matter in urban centers, and instead bait them into rural areas. Specifically, he recommended Alamance County, a stronghold of Confederate support almost equidistant between Greensboro and Durham.

"Get them to the country," Weaver advised. "They can be penned in and dealt with. Get them penned up in Alamance where there is known law enforcement backing."

When the city of Graham — the county seat — declared a state of emergency on the eve of a peaceful march against police violence and the Confederate monument, Reavis responded on Facebook with anticipation, writing: "Time to play boyeeeeeez."

Weaver outlined a strategy to work around the ban on weapons at the July 11, 2020 march.

"Roll out the trucks," he wrote on Facebook. "Clearly says no weapons. In your truck is different. Use them like a tank. You can't get past the barricade. Put it where you can. The nastieees [sic] are sure to follow. Put your trucks in the march. It is over a mile. Ain't no law says you can't. Put them in front or behind. They did not want a permit. So, the police don't have to give them a escort or secure the path."

The League's leadership is currently preoccupied with a lawsuit over its involvement in the Unite the Right rally, which is anticipated to go to trial on Oct. 25.

League member William Finck lamented during an April 9 podcast that a faction of the group is more interested in public rallies than building the organization.

"And they're upset that since 2018 and the Charlottesville lawsuit there has been very little activism," he said. "And I think these people are shortsighted, and they're not committed to the proper objective. We face a spiritual battle — a battle which is not found in newspapers or on the front pages of news agency websites — we have this spiritual battle for the hearts and minds of Southerners who still care for their own culture and heritage."

Hill, the League president, indicated he agreed.

"But we need to be smart about everything we do, and can't just go rushing off because it feels good or makes you feel good to say you've done it, and get your picture in the paper or get video on TV of you waving a battle flag, or engaging with the commies or whatever," he said. "That's fun and important. It has its place, it has it's time, and unfortunately the last three years hasn't been really conducive for a lot of that."

Hill has indicated in the past that clashes with opposing groups in the streets would not be his favored approach for wielding violence in service of the fascist project he wants to pursue.

"And I've told as many of our people — particularly young men — as I could: Be patient and remember there are two ways to fight a battle," Hill said during the July 2020 podcast. "One is out in the open, and two is from the shadows. And under the circumstances right now we need to start learning how to fight from the shadows."

Unlike her leader, Reavis is not interested in putting her public activism on hold.

Neo-Confederates have recently started promoting a flag rally at the Confederate monument in downtown Graham for May 20, which will be the 160th anniversary of North Carolina's secession from the union.

"I'm coming to the May 20th rally to support my friends," Reavis told Raw Story.

Leaked chats reveal 'National Guardsman' and White Lives Matter organizer is forming new fascist group that wants a race war

The organizer of the aborted White Lives Matter rally in Raleigh, NC claims to be a National Guard member who wants to launch an "aboveground fascist movement," according to recordings from an April 9 voice chat leaked to Raw Story.

Upon learning that anticipated support from Proud Boys would not materialize and the event was likely to draw significant opposition from anti-fascists, the host of the North Carolina White Lives Matter channel on Telegram — known as "Bolts " — abruptly canceled the event and changed the name of the channel to "American Union Fascist."

In a post in the public channel, "Bolts" announced that the faithful remnants of the failed "White Lives Matter" effort are forming a new group dedicated to white power activism in North Carolina, which he hopes to ramp up this summer.

Lamenting that "the national socialist and fascist movement has been thrown underground in the last few years," he vowed, "This will stop with us."

He continued: "We are no longer going to be afraid to spread truth and hold space in public areas. We will start slow. We will gain support online and through propaganda runs in major cities around the state. We will have in-person private meetings to get to know one another, share ideas and push us to the future. Then, when we are secure and have enough support, we will march. We will take the streets back from the degenerates."

The identity of the organizer of the canceled Raleigh event is not known at this time. He posted in the White Lives Matter organizing chats under the username "Ride_The_Bolts," and tweets at @Freihet2018, which now also doubles as the official account for the new American Union Fascist.

And, as he revealed in the voice chats, "Bolts" claims he joined the Virginia Army National Guard "a few months ago." During the April 9 voice chat, the cell leader told another member of the nascent American Union Fascist that his military occupational specialty is 13-B, which is part of an artillery unit.

After canceling the "White Lives Matter" rally, "Bolts" invited the cluster of supporters involved in planning for the scuttled event into a private voice chat to discuss the launch of the new group. A major preoccupation of the discussion was how they will be perceived by the public.

"The optics for this is going to be key," "Bolts" said. "We don't want to be going out there — we can have our views, we keep them to ourselves — we invite these people in, we wake them up and we give it to them dose by dose, and we get them on that level. But when we are out there in public, what we don't want to be doing is calling people n*****s, we don't want to be talking about the hook-nose Jew. The key to success here is above-ground fascist movement. They're gonna call us… don't give 'em the bullets, you know."

The other members in the chat expressed skepticism about whether it would be possible to conceal their racism.

"It's tough to do that though," a user named "Japhetite" said. "Sometimes especially."

"Bolts" told the other members of the chat that he envisions a group that performs community outreach to people experiencing homelessness, with some members filming so they can later share their good deeds on Twitter and Telegram. He added that he hopes the propaganda will elicit a response of, "It's fucking cool. These people are out here helping the homeless."

Chris Magyarics, a research fellow with the ADL Center on Extremism, said there's nothing particularly new or novel about white power groups attempting to burnish their image by performing community service. Patriot Front, a neo-Nazi group that "Bolt" cited as a model, almost constantly posts photos of its members collecting trash from public areas. In the same way, Ku Klux Klan groups historically picked up litter through the Adopt-A-Highway program to generate positive publicity.

The public-facing community outreach posture that "Bolts" wants to promote belies the views expressed on his Twitter account, which show someone eager for white supremacists to make their presence felt in the street and to see a race war take place in the United States.

In July 2020, "Bolts" expressed admiration for Adolph Hitler and George Lincoln Rockwell, founder and commander of the American Nazi Party, on Twitter. In another tweet last December that celebrated the Holocaust, he tweeted a Christmas-themed image of a rail line leading into the Auschwitz death camp, with a Santa hat placed atop the guard tower.

"Continuing our #Christmas countdown," Bolts wrote. "10 more days. Merry Christmas to my followers and keep up the fight!"

"Bolts" shared with his Twitter followers that he attended the Unite the Right 2 rally in Washington DC, a sparsely attended sequel in August 2018 to the violent white supremacist gathering that took place one year earlier in Charlottesville, Va. He tweeted at Jason Kessler, who organized both Unite the Right rallies, and white supremacist Richard Spencer, later in 2018. During the first Unite the Right rally, in 2017, James Fields, who marched alongside the now-defunct white supremacist group Vanguard America, plowed a car into a crowd of antiracists and murdered Heather Heyer. Many of the constituent groups behind Unite the Right dissolved as a result of infighting, lawsuits and opposition from counter-protesters. The last major rally in which white supremacists had a sizable street presence was a march led by Spencer in Lansing, Mich. in March 2018.

As protests against the police killing of George Floyd swept the nation in late May 2020, "Bolts" avidly followed the events, tweeting scenes of urban chaos. Tweeting a screenshot of a man who was apparently shot outside a store on the third night of protests in Minneapolis, "Bolts" wrote, "This country is about to slide into a civil war in the next few years." Soon afterwards, he began appending the hashtag #CivilWar2 to his protest-related posts.

On May 31, he even showed up in person to film the protest in downtown Raleigh.

Tweets during the following month show that "Bolts" was eager for white power activists to mobilize in response to the racial justice protests.

"We need to prepare for war, nothing less," he wrote on June 23.

And in response to another white power activist complaining about Confederate monuments being toppled, "Bolts" wrote on June 26: "Then we organize something. I don't want this to come off as I'm mad at you, but we really need to get the fuck off the internet bitching and moaning about his like we can't do something. If we show up, they will be petrified. Let's fix this."

After the 2020 election, "Bolts" began to pin his hopes for a violent national reckoning on Donald Trump, tweeting a meme at the president that said, "C'mon. Do a civil war."

Following the Jan. 6 insurrection, "Bolts" tweeted, "The president had a hard choice to make yesterday. Start a civil war and lead patriots to victory like our founders had to. Or let the scumbag elite have full and total control of our nation. Trump will soon be in a jail cell, the Republican Party will be dead." Then, making clear that he viewed Trump as a traitor, he posted an antisemitic and misogynistic cartoon portraying Trump as a housewife stabbing a grim militiaman in the back while wearing a bonnet stitched with the star of David.

In another tweet, "Bolts" explicitly tied the failed Jan. 6 insurrection to the project of establishing a white ethno-state through a race war.

"But the question is what will you do as a person?" he wrote. "What will you do to secure the existence of your people, your nation and your birth right? If the takeover is inevitable, make them at least take it from your cold dead hands. This is your nation and your home. #DCRiot #1776Again #CivilWar."

The phrase "secure the existence of your people" is a direct reference to the 14 Words, a slogan that has become the unifying creed among white supremacists in North America, Europe and Australia. The slogan was coined by David Lane, a member of the terrorist group the Order who received a 150-year sentence for his role in the 1984 murder of Alan Berg, a Jewish talk-radio host who spoke out against white supremacists.

In the private Telegram channel where the top admins involved in planning the "White Lives Matter" rallies gathered, "Bolts" positioned himself as a mediator eager to promote unity. Expressing frustration about infighting and bickering in the group, he wrote on April 5: "This shit is why we fail. We all have different options about things. Deal with it! I don't care if you are a Proud Boy or [National Socialist] or fucking Atomwaffen."

Later that week, after breaking from the hub organizing group for "White Lives Matter," he told the Raleigh group involved in the founding of American Union Fascist that he is disenchanted with electoral politics. In doing so, he espoused an antisemitic conspiracy theory that the Jews are promoting immigration to destroy white people. He said he envisioned his new group as a force for action in between two poles of the white power movement.

"So, you've got people on the other end of the spectrum, talking about, 'Oh, fuck it, this is total war. We're gonna be fighting with guns for our race,'" Bolts said. "We've got people on the other side saying shitposts. We've got people in the middle like us saying, 'We will do what we have to do.' I don't wake up in the morning with a boner to go kill people. I really don't. If you look at Atomwaffen or some shit, or some people like that, I don't necessarily want that. I want to be the person, I want to be the group that's in the middle saying, 'We will do what we have to do.'"

"Bolts" disclosed his enlistment in the National Guard when one of the other chat participants, an older man with the username "Dale Gribble," shared that he had served in the Guard.

"What are you?" "Dale Gribble" asked. "I mean, you don't have to disclose that. But, no, it's just good for camaraderie's sake, you know?"

"I go to Virginia Beach once a month," "Bolts" responded. "My MOS is 13-B. Like I said, I just started a couple months ago."

Following the Jan. 6 insurrection, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered a stand down requiring commanders and leaders in all units to address extremism in the ranks. But according to the National Guard Association of the United States, Austin's order granted extensions to Guard and Reserve units.

"If word gets to the National Guard and the actual identity of this person is determined, the way the Department of Defense is taking steps forward, I really think they would take information about this individual seriously, investigate whether he was involved, and take appropriate action," said Magyarics of the ADL.

Fear of doxing is likely to constrain American Union Fascist and similar groups spun off from the "White Lives Matter" effort, at least in the short term, according to both Magyarics and Megan Squire, a data scientist at Elon University who monitors extremist groups.

In the case of the April 11 event, fear of counter-protesters proved to be an effective deterrent. (Ultimately, 90 antifascists showed up in Raleigh on April 11. They took to the streets, chanting, "When Black lives are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back.")

Imagining the outcome if he were to follow through on the plan for the "White Lives Matter rally," Bolts predicted two days prior to the scheduled event: "Those marches, they're going to be a fucking failure. I mean, one of them might be okay, but it's going to either be they get a whole bunch of people to show up and it's going to be fucking Charlottesville all over again or 12 people are going to show up and get the shit kicked out of them."

Squire said the outcome of the "White Lives Matter" marches suggests that for the time being, white power organizing is likely to remain largely in the digital space.

"They tried, and I think we should log this as a failure," she said. "First, a failure of their own ability to put bodies on the street. And second — the reason they can't is because of increased scrutiny, and pressure from media and antifascists on the street. It's hard for these guys to operate and get numbers in that environment. The mode of organizing has to change.

"On the street, they're having some trouble," Squire continued. "Online, it's a little different. Some platforms are giving them some problems, but they're going to other platforms. 'White Boy Summer' is doing great, and memes are going gangbusters. How they translate that into bodies in the street — that's what I'm watching."

Exclusive: Huntington Beach neo-Nazi who punched Asian man has a history of racist violence

Two men who were involved in a 2005 hate crime were among the dozen people arrested at a "White Lives Matter" rally held at the Huntington Beach Pier in southern California on Sunday.

A much larger group of counter-protesters gathered in Huntington Beach in response to the rally, which was organized on the social media app Telegram. Far-right activists showed up alone or in small groups over the course of the afternoon, and were almost immediately surrounded by counter-protesters.

During one altercation, a man with a swastika tattoo on his arm can be seen in video posted by various live-streamers attempting to walk away from the counter-protesters. One of the counter-protesters, who is Asian, can be heard in the video calmly saying, "If you're strong enough to stand for your beliefs, then speak to me." After the two men bumped chests, the man with the swastika tattoo shoved the other man and punched him in the face, next to a police car and surrounded by a scrum of live-streamers.

The police have identified the assailant as Andrew Nilsen, a 38-year-old resident of Huntington Beach who is charged with fighting in public. Triet Tran, the man who was punched, was also charged with fighting in public. It is unclear why Tran, a 36-year-old resident of Santa Ana, was charged.

Although insistent that Nilsen explain his far-right beliefs, video from at least two sources shows no instance of Tran putting his hands on Nilsen. In a video published on Twitter by television producer and news live-streamer Andrew Kimmel, Tran can be seen prior to the altercation walking backwards with his hands clasped behind his back as Nilsen advances towards him.

"Nazis ended in World War II, so why are we doing this?" Tran asks. Then the video shows Tran stopping and Nilsen walking into him, causing the two men to bump chests. Nilsen can be seen placing his hands on Tran's shoulder and shoving him.

"You're fucking pushing up against me, motherfucker," Nilsen says.

"I didn't touch you," Tran protests. "I want to understand…"

"Get the fuck out of my face motherfucker," Nilsen says again, shoving past Tran. "I'm walking down the pier."

And again, Tran says: "I want to understand why you hate me so much."

By that time, Nilsen had moved past Tran, but he turned and punched the other man in the face.

"He is in a direction to leave my bubble, and yet he still comes toward me," Tran told Raw Story. "You've seen the situation from different angles. Right on top of that, the words I was saying — my words — weren't meant to incite an altercation, so I'm surprised they decided to press charges."

Later, before being taken into custody, Nilsen told reporters: "White culture to me means putting up your hands and fucking fighting."

Nilsen could not be reached for this story.

Tran said he asked the police to charge Nilsen with assault, and was surprised to learn from Raw Story that his assailant was charged with the lesser charge of fighting in public.

Tran said he decided to go to counter-protest the White Lives Matter protest because of the climate of rising violence against Asian people in the United States.

"Just the amount of racism that's happening across the nation, with anti-Asian violence," he said, "to allow another source of hatred to continue, it's intolerable."

When he saw the swastika tattoo on Nilsen's arm, Tran said he made a spur-of-the-moment decision to try to speak with him.

"But I always believe in approaching the situation in a peaceful and calm manner," Tran said. "That's how I think things should be approached. There's too much violence already. It's pointless to yell. I want the question answered."

To compound the injury of being assaulted and criminally charged, Tran said he's also getting pushback on social media for not fighting back.

"I am getting a lot of heat for appearing to be a wussy and not standing up for my people," he said. "That kind of hurts a little bit, you know."

Nilsen was previously charged in 2005, along with two other men, with assault and making criminal threats, with enhancements for targeting the victim because of his race, according to a report by the Associated Press. The news agency reported that the then-22-year-old Nilsen, along with 23-year-old Lucas Eli Labarre and 20-year-old Andrew William Gray, assaulted a young, Black man who was trying to play basketball in a public park in Chino Hills, a small city just outside of Orange County.

Labarre, now 39, was also charged during the unrest in Huntington Beach on Sunday. He faces two charges: pedestrian in roadway and resisting or delaying an officer.

During the 2005 incident, Nilsen, Labarre and Gray reportedly taunted the young, Black man with racial slurs and attacked him as he was getting a ball from his car. Gray was also charged with assault with a deadly weapon for trying to hit the victim with a car, and Labarre and Nilsen chased him on foot. According to the report, police found white supremacist materials in Gray's vehicle.

Gray is currently serving a 25-year sentence at Calpatria State Prison for first-degree murder stemming from beating a Latinx man to death with a two-by-four in Corona, in Riverside County, in 2009.

Andrew Gray and his brother, Colin, were drinking and decided they wanted to find some Latinx people to fight, according to a 2014 California Court of Appeals opinion. Another man, Timothy Keiper, drove the brothers around Corona. "Keiper pumped up Andrew and Colin with the plan of finding something to do, someone to hang out with, or a fight," according to the Court of Appeals opinion. "They discussed a fight and a target in the car. As they drove, they looked for Hispanics and gang bangers. Specifically, Andrew was looking for 'dirty Mexicans,' while Colin was looking for perverts and rapist."

They found two men, Raul Flores and Armando Ruvulcaba, in a dark alley. Keiper repeatedly kicked Flores in the head, according to the court, and then Andrew Gray struck him with the two by four, putting him in a coma that took his life two days later. According to the court, Gray told a cellmate "that Flores was a no-good wetback and deserved to die."

Although the "White Lives Matter" rally was organized by anonymous group of neo-Nazis on Telegram, fliers circulated by the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan to promote the rally ratcheted up tension. Grand Dragon William Hagen appeared at the rally on Sunday dressed inconspicuously in a T-shirt that said, "I stand for the flag, and kneel for the cross." Hagen is the California leader of the Loyal White Knights, which is based in North Carolina.

Hagen recently completed a state prison sentence for a 2015 incident in which he assaulted a homeless man outside a bar in Orange. In 2016, Hagen was stabbed by counter-protesters during a KKK rally in Anaheim. Brian Levin, who researches extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, stood over Hagen's prone body and protected him from further injury at that rally.

The "White Lives Matter" rally on Sunday also attracted a small group of neo-Nazis, including one with the wolfsangel — a symbol favored by the ultranationalist Azov Battalion in Ukraine — tattooed on the back of his head. While counter-protesters were pursuing them, video published by Andrew Kimmel records one of them hurling anti-Latinx and homophobic slurs at them.

EXCLUSIVE: Leaked chats show Proud Boys integral to planning for 'White Lives Matter' rallies

Two self-identified Proud Boys have been involved in the internal planning for a set of simultaneous "White Lives Matter" rallies scheduled for Sunday, according to chat logs leaked to the media.

The association with the White Lives Matter rallies, which are promoting overtly white supremacist messages about a supposed white genocide, is a liability for the Proud Boys, a violent proto-fascist group that claims to be non-racist. The leaked chats show that a Proud Boy responsible for organizing the Michigan White Lives Matter rally went to some effort to hide the fact that members of his group are involved in the effort.

The Telegram user "Telly Savalas," who was the admin for the @WLM_Michigan channel, expressed concern on April 5 about a user named "BamaPatriot 2º" who wrote, "POYB," with an A-OK emoji. Those are signifiers associated with the Proud Boys.

"I've been trying to tell guys to get that shit off their profile," "Telly Savalas" said in the private admin group chat for the White Lives Matter March. "Plus I've been getting kicked in my balls every day about this thing."

The chats were provided to Raw Story by a group called Corvallis Antifascists.

The Michigan Proud Boy had pleaded to be made anonymous to protect his identity, but the central organizing committee apparently deemed that to be too much of a security risk.

"Why can't I be anon?" "Telly Savalas" asked. "I just got kicked from my leadership spot in PB. One of my boys that joined did too. We're fighting this shit on multiple fronts. If you wanna call me I'll give you my number ffs. I get it you're doing a lot but bro."

"Admins of WLM Zone," the unidentified individual or committee behind the rallies, responded: "Because if I make you anon you can see the other admins. This has to be discussed before it gets approved."

Another Proud Boy posting under the name "JW" who was responsible for organizing the western Kansas rally, said he leads a whites-only chapter of the Proud Boys.

"JW" made the declaration during a spat with another participant in admin chat who insulted the Proud Boys for being insufficiently racist.

"In my opinion, anyone who is concerned about the PBs or tries to attach explicitly pro-white efforts to them is usually a shitlib," "Project Algiz" wrote."

"You sir are a fucking idiot that apparently knows nothing about how things work," "JW" angrily responded.

Attempting to mediate, "Admins of WLM Zone" admonished: "Keep it elegant, gents. We know many PBs are pro-White. And like we said before, all pro-Whites are welcome. Groups don't matter."

Defending himself against the charge of being too tolerant, "JW" declared his racist as well as homophobic and transphobic bona fides.

"As chapter president, I choose to be WHITE only," he said. "No tranny's, chomos or faggots either. Each chapter is run differently."

"Project Algiz" continued to goad "JW" by pointing out that the Proud Boys' national chairman, Enrique Tarrio, is not white.

"Once again motherfucker you've proven your ignorance," "JW" responded. "T-shirt Tarrio is no longer in charge of anything."

Tarrio could not be reached for comment about whether he still holds the top leadership position in the Proud Boys.

"JW," for his part, left the chat soon after the argument with "Project Algiz," and the @WLMWesternKansas channel no longer exists.

Telegram users with Proud Boys avatars had already expressed enthusiasm about a prospective rally in the Washington, DC area, as previously reported by Raw Story. Hampton Russell Ouelette, president of the Northern Virginia chapter of the Proud Boys, signaled his tacit approval for the rally in the public chat for the DC-Maryland-Virginia channel. Responding to another Telegram user with a Proud Boys avatar who wrote, "#fuckantifa proudboys will be the there in plain clothes or not," Ouelette posted, "POYB," a Proud Boys salute that stands for "Proud Of Your Boy." While saying he wasn't enthusiastic about the rallies, he told Raw Story: "But I'll do whatever my brothers decided to do. I've voiced my opinion but loyal to my guys so its it's up in the air."

Ouelette acknowledged his involvement with the prospective White Lives Matter rally on March 30. The following day, "Telly Savalas" joined the private Admins of WLM Zone chat as the organizer of the Michigan rally.

Comments by the anonymous individual or committee behind the White Lives Matter Marches reflect a preoccupation with optics to make the rallies palatable to people who are receptive to a message of white victimhood but put off by overt trappings like swastikas, Klan hoods and sieg heils.

"This event should be 110% optical in the sense of no swastikas or anything that puts normies off," "Admins of WLM Zone" wrote. "This is the chance to engage with normies."

The strategy has been met with varying levels of cooperation.

"Ride_the_Bolts," the user responsible for planning the Raleigh, NC rally, responded: "Fuck what puts them off. The truth is the truth. My job is to represent my race and say the truth. We shouldn't be trying to make some above ground Fascist organization that makes people feel better."

But "Your Fuhrer," who is organizing one of two competing rallies in Orange County, in California, argued against transparency.

"Some people just really do not understand that there are steps to normalization of nationalist/racialist beliefs," they wrote.

"Admins of WLM Zone" tasked "Telly Savalas," the Michigan Proud Boy, with writing an "OpSec Guide."

The central message rally participants should share, "Telly Savalas" said, is that "this is not a white supremacist march. This is supposed to be to bring awareness to the one sided anti-white coverage of crimes that happen to whites across this country."

Dashing off the guidelines for maintaining good optics, "Telly Savalas" wrote, in part: "It shouldn't have to be said but if your profile picture has swastikas, iron crosses or any other symbols that is commonly associated with the NS movement consider removing them. They will only give legitimacy to the insults our enemies throw at us to discredit this movement, plus it will alienate people of other races who are sympathetic to this cause.

"It should also be said if you're already a member of another fraternal organization, i.e. Fraternal Order of the Eagles, Proud Boys, Knights of Columbus, Shriners, Patriot Front, consider not using common language and terms or symbols that you would use amongst each other. Again, this lends legitimacy to the leftists."

Then, underscoring that the advice is just for show, he added, "God this sounds like left wing sensitivity bullshit drivel."

Regardless of the public relations push, the "White Lives Matter" rallies appear to be too radioactive even for the activists that "Telly Savalas" runs with.

"I'm on the verge of leaving as well," he posted in the admin chat on Tuesday. He complained: "I've been sharing this shit in all my local groups and my private chats and I'm getting crickets."

After antifascists leaked the chats from the admin channel, the primary organizers scrambled to calm followers on Thursday night, but few seemed reassured.

"Too many damn feds sniffing around," "Freedom" wrote.

"Toxic Aura" chimed in: "What an absolute garbage dumpster fire."

And on Friday, the Raleigh event, in which the organizer had called on supporters to "come prepared to fight" with mace, pepper spray, batons and riot shields, was de-listed from the main public chat.

"Ride_The_Bolts" changed their username to "American Fascist Union" and at 7:28 p.m. announced in the local channel that the Raleigh event was canceled, providing a bizarre explanation that the Proud Boys were threatening to team up with antifa to counter-protest the rally, and that antifa was busing in supporters from out of state.

But a subsequent message hinted that the real reason is that there just aren't enough people willing to turn out for the rally. The organizer pledged to regroup and to mobilize a statewide "National socialist and Fascist" movement in the future.

"We will gain support online and through propaganda runs in major city's around the state," they said. "We will have in person private meeting to get to know one another, share ideas and push us to the future. Then when we are secure and have enough support we will march. We will take the streets back from the degenerates."

Fascists are bringing guns to 'White Lives Matter' rallies this Sunday -- but their plans are chaotic and dysfunctional

Anonymous neo-Nazis on Telegram attempting to organize simultaneous "White Lives Matter" rallies scheduled for Sunday in cities across the United States are pledging to bring weapons in an anticipated clash with antifascist counter-protesters.

"Always be prepared to defend yourself," the primary organizing channel for the nationwide project account advised in an "OpSec" guide posted on the social media app Telegram on Tuesday. "Preferably a sidearm but sometimes you'll have to settle for a knife, mace, taser."

Among the channels set up on Telegram for local events in dozens of cities across the United States, many had attracted fewer than 10 subscribers and showed little activity to suggest actual people will show up on Sunday. The organizing model works like a franchise system, allowing anyone with plausible online persona to claim a channel for a specific city or state, and some of the channels have sputtered out as the operators revealed themselves to be infiltrators or simply went dark, leaving their genuine white supremacist members hanging. In other cities, local organizers who are apparently legitimate are publicly conceding there isn't enough interest to justify an in-person gathering.

But in one city, Raleigh, NC, the messaging on the local organizing channel is become increasingly emboldened.

"This is a rally we need to be hyped up and let them people know who we are, why we are there and make the enemy fear us and know we are not going anywhere," wrote a Telegram user named "Ride_The_Bolts," who has claimed responsibility for the WLM Raleigh NC channel, on Tuesday. "Ride_The_Bolts" admonished that "not helping with security" is among the behaviors that "will not be tolerated," while concluding, "I want this to be peaceful, but come prepared to fight if we have to. We have all had enough of this shit that is this modern world. The 11th is the day that will mark the end of it. If and only if we stand with each other we will get this done for our people our culture and our homelands."

"Ride_The_Bolts" recommended that participants bring mace, pepper spray, batons and riot shields for self-defense, but not guns (North Carolina law prohibits carrying dangerous weapons at a demonstration) or baseball bats.

Suggested flags and banners include the Confederate battle flag and "any fascist flags" with the exception of the swastika (too alienating to potential recruits), but the black sun, or sonnenrad, is fine. Skull masks to preserve anonymity are preferred, but gaiters and bandannas are also acceptable. "Dark or all black clothing" is recommended, "Ride_The_Bolts" said, "because I am being a fashy nerd."

The organizer has said they hope to draw more than 50 people to the event. By Wednesday, the channel had grown to 41 subscribers, although a portion of them are likely infiltrators. Among the Telegram users who have expressed interest in the rally, "Dan D" wrote on Tuesday: "Coming to Raleigh with like-minded Army buddies this weekend."

Antifascists are using Twitter to mobilize opposition against the "White Lives Matter" rally. An April 2 tweet by the Raleigh Antifascists account calling for "community defense against white supremacy" has been retweeted almost 90 times. Another antifascist account is calling for a "trans-only gathering and march to counter-protest the white supremacist rally," with the slogan "Be trans, throw hands."

Donna-maria Harris, a spokesperson for the Raleigh Police Department, told Raw Story the agency is aware of the planned white supremacist rally. She said the department does not share operational plans or strategies in advance.

"We can say that the department personnel responsible for planning consider all factors, including all the events that have happened elsewhere, as we make planning and staffing decisions," Harris said.

Beyond Raleigh, the most active group appears to be in Ohio. With 51 subscribers as of Wednesday, the admin was running a poll to determine whether to hold the rally in Columbus, Akron or Toledo. Previously, the admin for the channel had posted a map with a proposed march route from Schiller Park to the Governor's Mansion in Columbus.

A user in the Ohio chat named "Nate Markinson" said he plans to bring a concealed firearm, and vowed that when the police come for him, he will be prepared with an "exit route… even change of clothes in my bag. Hoody and sweats. Fast change."

Sgt. J. Alicia, a spokesperson for the Columbus Police Department, said the agency is aware of the event.

Participants in the Ohio chat predicted the "White Lives Matter" rally in Michigan will be even more violent.

"I hear Detroit is going to get really bad," "Nate Markinson" said. "Antifa is pulling in a lot."

"Oh yeah, it's definitely going to get rowdy over there," replied "ITALIAN_CRUSADER," who is the admin for the WLMOhio channel.

The WLM Michigan channel was running a poll among its members, with Detroit, Lansing, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo among the contenders for the location of the rally. As of Wednesday, a decision had not been announced.

Some local event organizers, including the admins for New York City and North Dakota, have instructed prospective attendees to watch the channels for information about the location a couple of days in advance. Meanwhile, the hosts' rallies in Houston and in Massachusetts are instructing attendees to direct-message them for details.

The local organizing channel for the Orange County rally in southern California had previously announced that the event would take place at the Huntington Beach Pier, but the primary organizing channel later announced that "the location will probably be announced the night before or the morning of." The upcoming "White Lives Matter" rally has drawn condemnation from members of the Huntington Beach City Council. Residents also reported receiving Ku Klux Klan fliers on Easter.

This Philadelphia event appears to be in shambles.

"Philly organizer needs to get his shit together," wrote a user named "Andrew Smith," who was banned from the local channel. "It's embarrassing us, and my spies in Philly antifa chats are becoming more emboldened. If the organizer won't clean up his mess, someone needs to take over. We're running out of time." Then, linking to an antifascist Twitter account, he complained, "They are mocking us publicly now."

Another user named "Boog1988" lamented that it "shouldn't be that hard to solve" the administrative dysfunction. "Or if that's not working, just pick a location here for the rest of us and let him do his thing," he wrote. "This is getting exhausting."

Meanwhile, the WLM Oregon channel was so thoroughly compromised by antifascist infiltrators that it became useless.

"Hello, we have received complling [sic] information that ANTIFA have infiltrated our chat channel and are using the information to DOX members," the admin wrote on March 31. "It will be deleted ASAP." The admin promised that "the rally will continue as previously discussed," but no further details have been disclosed.

Then, on Easter Sunday, the admin warned: "Do not attend this event in Portland. It is a FAKE and is not organized by any official WLM organization."

Neo-Nazis have aborted plans to organize local rallies in at least three other areas after they discovered that the channels were being run by antifascists double agents.

As of Wednesday, there was no officially sanctioned Seattle event, and a Telegram user named "Tango Romeo" lamented, "Looks like wlmseattle is usurped by antifa. Damn. Was gonna send my friend the page to join around her local area."

On the channel for Springfield, Mo., the last post was made on April 1: "Admin will be gone for two weeks."

The WLM NJ channel was launched on March 25 with a pledge from the anonymous admin: "Action planning is in the works, updates will be posted in the coming weeks."

Then, on Easter Sunday, the profile photo for the channel abruptly changed to an image of white supremacist Richard Spencer getting punched in the face.

"People planning on going to these WLM events IRL should really be asking themselves: 'Is it a good idea to show up to a white power action with randos I've met on the internet?'" the admin wrote. "The answer is, obviously, no."

The organizers behind the primary organizing channel have attempted to spin the anonymity and lack of vetting as a clever cooptation of leftist tactics.

"Decentralized and anonymous movements are the future of politics," the admin posted on the primary organizing channel on April 1. "The Occupy Wall Street movement, Arab Spring, BLM protests, and the Hong Kong protests are a few examples of successful spontaneous decentralized movements. For right or wrong, it works."

In another post, they wrote: "We've seen this happen over and over again. A good-intentioned organization is founded and at its start everyone is enthusiastic. However, as time goes by, the anti-white system attacks the leadership of that organization until it renders it impotent."

It's a stance that has come in handy as other prominent white supremacists publicly shun the "White Lives Matter" rallies.

One of the local rallies was organized by a Telegram user who used the logo of the National Justice Party. The political party was founded by Mike Peinovich, a podcaster who has trafficked in Holocaust denial and antisemitic conspiracy theories.

Peinovich responded with a stern Telegram post, stating, "The NJP has no contact with this individual or anyone associated with 'White Lives Matter.' We do not endorse this event because we don't know anything about it and we have no contact with the planners. We have not given permission for our logo or name to be used in conjunction with this event."

The "White Lives Matter" organizers protested that the mobilization for the rallies arose out an organic expression of white people, not due to the efforts of any particular group, "Proud Boy" or "e-celebrity."

A handful of Telegram users with Proud Boys symbols and slogans, including Northern Virginia chapter President Hampton Russell Ouelette, participated in the chats early in the planning, but stopped commenting after March 31.

With the launch of its Instagram account on Monday, the "White Lives Matter" organizers appeared to be courting the Groyper movement by following accounts of people who either specifically identify as Groypers or who are closely associated with the movement.

Nick Fuentes, the Groypers leader, responded to the overture on his live show on Tuesday evening. He read aloud from a comment by a chat participant: "Saw White Lives Matter marches being organized on Telegram from April 11th. Should Groypers stay away?"

"Yeah," Fuentes responded, "I think that's gonna be not a good scene, in my opinion."

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