Saturday, May 21

Deciphering the extremist symbols in the Capitol uprising

Editor’s note: This article contains images and descriptions of extremist groups and their beliefs.

(CNN) — Flags, signs and symbols of racist, white supremacist and extremist groups were displayed alongside Trump 2020 banners and American flags on the Wednesday riots in the US Capitol

The images tell part of the story of the beliefs of some of those who chose to appear that day, from passionate and peaceful Trump supporters to extremists who showed their hatred with their symbols and their actions.

The mixing of groups is an issue that has long concerned experts who track extremism and hatred.

The certification of the election results turned out to be exactly the kind of event that brought together several groups and could have led to radical ideas sharing, they say. The kickoff event, which was heavily promoted and encouraged by President Trump, gave all of these groups something to rally around.

“This was an event designed to oppose the results of free and fair democratic elections and the transition of power that would naturally follow,” said Mark Pitcavage, historian and expert on extremism with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). .

CNN spoke with him to identify the symbols and understand the chilling messages of tyranny, white supremacism, anarchy, racism, anti-Semitism, and hatred they portray.

Rope and gallows

While a noose alone is often used as a form of racial intimidation, Pitcavage says he believes that in this context the gallows should suggest punishment for committing treason. “It suggests that the representatives and senators who vote to certify the election results, and possibly Vice President Pence, are committing treason and should be tried and hanged,” he explains.

That betrayal rhetoric was seen on right-wing message boards in the days leading up to the event.

Three Percent Flag (Three Percenters)

The three percent (also known as III% ers, 3% ers or Threepers) are part of the militia movement in the United States and are anti-government extremists, according to the ADL.

Like other members of the militia movement, Three Percenters sees himself defending the American people against the tyranny of the government.

“Because many followers of the militia movement strongly support President Trump, in recent years, Three Percenters has not been as active in opposing the federal government, directing their anger at other perceived enemies, including leftists / antifa, Muslims and immigrants. », according to the ADL.

The group’s name comes from an inaccurate claim that only three percent of the people in the colonies armed and fought against the British during the Revolutionary War.

The flag seen above has her logo on the traditional Betsy Ross flag. Pitcavage says that right-wing groups (mainstream or extreme), who consider themselves patriots, sometimes co-opt the first American flag.

“Liberar al Kraken”

The flag refers to comments by former Trump attorney Sidney Powell that he was going to “free the Kraken.” Powell falsely said he had proof that would destroy the idea that Joe Biden won the presidency.

The ‘Kraken’, a gigantic sea creature from Scandinavian folklore, has become a meme in circles that believe the election was stolen. The Kraken, they say, is a cache of evidence of widespread fraud. On social media, the QAnon conspiracy and #ReleaseTheKraken fringe sites have been widely shared along with false fraud theories.

The Proud Boys and the OK sign

The far right has co-opted the OK sign as a provocative gesture and, for some, as a symbol of white power. The ADL added that symbol to its database of slogans and symbols used by extremists.

«They wear orange caps to identify themselves; in previous demonstrations they wore identification shirts and other gear, but they abandoned it for this event after their leader was recently arrested, ”Pitcavage explained.

The Proud Boys they have supported President Trump and have been present at the “Stop The Steal” rallies in Washington. Proud Boys leader Henry Tarrio, who goes by the name Enrique Tarrio, was released from police custody Tuesday on charges related to allegedly burning a pancarta de Black Lives Matter taken from a black church last month during protests in the city after a “Stop the Steal” rally. A local judge ordered him to stay out of Washington while awaiting trial, including during protests this week.

Flags of «Kekistan»

The green, white and black flag was created by some members of the 4chan online community to represent a made-up joke country called “Kek,” a fictional god they also created. He has been present for a long time in the rallies of the right and the far right.

“The flag of Kekistan is controversial because its design was partially derived from a Nazi-era flag; this was apparently done on purpose as a joke, ”Pitcavage explained. “Younger right-wingers who come from the 4chan subculture (both the common right and the far right) often like to display the Kekistan flag at rallies and events.”

Modified historical flags

The altered flags of the Confederacy and Gadsden were seen in the crowd on Capitol Hill. A variation of the Confederate battle flag included an image of an assault rifle and the slogan “Come and get it” to convey an anti-gun control message. The phrase “come and take it” paraphrases the reply of “come and take it” uttered by the Spartan king Leonidas at the battle of Thermopylae when the Persian king Xerxes told him and his people to lay down their spears in exchange for their lives, Pitcavage said.

The Gadsden is a traditional and historic patriotic flag dating back to the American Revolution. The flag and symbol are also popular with libertarians. But it has also been co-opted by right-wing groups. Pitcavage explains that while some wave it as a symbol of patriotism, others use it as a “symbol of resistance to perceived tyranny.”

Oath keepers

A man wearing an Oath Keepers cap is seen inside the Capitol after he was mugged. The Oath Keepers is a pro-Trump far-right anti-government group that sees itself as part of the militia movement charged with protecting the country and upholding the constitution. The group attempts to recruit members from among active or retired military personnel, first responders or police.

Its leader has launched vast conspiracy theories on his blog, accused Democrats of stealing the elections, previously threatened violence if necessary on Election Day during an interview with far-right conspirator Alex Jones and noted that his group would be armed. to protect the White House if necessary, according to the ADL.

The confederate flag

During America’s long Civil War, no Confederate battle flag was in the shadow of the United States Capitol, but on Wednesday, an insurgent carried one through its halls.

Photographers captured a man carrying her alongside portraits of abolitionist Charles Sumner and slave trader John Calhoun.

The flag was always a symbol of support for slavery. After World War II, it became a prominent Jim Crow symbol and segregation, Pitcavage says, not surprisingly a popular symbol among supremacists, even outside the United States.

Flag of ‘America First’

One person draped himself in an America First flag bearing the logo of far-right commentator Nick Fuentes’ podcast. Fuentes attended the event at the Capitol but was photographed staying outside the Capitol building.

“America First” was also a slogan used by President Trump to describe its foreign policy. Its adoption was criticized by the ADL, which said it had an anti-Semitic use to keep the United States out of World War II.

The ADL says that Fuentes is part of the «groyper army«, Which the ADL calls a white supremacist group.

“While the views of the group and the leadership align with those of the white supremacist far right, the groypers try to normalize their ideology by aligning themselves with the values ​​of ‘Christianity’ and ‘traditional’ ostensibly defended by the church, including marriage and the family ”, explained the ADL. “Like the far right and other white supremacists, the groypers believe they are working to defend themselves against the demographic and cultural changes that are destroying the ‘real America’, a white Christian nation.”

“Camp Auschwitz”

Another of those who stormed the Capitol wore a jacket from “Camp Auschwitz” (“Camp Auschwitz” in English). The bottom of the shirt says “Work brings freedom”, which is the rough translation of the words “Arbeitmacht frei” on the doors of the Nazi concentration camp. Auschwitz was the largest and most infamous Nazi concentration camp, where around 1.1 million people died during World War II.

Pitcavage says he believes the jacket came from the now-defunct Aryanwear website. The design, which has been around for about 10 years according to Pitcavage, has appeared on different websites in recent weeks, although it is often removed when a complaint is filed.

Nationalist Social Club Decals

An image from social media shows Nationalist Social Club (NSC) stickers on what appears to be US Capitol Police gear.It is unclear when the photo was taken, but it was posted on Wednesday in a Telegram chat. used by the group, which includes a Nazi symbol as part of its name.

NSC, apparently a pun on the National Socialists or the Nazi Party, is a neo-Nazi group that has regional chapters both in the United States and around the world, according to the ADL. It is unclear whether the label on the right refers to a New England chapter or why the group originally called itself the New England Nationalists Club.

“Members of the NSC see themselves as soldiers at war against a hostile Jewish-controlled system deliberately plotting the extinction of the white race,” according to the ADL. “Their goal is to form a clandestine network of white men who are willing to fight their perceived enemies through localized direct actions.”

MAGA Civil War January 6, 2021 T-Shirts

There are still many questions about how exactly the attack on the Capitol occurred and who led the attack. But calls to overthrow the government and for a civil or racial war have long been in far-right circles.

The shirts these men wore on the Capitol grounds Wednesday show that there was at least an intention to commemorate the day. They wore pre-printed T-shirts, referencing the Trump slogan Make America Great Again, along with the words Civil War (Civil War) and the date of the event that turned into an insurrection.

Many commentators on far-right forums have written since the attack that this is just the beginning of that civil war that many of them have wanted for a long time.

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