On Monday, January 20, the city of Richmond, Virginia will be host to a massive gathering of militias and individual gun owners, protesting against a series of proposed bills in the state legislature. This event started as the annual “Lobby Day” rally for the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) but has quickly gotten out of control.
Earlier this week, the FBI arrested several members of Neo-Nazi organization “The Base” who were planning to attend the march with an illegal automatic weapon and more than a thousand rounds of ammunition. Governor Northam has declared a “State of Emergency” in the city and banned firearms from the Capitol grounds. He justified this by stating his fear that some protesters attending the event, “have as their purpose not peaceful assembly but violence, rioting, and insurrection.”
Evidence supporting this fear can be found on 4chan’s far-right /pol board, where at least one Richmond police officer appears to be providing protesters with inside information.
What /pol Wants From January 20
4chan’s /pol board is one of the largest white nationalist gathering places on the Internet. In the lead up to this much-anticipated rally a series of threads titled “/vsg/” (Virginian Spring General) have cropped up to help coordinate anons interested in attending the event. The posts range from general information…
…to outright calls for racial violence and the start to a “boogaloo” (far-right terminology for a new civil war. As in, ‘Civil War 2: Electric Boogaloo’).
MediaMatters previously reported on some of these threads and noted: “…users have explicitly organized among themselves for the January 20 rally and have asked about “a meeting spot for anons that are showing up.” In one thread, users discussed which users would be “command[ing]” a “station” to “serve” at the rally and having an “alert for weapons free,” a term meaning permission to shoot at non-friendly targets.”
A Law Enforcement Officer Appears
An anti-fascist activist, “B”, reached out to Bellingcat with a link to this archived version of a now-removed /vsg/ thread. In it, an individual with the poster ID “6RuLcY2g” claims to be a Richmond cop working the event and announces that he will be “taking questions”.
Shortly thereafter, he posts a picture of his badge next to a crude approximation of the 4chan logo.
This in and of itself is not hugely noteworthy. In other /vsg/ threads, users have posted pretending to be law enforcement officers. They have even posted pictures of badges, like this:
This “investigator” badge is quite easily debunked as a fake via Google Image Search. But this Richmond police officer badge does not show up on Yandex or Google reverse image searches. And based on this tweet from the Richmond police, the badge posted onto /pol does seem to match the badges issued by the Richmond Police Department.
I thank this activist for finding the tweet.
A Conversation With Officer Anon
The anons of /pol are often outright Nazi sympathizers, and there are repeated calls in the thread for people to join or support The Base. As you might expect, the kind of people who announce their support of a terrorist network targeted by the FBI are deeply concerned about federal infiltrators.
Within these circles, the term “glownigger” and variations of the word “glow” are used to refer to government operatives who post on boards like 4chan to try and entrap individuals. Quite a few anons express significant distrust of the poster claiming to be a Richmond police officer.
But poster 6RuLcY2g makes no obvious attempts to entrap or encourage felonious behavior. Instead, he answers questions and attempts to provide anons with actionable intelligence on police plans for January 20. He notes that there will be “probably 600-700” officers in attendance, tells them to “expect double barriers” around the event area, and even warns his fellow channers to “watch out for glow in the darks.”
The purported officer’s posts show a familiarity with the lingo used on /pol, including its casual racism and homophobia. In another post he claims to have been a regular user of the site since 2009.
Anons repeatedly ask him if he intends to “stand down”, and accuse him of having ties to the “Mossad” and “ADL” (essentially accusing him of working for the Jewish cabal they believe exists). Another user asks him detailed questions about how the police might respond to the crowd.
He answers all these questions with a fair amount of detail, noting that “Mossad and ADL don’t like people like me” and admitting that there are not enough police to stop the crowd if it gets out of control.
At one point he is asked how he and his fellow officers will be outfitted; whether they’ll be in normal uniforms or wearing a full tactical get-up. Directly below his response, another anon posts a colorized photograph of a midnight swearing-in ceremony for the Nazi SS.
The officer in question — if he is an officer — is careful enough to not state his own beliefs directly. Nor does he advocate any illegal behavior. But he does provide potentially useful insight into how he believes Richmond PD will respond to the protests, and the limitations of his department’s capabilities.
It’s probably worth noting that, on this same board, other users proudly display swastikas while they share information on how to conduct insurgent campaigns.
If the poster in question is, in fact, a Richmond police officer, he is an officer who is profoundly comfortable with Nazi iconography and explicit talk of insurgent warfare against the U.S. government.