8/10/2020: update on Matt Gurtler and Marjorie Taylor Greene here.
As this report was being prepared for publication Thursday evening, far-Right militiaman and 9th Congressional District candidate Michael Boggus released a video on Facebook, stating that he is the new State Director for American Patriots USA. Since neo-Nazi Chester Doles and the white supremacists around Doles remain in the organization, we assume this is a shell game.
Summary: American Patriots USA (APUSA) was formed last year in north Georgia by Chester Doles, a longtime neo-Nazi. As documented in this and earlierreports, the organization is a thinly disguised front group for white supremacists. APUSA has spent the last few months building a broader front of “constitutionalist” Republican candidates, including several people of color, which it uses to mask its agenda. The white power organization even hosted a current State House Representative, Matthew Gurtler, at their March meeting. We document APUSA’s “Trojan horse” effort and highlight the complicity of GOP candidates and networks in normalizing white supremacist organizing.
Paul L. Townsend, a resident of LaFayette in north Georgia, born in 1964, is an active member of the League of the South (LoS), a white supremacist and Southern secessionist organization. Townsend attended the August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia with the LoS contingent that was at the forefront of violence that day. Following the Charlottesville rally – in which one counter-protester was murdered and dozens more injured – Townsend stated that he was “proud that I participated in the Charlottesville rally” which he “knew […] would be epic.”
Townsend set up a profile on the Russian social networking site VKontakte (VK) the month before 2017’s “Unite the Right”. On VK, he is connected to many LoS members and other white supremacists. Townsend posted a photo of his younger self in camouflage fatigues in a desert environment, suggesting that decades ago he was in the US military.
Update: We have received final confirmation that Amanda Sproul currently works at the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center in Dublin, Georgia.
Summary: The Right Voice is a white power podcast operating since mid-2015. It continues the efforts of an earlier white nationalist project, The White Voice. Its hosts also operated a web of racist and far-Right propaganda pages on Facebook, some that had over ten thousand followers and reached far more. The Right Voice host Chris Burnham of Loudoun County, Virginia, is originally from the UK and fancies himself as an anti-leftist secret agent. His co-host, Amanda Sproul of Dublin, Georgia, is a longtime employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs who works at a VA Medical Center.
Launched in mid-2015, The Right Voice (TRV) podcast is a white nationalist and antisemitic podcast which has lasted for over 160 episodes. During this run, the show has aimed to broadcast once a week, as the lives of hosts “Chris” and “Marie” allow – which in practice means gaps. Casting itself as a voice of unity in the white nationalist scene, TRV has hosted everyone from Klansmen and explicit neo-Nazis to Alt-Right figures and even a few wannabe intellectuals and mainstreamers. Over the years, TRV has hosted such guests as Alt-Right figurehead Richard Spencer; notorious antisemite and neo-NaziDavid Duke; National Socialist Movement organizer Harry Hughes; and Susan Yarbrough, the widow of Gary Yarbrough, who was a participant in The Silent Brotherhood terror group in the 1980s. Last year, TRV twice hosted north Georgia racist organizer Chester Doles as a guest, the first time before Doles’ September far-Right rally in Dahlonega, and a second time to recap events afterward. The most recent episode of The Right Voice kicks off with “Chris” shouting for “y*ds” to “get in the oven” and addresses the COVID-19 pandemic through a typical white supremacist lens, using the crisis to advance racist and antisemitic conspiracy theories. For example, “Marie” promotes the idea that Jewish people have been hoarding ventilators in New York City.
TRV’s name is a reference to an earlier white nationalist podcast, The White Voice, which both TRV hosts were involved with. The White Voice ran from its first episode in May 2011 to its hundredth episode in April 2015, with its site shuttering soon after. Marie started helping The White Voice in late 2013, while Chris appears to have first contributed in early 2015, just a couple of months before The White Voice project ended. After the end of The White Voice, TRV established its website in June 2015 and had its first podcast the following month.
While TRV recruits for the white nationalist movement, it is not as successful as some competitors. TRV’s main importance is as a forum for scattered white nationalists and as a force for unity, since its hosts avoid divisive issues within the racist scene such as religion. Much of the podcast discussion revolves around tactics and movement-building. Although they have interviewed many, TRV hosts do not present themselves as leaders of the white nationalist movement. Rather, they view themselves as a small functioning part within the broader white power ecosystem. Regular listeners trade messages in a small online chat during live broadcasts, heightening the sense of racist community.
In addition to the podcast, hosts Chris and Marie had previously been involved in creating and maintaining a web of between twelve to twenty propaganda pages on Facebook, which they have repeatedly mentioned on their podcast. According to Chris, at least one of these Facebook pages had nearly thirty thousand followers – a significant propaganda operation. Several other pages allegedly passed the ten thousand mark. While we have not been able to determine all of these Facebook pages, from online comments we know TRV hosts were involved in “White Genocide Subliminals” as well as “Black Privilege”, which argued that Black people are systematically and unfairly advantaged by US society. “Marie” has been permanently banned from Facebook since mid-2017 for her incessant spreading of white power propaganda.
“Chris” and “Marie” are Chris Roland Burnham of Loudoun County, Virginia and Amanda Marie Sproul of Dublin, Georgia respectively. Burnham is originally from Britain but has been living in the United States for decades. Sproul is a longtime employee of the US Department of Veterans Affairs and may continue to work at a VA Medical Center. We discuss each in turn.
At the time of writing, the novel coronavirus pandemic is threatening untold lives. Even under a different set of rulers, a dysfunctional health system and slashed safety nets would place many in harm’s way. To add to this, the Trump regime lied and delayed when it had time, further compounding damage. Everything that we can do to protect each other – from physical distancing measures, to mutual aid networks and advocacy for those most at risk – makes a difference.
The organized far-Right is not standing by idly in this crisis. However, their positions vary from denialism and minimization, to conspiracy-mongering and even chatter about actively accelerating and worsening the situation. As an organization, Atlanta Antifascists will continue to monitor and document these far-Right responses. With the situation changing rapidly, documentation will mostly take place on our socialmedia, which we encourage you to follow.
We must stand by our neighbors and challenge scapegoating at every opportunity. In particular, the anti-Asian racism deliberately fostered by Trump – and also boosted by fascists and white nationalist groups away from the center of power – must be consistently opposed.
Supporting mutual aid projects and networks is also crucial. Food4Life is one noteworthy survival program in Atlanta. You can read about it and support it – or reach out for assistance – here. If you have funds, please also consider supporting this fundraiser for refugees impacted in Atlanta. See ItsGoingDown for a list of COVID-19 community mutual aid projects across North America.
We admire the courage shown daily by
workers at the front of this pandemic, not only hospital staff and medical
workers, but also under-valued and exploited grocery clerks, delivery people,
trash collectors, and others providing vital services. Our communities are
behind you and will fight for you.