Neo-Nazi Terror Groups Looking To Washington DC Violence To Help Radicalize Trump Supporters

When a skull mask-clad insurrectionist appeared online as seemingly one of the first through Capitol Building's barricades, neo-Nazis in the US and Canada took notice, and now they're setting their sights on what could be fertile ground for recruitment. 

Peter Smith
Canadian Anti-Hate Network

Source: Screenshot taken from an encrypted end-to-end messaging app.

A video shared over Twitter shows a man clad in a black hoodie and half skull mask walking at the head of a group approaching waist-high metal barriers. On the other side, a handful of Capitol police officers stand for only minutes against what has become a familiar scene since coup-Anon ran its storm roughshod over the US Capitol Building in Washington DC.

The yelling crowd stops at the barriers only briefly, eventually lifting the divider into the air while police try in vain to hold it in place. More officers come as their line, barrier and all, is pushed back several feet to the stairs behind them. 

One female officer is struck briefly unconscious in the struggle. Officers and an insurgent help carry her up the stairs, while another officer launches himself over the fence, punching the figure in the skull mask repeatedly as he tries to pull a compatriot out of police hands and into the safety of the crowd.

It’s in that moment that the mob begins to stream over the small impediment, one of the first among them being the man in the mask with a boney rictus grin. 

Covering one’s face in a skull mask does not make anyone an accelerationist, but the symbol has been adopted by the many cells that populate the extreme ideology as an unofficial uniform. 

Once the video began being shared, whether the wearer being a neo-nazi or not, was immaterial. 

At that moment, he was just one of “/our guys/.” 

Source: Screenshot taken from an encrypted end-to-end messaging app.

In one encrypted channel, a caption to the video read “SIEGE of the US Capitol building was lead by a WigNat in a skull mask,” closing with “man of the year.”

The video has been shared across multiple groups chats and pages, accompanied by the same capitalized use of SIEGE, a stylized homage to an iconic neo-Nazi terror manual sharing the same name as the title given to the events at the Capitol Building by the media. 

Like Charlottesville in 2017 became the rallying point for the “alt-right” and anti-racist action alike, Trump’s riot is just the next in a series of events that will help shape the evolution of hate groups -- and our response to them -- not just within the United States, but around the world. 

The events in Washington DC will likely prove no different. The language in private online spaces -- in Canada, the US, and globally -- from the white terror movement has been one of resounding joy. Few seem to think that the system will collapse from the unrest surrounding the US presidential election. However, many believe what has followed -- the president’s removal from Twitter, his public statements against his own supporters, and participants subsequent arrests -- has created a path for radicalizing these followers, not just into more deep state conspiracy theories, but into National Socialism and other virulently racist and antisemitic philosophies.

Besides the unbridled glee that many expressed in their private spaces, a few alleged to have been there. 

As first reported by Vice News, images of a captured helmet belonging to the Capitol Building police have also been making the rounds. It’s impossible to know for sure, but the photos appear to have originated with a US-based National Socialist organization.

The helmet features a stick from the group on both the front and the back of the gear, appearing alongside large letters reading “Capitol Police.” Other posts from the same group claims that its members were in the crowds on the street of DC the night before the ill-fated Stop The Steal rally, and at the rally itself. 

Source: Screenshot taken from an encrypted end-to-end messaging app.

The wave of account removals, bans, and a too little, too late crackdown by not just social media companies, but server hosts and app stores, also lead to the creation of a “life-raft” for Parler users on another platform. 

Parler has long been a sanctuary for those kicked off or restricted from sharing hateful content by more mainstream social media. With the latest wave of public pressure cracking the resolve of even the most stubborn of tech giants and a failed exodus to Parler -- which lost much of its material support by way of hosting and services, resulting in its closure --  the few remaining digital gathering places and apps left are exploding with members, something that the most extreme actors have paid close attention to.

In the wake of the uprising, many express that this is the time to be reaching out to lost Trump supporters, most specifically QAnon believers who may feel let down that their trust in “the plan,” never materialized. 

Source: Screenshot taken from an encrypted end-to-end messaging app.

The day itself had already been co-opted into the irony-dripping propaganda that frequents modern neo-Nazi spaces. Despite laughing at “Boomerwaffen” being on its way to “start the Q Jihad against the Heretical Technocrats,” there is little time being wasted in reaching out and incorporating some of the most notable images from the capitol into their messaging, believing they can be a landing pad for the disaffected white members of the group.

QAnon itself, while having a diverse crowd of followers, is already linked to much older conspiracies including stories of Jewish blood libel that have persevered for hundreds of years. 

In one image, SIEGE’s cover is superimposed onto an image from Capitol Hill picturing a makeshift gallows that was assembled on the building’s lawn. Besides its history as a weapon of oppression and fear against Black communities in the US, the noose is particularly symbolic to neo-Nazis as pertaining to the coming “Day of the Rope” -- the day when white “race traitors” will face punishment for crimes against their people. 

Who will be the first to be executed on the Day of the Rope? Journalists and politicians - messaging that isn’t so far off from what the world witnessed in DC on January 6. 

Source: Screenshot taken from an encrypted end-to-end messaging app.

The fatalities on the day of are also being held up as martyrs to not just the larger “patriot” cause, but white nationalism as well. Venerated above all others is Ashli Babbit, a woman shot by law enforcement inside the Capitol Building. 

“Don't ever forget her name and what she did,” wrote an admin of a Canadian neo-Nazi encrypted channel, attempting to stoke rage around the death. “She was a brave white woman, a mother who had more heart, courage, and quite frankly more balls then [sic] many men I know.”

Another Canadian channel was much more explicit, sharing the following:

“All of them are seeking refuge and looking for answers since their Q-bullshit lied to them. Maga people are demoralized. Now is our opportunity to grab them by the hand and lead them toward ideological truth. Join their normie chats and show them love and unity.”

Canada First, a newer, explicitly fascist offshoot of Canada’s Proud Boys, also shared a video of Babbit’s death. The oft-shared footage has become a common rallying cry amidst the chaos. 

In posts preceding the insurrection, the flag of the Atomwaffen Division, an accelerationist, neo-Nazi terror network was changed to include the letter Q at its centre. Its accompanying caption included a parody of a limerick commonly shared by white nationalists, pointing to the day “the boomer began to hate.” Another paints the symbol of a sonnenrad, or black sun -- a popular neo-Nazi stand-in for the swastika -- contained within the flaming letter Q.

Source: Screenshot taken from an encrypted end-to-end messaging app.

On the face, this can seem ridiculous and easily dismissed as the creations of lone internet Nazis with photoshop hoping to capitalize on a recent divisive public catastrophe. 

This tactic has been the primary weapon in recruiters’ arsenals. Just like QAnon once advised his followers to “deploy camouflage” to avoid detection when the first social media bans began, humour and sarcasm have always been a means of cloaking the true intentions of those looking to subvert the beliefs of vulnerable people in order to draw them in. 

Conspiracy theorists frequently cite the “rabbit holes” they fall into as the cause of their “awakening,” yet many now stand at the precipice of a worldview much darker and violent than before -- this time with someone standing behind them waiting to push. 

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