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Monday, August 14, 2017

No, Neo-Nazi Website the Daily Stormer Is Not Based in Burlington

Posted By on Mon, Aug 14, 2017 at 9:18 PM

click to enlarge The hate map - SPLC
  • Splc
  • The hate map
Burlington likely has little in common with cities such as Cullman, Ala., or Mountain View, Calif.

But the three locales share a dark designation: They’re among dozens on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “hate map,” which tracks hate-group activity across the U.S.

Various places on the map are marked with insignias associated with racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic groups. The map drew renewed attention after the weekend’s violence in Charlottesville, Va., during a rally of white supremacists.

One of the demonstrators, a 20-year-old Ohio man named James Fields, is accused of using his car to run down a group of counter-protestors, killing Heather Heyer.

Charlottesville isn’t designated on the SPLC site — but Burlington is. The map shows the Queen City covered by a swastika; a pop-up bubble explains: “The Daily Stormer, Burlington, Vermont. Neo-Nazi.”

The Daily Stormer, a notorious and noxious neo-Nazi website, is not based in Vermont and its founder, Andrew Anglin, has no apparent ties to the Green Mountain State. The Ohio native has been notoriously hard to place, though rumors have alternately had him living in Germany, Russia or even Nigeria.

Anglin’s site, launched in 2013, drew widespread condemnation for its vitriolic Charlottesville coverage, specifically an article that referred to Heyer as a “fat, childless 32-year-old slut.” The backlash prompted GoDaddy, the site’s domain host, to drop the Daily Stormer as a client.

So what does all of this have to do with the left-leaning Queen City? The designation, according to the SPLC, stems from the Burlington chapter of the Daily Stormer’s “book club” — a hate-filled forum for anonymous commenters.

Anglin described the clubs on his site as “local real life meetups” meant “to prepare for the coming race war.” Members are instructed to undergo firearm training, work out at a gym and meet up for demonstrations to get to know each other.

“You will form cells, build bonds, develop brotherhood,” Anglin wrote in an August 2016 post on his site. “You will become stronger, better men. It’s a bit like Fight Club.”
click to enlarge The Burlington "book club" - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • The Burlington "book club"
Since September 2016, about 15 different users have commented a total of 33 times on the Burlington page. Some have tried to organize get-togethers, including an America First Ramadan Free Speech BBQ. One post references heading to “Charlottesville 2.0,” while another brags about the forum’s place on the SPLC’s hate map. Some of the users say they are from upstate New York, New Hampshire or Massachusetts, though most say they live in Vermont.

One posts under the username “802-1488” — a combination of Vermont’s area code and an apparent reference to the neo-Nazi “14 Words” slogan and “Heil Hitler.” (According to the Anti-Defamation League, ‘eight’ is significant because ‘H’ is the eighth letter in the alphabet.)

“St. A area = nice and homogeneous,” wrote “CWMWA” about St. Albans. “Farm land and white folks, can’t beat it! I guess every where in the state though except Good old Chittenden county.”

“Checking in from Milton,” wrote user “storm_incoming.” “Surprised to find local like minded people, everyone I’m forced to interact with in person is a libtard cunt.”

Burlington isn’t the only Daily Stormer-designated city on the SPLC map. Several others, including Cullman and Mountain View, are described the same way. All appear to have active Daily Stormer book clubs.
click to enlarge The Burlington "book club" - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • The Burlington "book club"
The SPLC said it compiled the hate map “using hate group publications and websites, citizen and law enforcement reports, field sources and news reports.”
It also said, “Hate group activities can include criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing.”

Hate has made news in Vermont before.

In November 2015, William Schenk distributed Ku Klux Klan flyers in Burlington as part of what he described as a recruiting mission. He appeared to have targeted the homes of two women of color. That same year, posters reading “Honor Your Heritage” began popping up around Burlington, Vermont Public Radio reported. The flyers were printable from a website belonging to a white nationalist group, according to VPR.

In February 2016, white nationalist William Daniel Johnson targeted Vermonters with a robocall urging them to vote for Donald Trump. Another Trump supporter and self-proclaimed white nationalist, Max Misch, directed racist tweets last August at Rep. Kiah Morris (D-Bennington), who is black.

In October, someone slid racist images under the door at Bennington’s Democratic party headquarters, just weeks before the presidential election.
click to enlarge The Burlington "book club" - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • The Burlington "book club"
The Charlottesville rally, meanwhile, drew condemnation Monday from Vermont’s U.S. senators, both of whom addressed Trump’s response.

“It is a sad day in America when you have hundreds of neo-Nazis and white supremacists marching through a college town,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told reporters during a series of events in northern Vermont. “And what also distresses me is the inability of the president of the United States to say what everybody knows, which is that this is disgusting, it’s unacceptable and that these people should be part of nobody’s political base.”

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) issued a statement saying “we must be better.”

“There is no place in any great country for racial bias, religious bias or hatred of others,” Leahy said. “The president should denounce David Duke and others who say they carry out racial hatred in his name. I denounce it and as a senator I will always denounce the racial, religious and even political bias and hatred growing in our country.”

Alicia Freese contributed reporting.


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Sasha Goldstein

Sasha Goldstein

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Sasha Goldstein is Seven Days' deputy news editor.

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