Inside the American Identity Movement’s Southwest Chapter

Los Angeles, CA – The alt-right neo-nazi group Identity Evropa, mostly known for its role in organizing the deadly Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville, recently renamed itself the American Identity Movement. While the group has been reeling from mass exposure of its members due to leaks from inside the group, they are still pushing ahead with their rebrand and their different cells continue to work to pursue a racist agenda on a local and state level where members live.

Newly leaked chats, obtained by Unicorn Riot from inside the group’s private web server, shed light on their activities in US states grouped into the ‘Southwest’ regional chapter – including Nevada, Arizona, and (primarily) California. Like the group’s national chats that we leaked in early July, the Southwest chat server runs MatterMost software on a web server hosted by Amazon Web Services.

Messages in the leaked chat logs show members planning propaganda actions such as postering and banner drops, as well as plotting to infiltrate more mainstream conservative events. They also share some details about upcoming plans in the southwestern US as well as local queer events they may seek to target in the future.

Nevada

Members of the American Identity Movement have been encouraged by leadership to attend other right-wing community events in order to recruit. One member using the chat handle ‘mojave_paisan-nv’ posted about targeting and possibly infiltrating a new ‘CPAC West’ event being held by the American Conservative Union (ACU) in Reno, NV in September 2019. Identity Evropa and American Identity Movement president Patrick Casey had previously been banned from the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) along with several other neo-nazi and alt-right celebrities, such as Nick Fuentes and Faith Goldy.

Arizona

On May 31, 2019, a member posting as ‘Gerald’ in the MatterMost chat wrote that he was driving to Yuma, Arizona “to check out the border and mass invasion taking place.” Another member using the alias ‘Freiheit’ inquired about joining him for part of the weekend, adding “I’d like to megaphone them in Spanish and tell them to go home.

American Identity Movement members ‘gerald’ and ‘freiheit’ discuss traveling to the US-Mexico border to harass immigrants.

Another Arizona-based member using the chat alias ‘willsaxon’ also proposed targeting a Drag Queen Story Hour event at Harley’s Toys and Comics in Tucson. Members of the American Identity Movement had previously harassed a Drag Queen Story Hour at a library in New Orleans earlier this year.

American Identity Movement member ‘willsaxon’ proposed targeting a Drag Queen Story Hour event in Tucson, AZ.

California

The American Identity Movement’s southwest region is mostly active in California, with members hailing mostly from central and south parts of the state. A member going by ‘Peter’ in the chat referred to an AmIM ‘HQ’ in the Crenshaw neighborhood in Los Angeles, although this likely refers to a personal residence. LA-area members discussed targeting various locations for banner drops to film and photograph for making propaganda, including the LAX airport as well as highway overpasses in nearby Santa Monica.

American Identity Movement members discuss potential propaganda actions in the Los Angeles area.

A recent American Identity Movement propaganda video from early June 2019 shows the group mobilized on the Cal Poly college campus in San Luis Obispo, CA, where they did a brief photo op featuring a banner reading “CLOSE THE BORDER, BUILD THE WALL”.

California-based members of the group frequently expresses displeasure with California’s changing demographic trends, making dehumanizing comments about the state’s growing non-white populations.

One California member of Identity Evropa/American Identity Movement, who uses the handle ‘freiheit’ in leaked Discord, Slack, and MatterMost chats, fantasized about parts of California falling off into the ocean leading to a decrease in “uninvited Mexicans.” ‘Freheit‘, who is apparently one of the most active unidentified members of the group, posted in Identity Evropa’s leaked Discord chat that he is based in San Martin, CA. He also shared many images of Identity Evropa propaganda he placed in locations across California.

One Identity Evropa postering image ‘freiheit’ shared in June 2018 was from Gilroy, CA, where recently, on  Sunday, July 28, 2019 , a gunman shot and killed 3 people at the local Garlic Festival after leaving an Instagram post referencing an anti-semitic text.

An image ‘Freiheit’ shared of Identity Evropa propaganda he posted in Gilroy, California. Posted on Discord on June,  2018.

Another active California member, posting under the chat alias ‘Tyler Hess’, posted about his activities in the San Diego area, which included placing propaganda at local veteran’s memorials on Memorial Day. He also posted about coordinating banner drops in Huntingdon Beach Pier, the California Incline, and Los Angeles. ‘Tyler Hess’ has since been directly identified as David Zsutty, a law student at Chapman University who also sits on the board of the Chapman student chapter of the Federalist Society, a right-wing legal think-tank whose former members include many federal judges. Zsutty’s leaked Discord chats show that he subscribes to anti-semitic conspiracy theories, and defended Charlottesville murderer James Fields as “completely innocent“.

Identity Evropa/American Identity Movement member David Zsutty, aka TylerHess

Antifascists from Eugene, Oregon, who were the first to confirm Zsutty’s identity, have been calling on Chapman University to expel him from the law school due to his affiliations. Chapman’s Dean of Students, Jerry Price, declined to provide specific details for privacy reasons, but said that the university was looking into the matter.

Yes, we have received information alleging that a Chapman law student is associated with the American Identity Movement. We have reviewed the content posted and find the racist and anti-Semitic comments attributed to this individual to be deplorable. While we can neither confirm this is a current student, nor comment directly on any student matter, we are taking this very seriously. Whenever we determine a violation of the student conduct code has occurred the University responds accordingly. 

– Jerry Price, Chapman University Dean of Students

The Federalist Society has not responded to our request for comment about Zsutty’s involvement in their Chapman University student chapter.

Another member involved in Identity Evropa propaganda stunts in California is Modesto resident Barbara Jean Palmer, who goes by ‘celticflame‘ in Identity Evropa’s Discord logs and uses the alias ‘bear’ or ‘bear-ca’ in the American Identity Movement’s current MatterMost chat. Palmer can be seen in Identity Evropa videos holding a banner with other members of the group, and she posted images in Discord showing hand-painted rocks she had made featuring Identity Evropa’s logo and slogans.

One message Palmer shared in July, that was later deleted by moderators, shows the typical attitude of casual racism among members of the group. ‘bear’ complained that she was unable to find any white doctors and that she was not comfortable receiving medical care from non-whites.

American Identity Movement member ‘bear’ aka Barbara Jean Palmer complains about not being able to find a white doctor.

In the most event detail from this set of leaked chats, American Identity Movement member ‘Praetor’ posted that the group was planning “a flash demonstration” for Balboa Park in San Diego for “early August” 2019.

American Identity Movement member ‘praetor’ shares plans for a “flash demonstration” in San Diego in early August 2019.

 


Download Southwest ‘Columbia’ (MatterMost) chat screenshot archive:

SouthWest_MatterMost.Zip (14.2 MB)

Download text logs of chats: ‘Town Square’ channel | ‘Off Topic’ channel | Announcements channel (these can be searched using control-F or similar)

Title image credit: Rennett Stowe via Wikimedia Commons

 

Unicorn Riot's investigative reporting on Identity Evropa:

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