Shape-Shifting Extremists

September 17, 2017 By: El Jefe Category: Alt-Right Racists

Open Carry Texas.  American Freedom Keepers.  Confederate Riders.  Hezbollah.  What do they have in common? Mob tactics, as in the Mafia.  It’s a common technique; to gain support of local communities or to create a “good guy” image, these organizations move into areas where government support is weak or removed, and they fill that void.  Because they support the local community, radicals can shape-shift into magnanimous philanthropists and volunteers to “help” a community. Hezbollah, for example, is a global criminal organization with an operation extending into drugs, guns, and explosives that fuels its terrorist activities; at the same time, Hezbollah also funds schools and hospitals, provides food, and provides security for residents in southern Lebanon.  These “charitable” activities gives the organization some level of cover and support throughout the Middle East, and give its leaders opportunity to assert that they’re not terrorists at all; they’re merely good guys trying to improve the lot of the people of Lebanon.  To those not paying attention, the tactic works.

The same Mafia technique is often tried here in the US.  Open Carry Texas (OCT), the loose organization of radical gun crazies who don’t feel safe unless they’re packing an AR-15 and a Samurai sword at the local Walmart, gained notoriety  in 2013 and 2014 for parading around in public with all manner of firearms.  CJ Grisham, convicted in 2013 for interfering with a police officer while carrying his semi-auto rifle, started the demonstrations to “educate” Texans and to “desensitize” people to the constant presence of screwballs carrying guns everywhere.  He also pushed the idiotic notion of “constitutional” carry, peddling the lie that the Founders intended for anyone to carry any weapon they desired with no oversight, no qualifications, and no common sense.  When the group started demonstrating with guns, normal people reacted as you would expect and called the police terrified that weirdos were out in public with guns in plain sight.  When those people called, OCT members responded by threatening and harassing those callers (especially if they were women), publishing their addresses and telephone numbers.  The victims would be deluged with harassment 24/7.  They even labelled those callers “thugs with jugs”.  Nice.  Well, as you would expect, those terrorist tactics backfired and OCT got some really bad press.  What did ol’ CJ do then?  He decided that OCT was really about helping people, so his minions started collecting contributions of canned goods and school supplies for poor kids.  And again, if you weren’t paying attention, you would be fooled that this group of radical nuts were actually dewy-eyed do gooders.

Which brings us to Hurricane Harvey and the latest case of shape-shifting by assholes.  As we all know, Harvey wrought havoc on the Texas and Louisiana Gulf coast threatening over 100,000 homes and 8 million people.  The damage stretched from Corpus Christi to Beaumont, and tens of thousands of Texans were displaced.  Local government, the feds, and volunteers scrambled to save lives, then rebuild those lives.  The effort continues.

Here’s where things get weird – in Fort Bend County is a small agricultural community outside of Rosharon called Little Cambodia.  It’s populated by Cambodian refuges, has its own Buddhist temple and has been pretty self sufficient.  The area suffered serious flooding, and being outside of larger communities, was left on its own as the effort to respond to the disaster was organized.  American Freedom Keepers, a lose affiliation of gun-toting anti-government screwballs based in Portland, Oregon, saw an opportunity, joined forces with a motorcycle club called Confederate Riders of America and swept in proclaiming that they are in charge of recovery.  FEMA representatives were threatened by this crowd when they arrived trying to assess the situation and promptly left, feeling the area unsafe for their workers.  AFK has now essentially taken over the community.  The Confederate Riders say the community “is not ready for federal help”, whatever that means.  The Fort Bend County sheriff is apparently trying to get handle on the situation.

So, who are these people?  AFK is led by some guy who calls himself Francis Marion, apparently after a Revolutionary War figure who was famous for guerrilla tactics.  AFK is identified with anti-government figures like Cliven Bundy and show up at white supremacist rallies around the country.  They were highly visible last month at the white nationalist “Unite the Right” rally where KKK and
Neo-Nazis clashed with anti-fascism counter protestors.  A counter protester was killed by a white supremacist who plowed into a crowd with his car.  AFK was a named participant in the rally, and they posted pictures of themselves wearing body armor and camo and toting guns at the rally.

The Confederate Riders, whose name doesn’t make it hard to divine their own proclivity, is a motorcycle club that claims it’s not a motorcycle club and has a chapter in area of Little Cambodia.  They wear their black leather vests festooned with white supremacist imagery and Confederate battle flags.  They love to associate with all things Trump and all things anti-Hillary.  At least one of their members is an employee of SSG Group LLC, which is providing support to the Little Cambodia effort.  They love to pose for pictures with guys with guns.

Last week, ABC13 reporter Miya Shay received a tip that white supremacists had taken over Little Cambodia and they were keeping FEMA out.  When she went to investigate, the white supremacists verbally attacked her, calling her a racist for daring to ask about the racists who taken over the community and appointed themselves the sole authority for all relief efforts.  The response of radicals is always the same when unmasked – protest their innocence, grossly overstate shock, and follow that up by vicious lashing out; and that’s exactly what’s happened.  While Shay was in Little Cambodia, she was videoed by one of the racists and a social media campaign, OCT style, was begun by RedElephants, a new alt-right website, run by by Vincent James O’Connor.  RedElephants has rapidly become a key propaganda outlet promoting the alt-right, racists, white supremacists, and gun toting militia types, and has become known for its live streaming of clashes with counter protestors and white supremacists.

The day of Shay’s encounter with AFK and the Confederate Riders in Rosharon, O’Connor posted a video of the encounter with the guy who calls himself Francis Marion excoriating her for daring to ask what was going on.  The video went viral and the result was obvious.  Shay is now being attacked 24/7.  There are attempts to hack into her social media pages and she’s being threatened.  Here ABC13 Facebook comments are filled with nothing but attacks by racists calling her a racist.

Unfortunately, this is often the result when someone unmasks radicals like AFK and Confederate Riders.  Bad guys, who tote guns in public “protecting” white supremacists and those who celebrate the most shameful chapter in our history live in an upside down world where gun toting weirdos are the victims and normal people just asking questions are the bad guys.  AFK suffered backlash for participating in the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville and other racist events.  To counter that bad press, they rush down to a hurricane ravaged area, enlist the Confederate Riders, and run actual aid workers out of an area badly in need of help, declaring themselves in charge.  That’s one of the goofiest traits of these kinds of groups – they just decide they’re going to “protect” a certain group of people (like the racists in Charlottesville) and self-appoint themselves as in charge, ignoring and even opposing those actually in authority.  In this case, armed racists are trying to recast themselves as selfless do gooders.  After all, how can they be racists when they’re helping Asian people?  Oh, and please ignore that AR-15 standing in the corner.

The result is always the same – these militia style folks get in the way; they confuse things; they slow down response; oh, and they scare the shit out of normal people.  Then, they declare victory, post it on Facebook, then run off to the next white supremacist event where they can get more attention for themselves by declaring “free speech”.

We’ll continue following this story.  Hopefully the sheriff will be able to restore order and get the residents actual help.

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14 Comments to “Shape-Shifting Extremists”

  1. El Jefe, in state affairs the first line of defense is the National Guard. Unfortunately for TX, that means resources under Gregg A-Butt. Not a guy we can expect to rein in the domestic terrorists posing as “help.”

    Next line of defense would be Jefferson Beauregard Sessions. Forgive me for not thinking he is any RFK or will do anything to help what he perceives as a “minority community.”

    Francis Marion. Let’s be real here. Francis is an Francis the talking mule and two or more multiple loads short of a Maid Marion.

    If those morons had any intention of helping local authorities, they would leave their guns home and arrive with plywood and other supplies to actually help. Instead they DEMAND local authorities waste time with their sorry asses. Not that I would visit hopes of death on anyone, but damn. The last thing LE needs is a split decision to determine the “good” guys with a gun.

    Transporting guns across state borders is a federal crime. But not holding my breath as to any of those impediments to progress being prosecuted.

  2. Sam in St Paul says:

    Great story, thanks. I looked up the FB page on AFK and it is a mess. These idiots are actively pursuing the Channel 13 reporter for doing her job. I wish that Texas would take action against them but they represent Abbott’s base (as well as Trump’s). California and other real states could very well stop these idiots when they cross state borders and prosecute them.

  3. Sam in St Paul, while applauding your optimism and surely not underestimating the st00pid of the gun nuts, even they possess maps of where not to go. Plus Cali is way out of their way. Hop scotch and a jump from I-duh-ho to Kansuck or wherever, where the countie mounties are as corrupt and st00pid as the nutz, we’re not holding our breath as to any state stopping them in their path.

    Sort of like the situation in Chicago, where the best efforts to halt gun violence are thwarted by neighboring states with loosely goosey gun laws.

    Until Donnie is in handcuffs, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions is “the man.” What a dismal thought. The racist little elf is too busy focusing on deporting educated citizens of Mexican heritage to address the real problem of home boy terrorists who look like him.

  4. My sympathies to the Cambodians. They’ve taken the place of African descent citizens as the target of the New KKK.

    Anyone for a Freedom Ride? What does the Red Cross think of this?

  5. Anybody know what the Cambodian-Americans think of this? Do they welcome any kind of “help” or are they afraid to say anything?

  6. Rhea, the Cambodian-Americans arrived in the nearly same time frame as most Vietnamese-Americans (before I was born*). They’re now 3rd and 4th generation Americans. While I wouldn’t pretend to speak for them or place words in their mouths, at a guess, I would posit that they’re as gob smacked by this as anyone of us who are unwilling recipients of ‘help’ from OCT or other wingnut militias.

    * to be clear, while I was born here, it is clear to me that the children and progeny of 1st generation Americans are way ahead of me, if the standard is “time on soil” as the wingnuts are now claiming.

  7. JAKvirginia says:

    Had a small infestation of insect pests once. Got out the spray can and doused them good. No more pests. There’s a lesson in that. Just sayin’…

  8. JAKvirginia, thought that was why we had Jade Helm and Walmart basement reeducation centers for wingnuts. Really? It was all a right wing hoax? Seriously. Maybe we need to work harder to make their fantasies come true.

  9. First thing I also thought of was the national guard but if that is not an option, whatever happened to Texas Rangers and I’m not talking baseball here.

  10. Sounds like some of the creepy crapola those white male Christian terrorists pulled in Idaho, Montana and tried in ND.

  11. Pollytiques says:

    The whole time I was reading that story I couldn’t help but think about the old western movies. This same script has been played out thousands and thousands of times. But now instead of the gangs riding in on horses to take over towns. It’s motorcycles, humvees, camouflage uniforms and of course always bigger and more destructive weapons. And the leaders are sitting back in the country clubs and Washington instead of old style Big Daddy back at the ranch sending his “hands” into town to break his useless son out of jail.

  12. It’s like a swarm of cockroaches, only instead of scattering when the light comes on, they swarm up the wall to destroy the light bulb.

  13. Robin Frazier says:

    This whole mess is cover for a drug operation. Think about it.

  14. A friend who works with FEMA is down there now. Curious what she’ll say about it. I had small scale “help” like that once in NYC when a kid grabbed my suitcase and said he’d get me on the train fastest. Of course I had to pay to get the bag back.