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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism
Oakland: Meet the Bay Area’s 4chan Kangaroo Court
Cops and chan, hand in hand
On May 24, the Berkeley Police Department arrested Eric Clanton in Oakland regarding alleged assaults that occurred during an April 15 confrontation in Berkeley between antifascists and a coalition of far-right groups that included the 3 Percenter and Oath Keeper militias, Identity Evropa, Kyle “Based Stick Man” Chapman, and more. In weeks preceding Clanton’s arrest, members of 4chan’s politics forum called /pol/, the alt-right and all around disgusting and hate-filled internet message board, had been collecting what they considered to be evidence in the case. Threads about Eric Clanton’s alleged behavior could be seen wedged between other discussions such as anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about Jewish world domination and the biological inferiority of people of color.
By all accounts, Clanton’s arrest was in fact triggered by the so-called “research” done by this online convergence of white supremacist trolls. At the same time, 4chan justifies and celebrates it’s own flavor of violence. Well-known fascist leader Nathan Damigo, who already has a history of carrying out racially motivated violence and who announced beforehand that he would be at the Berkeley event, was seen all over the news assaulting Emily Rose Marshall on two separate occasions. For this, Damigo’s documented assaults were turned into heroic memes by the same internet neo-nazis now operating as an auxiliary detective force for the Berkeley Police Department. Nathan Damigo later went on to organize a white power gathering in Charlottesville, VA that looked just like a KKK rally–torches and all–where participants wore khakis instead of white hoods and robes.
The story is similar with Kyle Chapman, another local white supremacist, who has been arrested in Berkeley three times since March 4, including on suspicion of committing felonies which could possibly end up being a third strike for him. Following his actions, for which he was dubbed “Based Stick Man” by his online alt-right followers, Chapman continues to travel around the country to speak at other far-right “free speech” rallies where he pushes the wholly imagined and nonexistent conspiracy theory of a genocide against white people brought on by multiculturalism and diversity. We can see a breakdown of the distinction between the state and websites like 4chan, as the state continues to protect violent fascists against community self-defense and take it’s cues from internet neo-nazis.
The rhetoric that Chapman and others repeat at these so-called “free speech” rallies has deadly consequences. On the same day that Eric Clanton’s arraignment was scheduled, Portland white supremacist Jeremy Christian murdered two people and critically wounded a third after they intervened in Christain’s harassment of women on a train that he believed to be Muslim. Just a month earlier, Christian attended a “free speech” rally not unlike those that have been organized in Berkeley. The organizer of the Portland rally attended by Jeremy Christian on April 29 is Joey Gibson, who has invited Kyle Chapman to be a featured guest at his next event in Portland on June 4.
Far-right groups have been obsessed with Eric Clanton’s arrest. The May 26 arraignment was attended by a loose team looking to document the proceedings and take their internet trolling to the real life courtroom. Without much coordination beforehand, the alt-right was still able to find each other and gather on the street outside before making their way into the building as a group. This was possible due to the presence of a prominent alt-right symbol displayed on the street: the 4chan Kek flag, representing the very same message board that the Berkeley PD seems to have mined for what they have been led to believe is evidence against Eric Clanton.
In Kevin’s own words, “You have to show a flag to show where you stand.” Kevin Yee was the racist seen waving the alt-right flag on the streets of Oakland. A graduate of James Logan High School from Union City, CA, Kevin documented the events outside the court room for the YouTube channel Very Fake News. On social media, Kevin follows Milo Yiannopoulos and Lauren Southern, who was recently arrested with neo-nazi activists for trying to stop a refugee boat in Europe by shooting flares at it. The flag Kevin brought along is one deliberately inspired by a Nazi Germany design, remade with the alt-right aesthetic of white supremacist Richard Spencer, who likes to do nazi things with his friends while simultaneously distancing himself from the nazi label. Kevin can be heard on video saying he would have worn his MAGA hat were it not stolen on April 15 and he wasn’t too afraid to get a replacement. When Kevin got back to his car, he found his tires had been slashed. If you expect a safe space for neo-nazism, Kevin, you’re going to have to stay on 4chan!
Guy Decker has consistently shown up to events in and around Berkeley starting with the March 4 Trump rally organized by Rich Black. Guy’s current claim to fame in the movement is his “bologna campaign” in which he places less-than-impressive and easily removable bologna stickers on leftist posters up around Berkeley. Most of the these stickers fall off on their own and have never really amounted to much but a waste of Guy’s time. Guy was at both the March 4 and April 15 clashes in Berkeley as well as Refuse Fascism’s discussion at UC Berkeley on May 4. At all of these events, Guy’s go-to tactic is to shout people down with incoherent rambles. A line he often likes to repeat is that antifascists are acting as domestic terrorists.
On July 3, 2013, Guy was arrested in Vallejo, CA for making terrorist threats as well as for an outstanding warrant in Alameda County for possession of methamphetamines. Guy was swinging around a hammer and wooden board, threatening to kill others that were staying at the same hotel that he was. He continued and threatened to kill the cops when they showed up looking for him. Guy told the police he was armed with a gun, and after negotiations failed he was driven out of his room with tear gas and arrested. He was also arrested in Texas in 2012 for trespassing.
Guy’s online writings match his real life speech. For an example, see this page where Guy paid for legal advice online and yet was refused help because those providing the service couldn’t make sense of a single one of his posts. Guy was on the UC Berkeley campus ahead of the April 15 “free speech rally” with Karissa Healy, Rob Stites, and Jessica Stites posting flyers advertising the event.
Karissa Healy says she is a massage therapist in Berkeley and wanted to get involved after seeing Milo get shut down on February 1. Karissa, like her friend Guy Decker, has been attending these events since March 4. On May Day (May 1), Karissa traveled to Los Angeles with a group she met from the Berkeley rallies to confront protestors there as well. A fact particularly relevant to this situation is that Karissa herself was incorrectly identified and turned into a meme by the same 4chan trolls she now champions. In the aftermath of the March 4 Trump rally in Berkeley that broke out in fights, Karissa was accused by 4chan to have hurt some of the Trump supporters that ended up with injuries. To be clear, Karissa did in fact attack people, but they weren’t Trump supporters; Karissa came to attack anti-racists.
When asked for her Twitter handle by one of the livestreamers on the street, Karissa declined to say it on the stream, preferring privacy. Her twitter account can be found here: https://twitter.com/WakeupNeo1
Colin Duke of Alameda walked up to Kevin Yee and others and immediately signaled to his new friends that he’s on their side by exclaiming “Praise Kek” before flashing a hand gesture that has increasingly been used as a safer substitute for the old nazi salute, consistent with the revamped Third Reich flag that Kevin was displaying. When discussing the hand gesture, Colin tells the others that “if it’s good enough for Cernovich, it’s good enough for me.” Colin is referring to Mike Cernovich, the far-right Trump supporter known for pushing fake news and conspiracy theories such as “Pizza Gate” on social media, of which Colin appears to be a fan and true believer. The shirt Colin was wearing said “smash passivism, ignite activism.” Colin’s own experience with smashing came on February 1 when he left the cancelled Milo event at UC Berkeley with a bleeding face. Colin tweeted pictures to Brittany Pettibone of Gilroy, alt-right personality and contributing writer for Richard Spencer’s website, and who was also a featured speaker at the April 15 rally in Berkeley.
Colin, as documented in some of the videos from that day, discusses at length the various regulations and restrictions on weapons that exist in California and specifically Bay Area counties. When Colin gets to the topic of Bay Area gun regulation, he suggests that he might have a direct connection to the Alameda County Sheriff.
Cole White aka “Based Rick Flair Guy”
Cole White took Bart to go to the arraignment. He was seen in Berkeley on April 15 getting into fights. Some of this can be seen in this famous video of nazi Nathan Damigo sucker punching an antifascist protester. Cole can be seen in the background wearing a purple sweater and black pants punching and kicking people that are on the ground. This is confirmed in the fascists’ videos from the arraignment, where the rest of the group congratulates Cole for his actions.
K.C. aka KPikklefield
KPikklefield is the Twitter handle of this member of the Oath Keepers who lives in El Cerrito. During a discussion with the others about local teacher and activist Yvette Felarca on his own live video from the street in Oakland, he tells them that, “I have her home address and stuff. I’m going to go and provoke her and see if I can get her to do something crazy.”
This dork drove all the way to Oakland from Santa Cruz so that he could tell people there that they weren’t welcome. Apparently, Daryl Tempesta thinks Oakland belongs to him just because he’s a veteran and “defended” it. As Daryl explains in this interview with local radio in Santa Cruz, once he finished basic training, Daryl went straight on to his permanent position of being an artist for the Air Force. When Eric Clanton’s attorney Dan Siegel agreed to do an interview for local news, Daryl and crew surrounded Siegel, with Daryl interrupting and heckling him just 20 seconds into the interview.
Rick Write is the ex-Marine who livestreamed at the arraignment for the channel Red Elephants. In videos, Rick appears to be wearing a press pass. Rick has also shown up to other Berkeley events and has been seen wearing clothing that include militia insignias. Rick is seen on video being repeatedly told by a cop that the judge would not allow recording during the proceeding. However, he decided to livestream from inside the courtroom anyway, hiding his phone inside his pocket and streaming audio to the Red Elephants Facebook page. After about 15 minutes, he was kicked out of the room.
Susan Walsh claims to be an ex-Democrat and was inside the MLK Student Union building at UC Berkeley when thousands of people came together to shut down the Berkeley College Republican’s Milo event. She has expressed that she thinks Black Lives Matter is a terrorist movement because of “what they believe in.” Susan has been active working to network all of the different local groups and people that are showing up to these public events. She was scheduled to be a speaker at the “Summer of Conservatism” event in Santa Ana, CA in July along with Kyle Chapman and the president of the Berkeley College Republicans, Troy Worden. The event has since been cancelled after the local community found out about it.
Marco Gutierrez, from Discovery Bay, CA, is the founder of Latinos for Trump. You may already know of him as the person who threatened that there would be taco trucks on every corner in America if Trump wasn’t elected.
Alana Mirabella came from Lafayette with her mother-in-law to go to the arraignment. There, she immediately met up with the 4chan Kek crowd. Ten months ago, she signed this online petition asking Twitter to end their ban on Milo Yiannopoulos.
Stephanie Oliver is from San Rafael, where she teaches zumba.
What we have here is not some hodge podge collection of random, mainstream conservative victims. Instead, these are people that have been asking for this fight, and are using the narrative of victimhood to shield themselves from consequences. Moreover, the state has accepted this activity and worked with them to arrest alleged antifascists. This 4chan kangaroo court represents the coagulation of local fascist scum into a force that wishes to brutally assault and lock up political opposition that has refused to normalize the presidency of Donald Trump and the wave of white supremacist fervor that has washed him all the way up to the steps of the White House. Most of these people (if not all of them) have been trying again and again to take their fascist agenda to the streets of the Bay Area.
Just as the confrontations in the streets of Berkeley with the far-right have been a sort of warning about increased political violence in the future and the desire for fascists to force themselves on the rest of us using the rhetoric of “free speech,” so too should this coming together of the police, the courts, and the fascist street movement. Eric Clanton has been arrested using “evidence” from a neo-nazi message board while violent fascist provocateurs, themselves involved in the same violence, have been allowed by the system to sit as an audience and make a spectacle of the court proceedings while broadcasting the events to the rest of the world on the internet.
Will the media, especially those that aired interviews with some of these people on local news, discuss what is in this article as much as they have provided a platform to the 4chan neo-nazis and their “evidence” against Eric Clanton?