Arieana Love and Ryan Burchfield: White Power Militants in Savannah, Georgia

Introduction

A Savannah-area couple are heavily involved in white nationalist networks, ranging from Christian far-Right organizing to apocalyptic neo-Nazism. Arieana K Love, who is currently studying pre-Medicine at Georgia Southern University and was a member of the Georgia National Guard , and Matthew Ryan Burchfield, who moved to Georgia from Virginia last year, are well-connected in regional and national far-Right channels. Love is a member of Legio Christi, an antisemitic and far-Right “traditional Christian” group, while Burchfield describes himself as an “Esoteric Hitlerite” – someone who couches his devotion to Nazism in mystical terms.

Matthew Ryan Burchfield and Arieana Love

Both Love and Burchfield are friends with Haralson County jailer Trent East, whose racist involvement and neo-Nazi affinities we recently documented. Online photos show Ryan Burchfield engaging in what appears to be racist paramilitary training with East.

Photo from Brandon Trent East’s Instagram account, March 2019. L-R: Matthew Ryan Burchfield, Arieana Love, Trent East and East’s fiancée Madison French.

Both Arieana Love and Burchfield are connected to internet profiles for Dalton Woodward, Trent East’s associate in the whites-only “Ravensblood Kindred” of the Asatru Folk Assembly. Another figure who was linked to both Love and Burchfield on social media is Corwyn Storm Carver, an active duty Army member and ideologue of the Atomwaffen Division, a neo-Nazi group linked to at least five killings.

Profile for Corwyn Carver, a Satanist and neo-Nazi, linked to both Matthew Ryan Burchfield and Arieana Love (profile as “Katherine Ludwig” in screen-capture).

Although they have friends and political associates in common, Love and Burchfield also operate in somewhat different spheres. For example, Arieana Love declares herself to be a Catholic rather than a racist heathen (East and Woodward), a neo-Nazi Satanist (Carver), or a Hitler devotee (Ryan Burchfield). This difference does not diminish Love’s racist and far-Right commitments, but it does give her white nationalist activity a slightly different character. We will discuss Catholic antisemite Arieana Love first, then her Hitler-worshipping boyfriend Ryan Burchfield.

Arieana Love

Arieana Love was part of the Georgia Army National Guard. According to a January 2018 social media post, Love was in the 1st Battalion, 118th Field Artillery Regiment, which is based in Savannah. Love received Basic Combat Training from late June to early September 2018. Love is not active duty, but due to the length of military contracts may still be a reserve member of the National Guard.

Arieana Love

Arieana Love is also member of Legio Christi (LC), a virulently antisemitic and far-Right “traditional Christian” organization. According to LC’s mission statement:

We consider Monarchy, whether hereditary or elective, to be the ideal form of government. […] Authoritarian, nationalistic governments represent an acceptable Republican alternative due to their adherence to natural social hierarchy and condemnation of the false notion of equality, promulgated during and after the French Revolution.

With this stance, LC position themselves as ultra-reactionaries, debatably to the political Right of fascism. While the organization states that “National Socialism as developed by Adolf Hitler […] is antithetical to our goals”, LC’s own “official reading list” includes Germany’s Hitler, a pro-Nazi biography of Hitler. That LC favor fascist movements is demonstrated by the inclusion of texts by British Union of Fascists leader Oswald Mosley and Romanian Iron Guard founder Corneliu Codreanu on their reading list.

Legio Christi on YouTube tells followers to “Remove ZOG”. “ZOG” is short for “Zionist Occupation Government”, a white supremacist conspiracy theory.

LC claim to stand for “Faith, Family, and Folk”, with “Folk” in this context being a euphemism for race. The organization propagates themes common to the white nationalist movement, for example the idea that white Boers in South Africa are facing “genocide”, and that “diversity” is to blame for terrorism. However, LC pushes homophobia and hatred of Jewish people to the foreground in its public materials. LC devote an entire section of their website to anti-gay and anti-trans propaganda, which far exceeds Catholic and Orthodox doctrine in its viciousness. LC’s reading list includes antisemitic propaganda by neo-Nazi and former Klansman David Duke. A thread on the LC forum pushes Holocaust-denial memes. Further, a LC broadcast on YouTube calls on supporters to “Remove ZOG”, short for “Zionist Occupation Government” – this term originated in white supremacist movements and contends that the United States government is controlled by a Jewish conspiracy.

Arieana Love, using the name “Katherine Ludwig” on Goodreads, is part of closed online group exclusively for “Legio Christi members”.

Arieana Love’s membership in Legio Christi can be verified by her inclusion in a closed online group on the Goodreads website, which is exclusive to “Legio Christi members”. Love’s profile on Goodreads currently uses the alias “Katherine Ludwig”. However, online archives reveal that the account used to be in Love’s actual name, including a profile picture of her face. Clicking on “Arieana Love” from these archived results directs one to the account currently configured as “Katherine Ludwig”. According to her Goodreads profile, Love is currently reading Hitler’s Revolution – a pro-Nazi, historical revisionist book written by Richard Tedor, a former member of the National Socialist Party of Americaat the suggestion of her boyfriend Ryan Burchfield. According to Love, Burchfield provided her with a book list.

Image from Arieana Love’s account as “Katherine Ludwig” includes man in Nazi uniform and “It’s Okay to be White” slogan pushed by white nationalists

On Facebook, Arieana Love maintains an account as “Katherine Ludwig” as well as one in her own name. The Katherine Ludwig account is connected to several other Savannah-area far-Right figures such as self-described Falangist and admirer of Spanish dictator Franco, James Sheffield, as well as white nationalist James Michael Gallagher. The account is also friends with members of Legio Christi, as well as many other far-Right accounts including racist heathen/Georgia National Guard member Dalton Woodward. The “Katherine Ludwig” account likes pages dedicated to the Wehrmacht, the armed forces of Nazi Germany. It also likes the fascist “Revolt Against the Modern World” propaganda page and “Erase Cultural Marxism”, which propagates an antisemitic conspiracy theory that has inspired terrorism.

Arieana Love “likes” picture of white nationalist Trent East shooting while wearing ski mask. Photo seems to have been taken at weapons training with Love’s boyfriend Ryan Burchfield.

While Arieana Love appears to have created the “Katherine Ludwig” account to keep her most obvious ties to white nationalism hidden from others, she still uses her Facebook account in her own name to keep in touch with far-Right associates. When white nationalist/Haralson County jailer Trent East posted a picture of himself engaging in weapons training while wearing a ski mask, Arieana Love “liked” this image using the Facebook account in her own name. As we will discuss, Love’s boyfriend, neo-Nazi Matthew Ryan Burchfield, appears to have taken part in this racist paramilitary training alongside East.

Ryan Burchfield

According to his Instagram account, Matthew Ryan Burchfield is “future 11bangbang” – military slang for 11B, or infantryman. While at high school in Virginia Beach, Burchfield was part of the Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps. His grandparents described him as “Cadet Ryan Burchfield” in one 2016 online post. Burchfield moved to Savannah, Georgia last year. In his introductory post on the Fascist Forge forum – more about this forum later – Burchfield states that he is “currently learning in the medical field”. It is unknown where or if Burchfield is presently enlisted in the military, although Burchfield follows a number of military accounts on Instagram. It does not appear that Burchfield is active duty at the time of writing.

Ryan Burchfield (left) poses with white nationalist Trent East, photo posted on East’s Instagram account early March 2019

Neo-Nazi Satanist Corwyn Carver, who is connected to Burchfield, grew up in Chesapeake, Virginina, approximately half an hour away from Virginia Beach. This may explain Burchfield’s seeming close ties to Carver. For a while, Burchfield used the name “Ryan Torni” on Facebook. Atomwaffen Division neo-Nazi Corwyn Storm Carver is “Sturm Torni” on Facebook. Burchfield and Carver sharing the same last name in their online aliases, suggests a strong bond between these neo-Nazis.

This December 2018 Facebook post refers to Burchfield as “Ryan Torni”.

Last month, after we exposed Burchfield’s associate Trent East, Burchfield deleted or deactivated his main two Facebook accounts. The first account, under the name “Matthew Burchfield”, seems to have also been “Ryan Torni” at an earlier date. The second Facebook account, as “Georg Ludwig”, was linked to Arieana Love’s “Katherine Ludwig” white nationalist account. We have retrieved one image from the “Georg Ludwig” account, which shows Burchfield with a semi-automatic rifle, with his face partially obscured by a bandana. Burchfield’s attire and his weapon are the same as in another photo from December 2018, showing Trent East and Burchfield together for paramilitary training. We will discuss this other photo later.

Photo posted by “Georg Ludwig” account in December 2018 shows Ryan Burchfield with face partially covered by bandana

In early May of this year, a 2018 photograph of Burchfield wearing a skull mask disappeared from Burchfield’s main Instagram account. We archived the image before it vanished. The skull mask was adopted as a symbol by Iron March, the now-defunct “global fascist fraternity” which spawned the murderous Atomwaffen Division as well as American Vanguard/Vanguard America, and whose slogan was “Gas the k[*]kes, race war now.” As well as following many US military accounts, Burchfield’s main Instagram account also follows a clearly neo-Nazi account under the name “Lombard1488”. The profile picture for “Lombard1488” also features a skull mask and offers a quote by Joseph Tommasi, an American neo-Nazi who advocated for armed struggle against “the system”. Tommasi is a major ideological inspiration for modern American neo-Nazis who embrace terror tactics, such as Atomwaffen Division.

Ryan Burchfield posted this photo of himself wearing a skull mask in May 2018. At the start of May 2019, the image vanished from Burchfield’s main Instagram account.

Burchfield’s account on Goodreads shows that he is currently reading Making the Corps, a non-fiction book following a Platoon through United States Marine Corps boot camp. Burchfield’s Goodreads account is predictably linked to the “Katherine Ludwig” one for Arieana Love. Burchfield also follows the profile for Dalton Woodward, a white nationalist Georgia National Guard member and close associate of Trent East.

Trent East (L) and Ryan Burchfield (R), picture posted to East’s “Lincoln Baines” account, December 2018

As we revealed in another piece just published on our website, Haralson County jailer/Alabama National Guardsman Trent East – who we first exposed as a white nationalist last month – maintains a separate Facebook account under the alias “Lincoln Baines”. As “Baines”, East is even more blatant about his racism and neo-Nazi affinities. As “Baines”, Trent East published a photo of himself shooting while wearing a ski mask, which we mentioned earlier as being “liked” by Arieana Love. In another picture seemingly from the same day published by “Baines”, Trent East and Ryan Burchfield stand together. Both hold semi-automatic rifles and wear camouflage jackets. East wears a ski mask and Burchfield partially obscures his face with a bandana. The overall appearance is of paramilitary training.
In the photo, Burchfield raises his index finger. This gesture, originally signifying the oneness of God (Tawhid) in Islam, has been appropriated by Daesh/ISIS. From there, the gesture has been appropriated yet again, this time by neo-Nazis. By using this gesture, Burchfield is associating himself with the furthest extremes of neo-Nazism.

Profile picture for user “Alpers” on Fascist Forge website (enlarged)

In late April, Matthew Ryan Burchfield registered on the neo-Nazi website Fascist Forge under the name “Alpers”. Burchfield has previously used the handle “Alpers” on the Steam platform for gamers. The profile image used by “Alpers” could be from Burchfield’s paramilitary session with Trent East, since Burchfield’s attire and his weapon seem the same. The image also features a Schwarze Sonne/Black Sun symbol, used by white nationalists and neo-Nazis. 

Image used by Ryan Burchfield as a background for his “Alpers” profile on Fascist Forge

Fascist Forge is modeled after Iron March, a site which served as an incubator for militant fascist and neo-Nazi groups before it went offline in late 2017. The Fascist Forge site aims to recruit, to radicalize, and to facilitate the formation of networks and local groups. Members must pass an exam on the group’s extreme-Right doctrine before accessing the site’s core. Fascist Forge’s members aim for a breakdown of what they see as “the system” – a process which they hope to accelerate with terror attacks. The site shares manuals on guerilla warfare.

Ryan Burchfield’s introductory post on Fascist Forge

While Burchfield has not yet progressed into the inner layer of Fascist Forge, it is clear that he is already well-acquainted with the neo-Nazi underground. In his introductory post, Burchfield/”Alpers” states that he was introduced to the site “through my comrade Lombard” – almost certainly the same person as “Lombard1488”, connected to Ryan Burchfield on Instagram. Burchfield’s “Alpers” account states that he is a “National Socialist” and that religiously he is an “Esoteric Hitlerite”. Esoteric Hitlerism, also known as Esoteric Nazism, frames neo-Nazism in mystical terms. Responding to Burchfield’s introductory post, Fascist Forge user “Italo” vouches for “Alpers”, stating that he is “a good mate whom I’ve spoke with”. User “Italo” is responsible for sharing materials such as an “Al Qaeda Terrorism Manual” and US Army field manuals on the Fascist Forge site.

Conclusion

With this article, we have exposed two active white nationalists in the Savannah, Georgia area. Arieana Love is active in the far-Right antisemitic Legio Christi organization. Love also studies pre-Medicine at Georgia Southern University and is connected to the Georgia National Guard. Her boyfriend, Ryan Burchfield, claims to be “learning in the medical field” and is either currently enlisted in the military or intends to enlist. Burchfield is a radical neo-Nazi, for whom Hitler is a religion. Burchfield has participated in weapons training with Haralson County Deputy Sheriff/Alabama National Guard member Trent East. Burchfield has also signed up on the Fascist Forge website, which encourages neo-Nazi terrorism, and is seemingly also close to Atomwaffen Division ideologue Corwyn Carver

White nationalists Love and Burchfield may be a danger to those around them, especially given their military connections. Please share this documentation widely in the Savannah, Georgia community, and get in touch if you have further information on white supremacists operating in our region.