An anonymous group of vigilantes works to identify racists, a legally gray tactic known as doxxing that comes with plenty of risk for all.
By Decca Muldowney
“Fallon” is not her real name. It’s a pseudonym she’s using because she wants to remain anonymous. She knows that can be an elusive goal, chiefly because of people not unlike her.
When I first contacted Fallon, here is what she told me about herself: she’s in her mid-30s; she’s white; she has children; she works a 9-to-5 office job; and she lives in Ohio. She has a voice like a school teacher or a nurse, steady and determined. She loves PowerPoint slides and spreadsheets. She seems organized, efficient and articulate.
She also says she is part of Great Lakes Antifa, a self-described group of anti-fascist activists. Within her local antifa group, she says she is part of an even smaller collective. These are what are known as the antifa “doxxers.” In the evenings and her spare time, Fallon says she researches and reveals the identities of neo-Nazis in America.
Often beginning with nothing more than a name, or even a picture, Fallon says she tracks down people who have attended far-right rallies or meetings, who have sent death or rape threats on the internet, or who are members of white supremacist groups like the KKK or National Socialist Movement. She says she uses property records, tax documents, voter registration databases, social media, real estate websites and real-life surveillance to find them and verify their names and locations.
And then she makes a choice. What kind of dox will she do?
“It’s nonviolent. It’s transparent. It’s validated. It’s effective. I feel like, for me, if there was one thing that I could say to the alt-right and to fascists it would be: ‘You don’t get to be a Nazi on the weekend.’ If you’re a Nazi on Saturday, you’re a Nazi all goddamn week,” – Anti-Fa doxxer Fallon
For some of her targets, she says she contacts their church or employer, emailing screenshots of the online abuse they allegedly have perpetrated. For others, she calls their workplaces or colleges to explain that an employee or student says they are a member of a white supremacist group. And in the most serious cases, she says, she publishes their names on sympathetic left-wing news sites, like It’s Going Down. As a result, people aligned with antifa might make posters naming and identifying the individual as a threat, putting them up around the person’s town or community.
While Fallon’s doxxes may have serious consequences, her work is relatively mild compared to some other doxxing cases. In some high-profile instances, doxxing has involved publishing a person’s home address and then actively encouraging people to harass them. In one recent case, Tanya Gersh, a Jewish resident of white nationalist leader Richard Spencer’s hometown Whitefish, Montana, was relentlessly harassed and threatened with phone calls after being named in a blog post on the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer. Andrew Anglin, the editor of The Daily Stormer, posted not only Gersh’s phone number and address, but details about her 12-year-old son, and encouraged readers to harass them.
Fallon says she doesn’t go this far. But she still believes her work is powerful.
“A dox is a digital brick through a window,” she says.
From keyboards to the streets
The digital battle that Fallon is engaged in is just one form of combat between elements of the political left and right that has raged throughout 2017. In August, the potential for physical violence burst into the mainstream consciousness when white nationalists clashed with counter-protesters in the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia. The displays of far-right extremism, sometimes called the “alt-right,” have occasionally been met with an anti-fascist opposition ready to use extreme methods, including violence, to push back. Such antifa members wound up in the clashes in Charlottesville.
For many Americans, the left/right warring — complete with competing manifestos and symbols and coded language — looks like little more than fringe nuttiness. But the street fights — whether in Berkeley, California, or Charlottesville — are quite real. The online sparring is less visible, but no less important to those caught up in the tumult.
Fallon and other antifa doxxers say they don’t want to let people live secret lives of hate and bigotry. …
White Supremacists Joked About Using Cars to Run Over Opponents Before Charlottesville
By George Joseph
Nearly a month before a car driven by an alleged neo-Nazi plowed into counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 12, white supremacists planning the “Unite the Right” rally joked about using vehicles to run over their opponents.
That message and thousands of other conversations among white supremacists were leaked from a chat app called Discord and posted on the website of a left-wing media collective called Unicorn Riot. Many users’ participation could not be verified, but ProPublica was able to confirm that two people whose statements were included in the leaked trove made the comments attributed to them.
Leaked chat room conversations reveal expectations of violence — along with detailed planning and intelligence gathering on left-wing adversaries.
The pre-Charlottesville chats include discussions of potential violence, the use of weapons, and excitement at the prospect of “fighting for the white race.”
The leaked discussions also reveal an intense level of planning and nationwide coordination. As ProPublica reported earlier this month, the “Unite the Right” demonstrations were dominated by a younger, more tech-savvy generation of white supremacists than in past protests. They coordinated logistics for disparate groups and came together a thousand strong to take over city streets in military-style formation. The two-plus months of leaked planning discussions, reviewed by ProPublica, support this assessment. Below are five key takeaways from the messages. …
‘Pizzagate’ Conspiracist Jack Posobiec “doxxes” Roy Moore’s Accuser On Twitter
In a bizarre defense of Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, who was accused of sexual activity with a 14-year-old girl, a right-wing conspiracy theorist and media star told his followers to stalk the victim at her workplace on Friday.
Jack Posobiec, a Trump supporter with a large online following, posted a recent Facebook photo of Leigh Corfman, the woman who told The Washington Post that the then-32-year-old Moore tried to bed her in 1979, and told his Twitter followers to target Corfman at her last known place of employment. …