Our Afghan Fighting Position
March 29 | 2012
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Arizona state Sen. Janae Shamp has promoted antisemitic influencers on her Facebook page. Her sources include a neo-Nazi who previously said he wants a picture of Adolf Hitler in “every classroom”; a Gab user who urged readers to “Fight the Jews on Every Single Issue”; a QAnon influencer who dreamed of the day that Jewish people would be “gone”; and a neo-Nazi radio host who served a prison sentence for issuing violent threats.
In addition to her repeated promotion of antisemites, Shamp has also forwarded QAnon propaganda dozens of times, which Media Matters reported on earlier this week. QAnon itself is steeped in antisemitism. Shamp has notresponded to reporters’ questions for comment about her QAnon activity, but she has taken down some of her posts.
Shamp has also compared people who oppose the COVID-19 vaccine to victims of the Holocaust. In one instance, Shamp shared an image of the Jewish badge with the word “unvaccinated” written over it.
She also posted an image comparing the treatment of the unvaccinated to laws targeting Jewish people in Nazi Germany.
Shamp’s sharing of bigoted accounts is part of a larger pattern of Republicans who have promoted antisemitic media figures and outlets. Those officials include fellow Arizona politicians Rep. Paul Gosar and state Sen. Wendy Rogers. Both of them, along with former President Donald Trump, endorsed Shamp's campaign.
The following are numerous examples of Shamp promoting the accounts of antisemites.
Shamp shared an anti-George Soros post that was credited as “Via Gab - @RealBlairCottrell.” (The writing was originally posted on a QAnon-themed Telegram account.) Blair Cottrell is a pro-violence neo-Nazi who has written of Hitler: “There should be a picture of this man in every classroom and every school, and his book should be issued to every student annually." He has also said, “The Jews are as small physically as they are degenerate in character,” and claimed that Jewish people "infiltrate and subvert entire generations of other nations in a bid for world power.”
The Gab account Shamp directed people to includes Cottrell praising Hitler and his National Socialist German Workers' Party (also known as the Nazi Party). He wrote: “The reason nobody will recreate National Socialism any time soon is because the NSDAP was built from the ground up by a decorated war veteran and thousands of high-stock, stoic German soldiers, frustrated and forced into political action by Germany’s terrible conditions following her defeat in the First World War. … Personally, I don’t even feel like I have the right to call myself a National Socialist. I work hard and am in good condition, however I don’t live morally enough yet.”
Gab itself is a haven for antisemites, neo-Nazis, and white nationalists. It is run by Andrew Torba, who has repeatedly made antisemitic remarks.
Shamp shared a COVID-19 conspiracy theory article on the website of white supremacist radio host Hal Turner. The Southern Poverty Law Center wrote:
On his radio show, Turner has ranted about “bull-dyke lesbians,” “savage Negro beasts,” “f------,” and even joked about a “portable n----- lyncher” machine. He has a nasty history of threatening political enemies, saying that they deserve to be killed and posting their addresses online. That practice caught up to him in August 2010, when he was convicted of threatening to assault and murder three federal judges.
The SPLC also documented Turner’s history of antisemitism. Publications including The New York Times and NPR have described him as a neo-Nazi.
Shamp shared election denial content credited to QAnon influencer InevitableET. Vice News wrote that InevitableET (real name Craig Longley) is “a leading and hugely antisemitic voice in the Q community.” The publication reported that he has imagined “the day Trump would leave the White House, suggesting that all Jews would be ‘gone,’ using the antisemitic three brackets ‘echo’ symbol to identify Jewish people. … He has taken part in the ‘Blue the Jew’ movement, where anti-Semites Photoshop images of Jewish people blue, a technique developed on fringe websites to use visual clues to disseminate hateful antisemitic messages while avoiding triggering mainstream platforms’ hate speech rules.” Vice added that Longley promoted the virulently antisemitic text The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Shamp shared a tweet from a now-suspended Twitter account named “wxgroyper” that pushed the conspiracy theory that Alabama reporter Christopher Sign’s death was related to the Clintons. The Institute for Strategic Dialogue defines groypers as “a loose network of white nationalist activists and internet trolls who gravitate around several key online influencers. Their goal is to push and normalize white nationalist ideas within mainstream conservatism.” Holocaust denier and antisemite Nick Fuentes is a leader of the groypermovement, which pushes antisemitism.
Shamp shared a quote from QAnon influencer Jordan Sather, who has a history of antisemitism. He has written: “What is the real virus plaguing our world?” He then wrote the echo symbol that’s been used by antisemites to symbolize Jewish people: “(((Them))).”
Shamp shared a conspiracy theory post from the obscure and virulently antisemitic Gab account Wyatt, Austere Deplorable. That account, which also supports QAnon, had previously posted antisemitic remarks:
Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.
Lice so severe that even kerosene couldn’t kill them. Shoeless feet padding aimlessly. Gross malnourishment.
That’s how people described the Yellow Hammers, a semi-isolated colony of the ostracized and downtrodden in Illinois that developed during the Reconstruction Era.
The history of the Yellow Hammers is murky. As the legend goes, a Colonel Brodie of the Civil War — it doesn’t include a first name — came home to Alabama, the Yellowhammer State, and relocated to Wilmington, Illinois where he purchased several acres of wooded land and invited anyone from his home state to come live on it, creating essentially an encampment people called “Brodie’s Woods.” Those people who relocated to Wilmington from Alabama were impoverished, almost permanently, and made pariahs in the community as they huddled on Brodie’s land.
The pariahs’ poverty prevented those among them who were employed from purchasing their own equipment so they used company tools — when they were able to work — whose handles were painted yellow.
These stories, reported by a high school student, can’t be confirmed. First, the only nineteenth century colonel named Brodie was about 12 years old when the Civil War started. One William Brodie from Alabama fought in the Civil War but there’s no record of his being a colonel. A now defunct local Chicago newspaper, the Surburbanite Economist, reported in 1970 that an area of Wilmington, Illinois was known as Brodie’s Woods, but that’s one of very few verifiable mentions of the area.
The more likely story of the root of Yellowhammer is that a cavalry of soldiers from Huntsville went to Kentucky during the Civil War to aid Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest’s — history will call him both a Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and an innovative warrior — Company A of the Confederate Army. They wore new sharp gray uniforms adorned with brilliant yellow trim. A Confederate soldier in tatters said they looked like the bird the yellowhammer, a type of woodpecker, which was made Alabama’s state bird in 1927. The Yellowhammers ended up becoming valuable team members; they supported several of Gen. Forrest’s victories, one of which frustrated Gen. Ulysses Grant’s Vicksburg Campaign.
That the history of the Yellow Hammers is so hard to pin down says quite a bit about the state today; tracing what really happens proves difficult. Even though Alabama media tries to cover events inside the prisons, the state of news in 2023 dictates that coverage isn’t as complete as anyone would like.
Just as the history of the Yellowhammers is unclear, the view into Alabama’s prisons is muddied by the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) and its commitment to opacity. The officials who run that system do not like looksies. Early this year, ADOC stopped releasing the number of in-custody deaths on a monthly basis, ostensibly because there were so many that they either couldn’t keep up or didn’t want to be embarrassed by their inability to protect the state's wards.
Nevertheless, the reports of carnage that keep dripping out — two men were murdered on May 15, 2023, an additional pair added to a list of over 60 since January 1, 2023 — have contributed to a narrative that men and women in Alabama prison are incorrigible, even feral, when all they’re doing is adapting to the environment that the state has established for them.
The truth is that a good number of them are quite high-minded. When they staged a strike last fall, they didn’t even protest the squalid conditions they live in, which happen to be deplorable. Instead they sought policy reform on sentencing and parole which will ultimately benefit people beyond them.
Their strike demands were imminently reasonable, despite Gov. Kay Ivey’s disagreement. But the demands were really only part of the story of the strike. My sources tell me that — under the guidance of some dedicated leaders who I won’t name now — rival gangs and sworn enemies convened in good faith to hammer out what they needed to ask for. In that respect, they’re behaving better than many of us on the outside if they can display that type of comity. They came together despite the fact that they worry every day — along with family and friends — that they’ll be killed or starved. They’re fighting back non-violently. Bravely.
And even effectively. Because of the strike demands, lawmakers introduced two bills poised to pass the Alabama legislature. First is a bill that would mandate the right to attend one’s own parole hearings by video (they can’t attend these crucial proceedings now) and second is a bill that would allow people serving life sentences to petition to have their punishment reduced. Most prison work stoppages achieve nothing. This group of men and women convinced people to listen and act. Do not count these people out.
That doesn’t mean the wind is under their yellowhammer wings. Gov. Ivey just signed a bill into law that reforms the so-called “good time” statute by making it harder to earn time off one’s sentence because ADOC failed to take the good time of someone who attempted escape. Their resilience doesn’t mean they’re safe now or being treated justly. It’s just the opposite.
Alabama’s prison population reflects a lot of their yellowhammer history. Like woodpeckers, they’re tenacious fighters. Much like the Yellowhammer Cavalry in 1862, they're nimble, capable of putting up a few wins, but then ultimately forgotten.
And they aren't living much differently than Brodie’s Yellow Hammers. Some aren’t supplied shoes and therefore aren’t allowed in the chow hall. As I have reported before, the ADOC intentionally starves them when they assert their rights. They wander, often squatting in dorms where they’re not assigned because they want to avoid being raped. The violence doesn’t cease; I hear reports of outright beatings that all too often result in lost “good time” but no medical treatment. And they huddle, displaced and ostracized, in one of Alabama’s 15 state-sanctioned colonies of fear and panic.
But unlike the legend of Brodie’s Woods, these tales are true and verifiable. There’s no fiction here. It’s traceable. It tracks, all too well.
That’s why today The National Memo announces an unflinching series that goes inside Alabama’s criminal legal crisis: the Yellowhammer Files. We’re going to trace and track data and stories until something changes. Check these files as they are published and you will be stunned by what you read.
Chandra Bozelko served more than six years in a maximum-security facility in Connecticut. While inside she became the first incarcerated person with a regular byline in a publication outside of the facility. Her “Prison Diaries" column ran in The New Haven Independent. Her work has earned several professional awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Los Angeles Press Club, The National Federation of Press Women and more.Her columns now appear regularly in The National Memo.