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The Daily Stormer

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The Daily Stormer
The Daily Stormer logo
Type of site
Neo-Nazi news and commentary
Available in English and Spanish
Editor Andrew Anglin
Website dailystormer.red As of 3 December 2017[1]
Commercial No
Registration Required to comment
Launched July 4, 2013; 4 years ago (2013-07-04)

The Daily Stormer is an American neo-Nazi and white supremacist news and commentary website.[2][3] It considers itself a part of the alt-right movement.[4] Its editor, Andrew Anglin, founded it on July 4, 2013 as a faster-paced replacement for his previous website Total Fascism.

The site is known for its use of Internet memes, which have been likened to the imageboard 4chan and cited as attractions for a younger and more ideologically diverse audience.[5] While some white nationalist authors have praised The Daily Stormer's reach, others have taken issue with its content and tone, accusing Anglin of being an agent provocateur, used to discredit true white nationalism.[6]

The Daily Stormer orchestrates what it calls the "Troll Army", which is involved in Internet trolling of figures with whom Anglin disagrees politically. In August 2017, after causing outrage by insulting the victim of a ramming homicide at a far-right rally, the website was rejected by several domain registrars and moved to the dark web.

Management

Andrew Anglin

Andrew Anglin was born on July 27, 1984, and grew up near Columbus, Ohio.[7][8] According to both Anglin and his childhood classmates, he was liberal as a youth.[8][9] He attended the Linworth Alternative Program and the Worthington Christian High School from 1999 to 2003, where he was remembered as a dreadlocked vegan.[10] His friends in high school report that his behavior changed during his sophomore year at Linworth, where he exhibited self-harming behavior, and began promoting conspiracy theories.[8] After high school, Anglin took classes at Columbus State Community College in 2003, and studied English at Ohio State University for one semester in 2004.[8][10]

In 2006 Anglin launched a conspiracy theory website, Outlaw Journalism, which was modeled after the works of Alex Jones and Hunter S. Thompson, whom Anglin admired.[8]

In 2008, Anglin began traveling around Southeast Asia, eventually ending up in Davao City, in the Philippines. In 2011, he spent several weeks with a Tboli village in southern Mindanao, where he initially intended to stay permanently, selling some of his possessions to raise money for a dowry to marry two local Muslim women.[8] In 2012, Anglin wrote that he found the locals to be "a civilized, non-aggressive and industrious people" but he eventually came to consider them too "primitive", became lonely and only wanted to associate with members of his own race, and "By the Grace of God, I found Adolf Hitler".[10]

In 2012, Anglin launched another website, Adventure Quest 2012, which discussed conspiracy theories such as the existence of reptilian humanoids. He described the aim of the site as seeking to "mend the wounds produced by modern society ... and [help] the reader transcend these physical bonds and reach total ascendancy. To mend these wounds, the world must learn to embrace diversity and color."[10] In 2014, he stated that although he agreed with the central tenets of Nazism, he had reservations over reintroducing all aspects of Hitler's regime.[9] A self-proclaimed "troll", Anglin stated that he was introduced to Nazism on 4chan.[11] Later in 2012, he launched his first neo-Nazi website, Total Fascism.[9] Feeling that Total Fascism was not appealing to a younger demographic and had articles that were too long, Anglin launched The Daily Stormer on July 4, 2013, with shorter articles and a more provocative style.[9] Anglin said in March 2014 he spends 70 hours a week writing for the website.[9]

Anglin's location is not known. An investigative article by The Huffington Post in November 2016 analyzed his social media and FBI sources, and concluded that he was living in Germany. Rumors have also claimed that he is residing in Russia.[10] In July 2017, Anglin told CNN he was residing in Lagos, Nigeria.[12] The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) lists the site as being headquartered in Worthington, Ohio, with activity in several other states.[13][14] The website is registered in the name of Anglin's father Greg, who runs a Christian-inspired counseling service in Worthington.[15]

Finances

The Daily Stormer is primarily funded through donations which Anglin solicits regularly from site visitors.[15] His father was protested against by Anti-Racist Action for receiving donations from the site's readers to pass on to his son.[10] In February 2017, the website announced a corporate sponsor—Smerff Electrical, owned by Simon Hickey of Brisbane, Australia,[10] whose website contains images of alt-right meme Pepe the Frog.[16] Anglin told Mother Jones that he received donations from Silicon Valley, and that Santa Clara County, California—home of Apple Inc. and Intel—was the largest source of traffic to his website.[17]

The site is believed to have received over $200,000 in Bitcoin contributions since it began accepting the cryptocurrency in 2014.[18] A current cryptocurrency wallet has consistently kept approximately $80,000 in Bitcoin on hand.[19][20] Money entering and being spent by the accounts is publicly tracked by a Twitter bot.[21] A Twitter account for the Stormer announced that Coinbase was deleting accounts of persons attempting to send Bitcoin to them;[18] Coinbase stated in general terms that it "prohibits use of an account which would abuse, harass, threaten, or promote violence against others".[22]

Content and reception

Black and white historical photograph of several men, some with Nazi armbands, reading a newspaper billboard.
The Daily Stormer is named for the Nazi tabloid Der Stürmer, known for its antisemitic caricatures. This 1934 billboard for Der Stürmer reads "With Der Stürmer against Judea. The Jews are our misfortune".

The Daily Stormer takes its name from the Nazi Party's tabloid newspaper Der Stürmer,[2][23] known for its virulently antisemitic caricatures of Jews.[24] Its publisher, Julius Streicher, was executed after the Second World War for crimes against humanity.[24]

Anglin asserts that the purpose of The Daily Stormer is to provide "a means to propagandize people … to get them to look at the world in a certain way".[9] Headlines include "All Intelligent People in History Disliked Jews", and "Adolf Hitler: The Most Lied About Man of All Time".[15] The site bills itself as "America's #1 Most-Trusted Republican News Source".[25] According to The Jewish Chronicle, The Daily Stormer "posts hundreds of racist articles targeting black people, Arabs and Jews".[26] The website offers pro-separatist coverage of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, which Anglin considers "the correct moral position".[9] The SPLC described the site as "the newest up and comer in the heated competition to rule the hate web", which "has in the last six months [up to March 2015] often topped the oldest and largest hate site on the web, Stormfront, in terms of reach and page views, based on Alexa data".[15] Anglin claimed in May 2016 that the website's traffic had doubled over the last six months, peaking at 120,000 daily visitors.[27] The website is part of the alt-right movement, and it calls itself "The World’s Most Visited Alt-Right Website". As the movement made headlines in mid-2016, "bolstered in part by the unexpected rise of Donald Trump and Britain's decision to leave the European Union", Anglin declared: "We won the meme war; now we've taken over the GOP, and we did this very, very quickly."[4] Unlike other figures such as Milo Yiannopoulos, Anglin does not play down the extremist elements in the alt-right, stating that: "The goal is to ethnically cleanse White nations of non-Whites and establish an authoritarian government. Many people also believe that the Jews should be exterminated".[28]

The SPLC stated that The Daily Stormer owed its success to the online imageboard 4chan becoming popular among racists, as both websites use similar memes and rhetorical styles.[15] One meme the website has used is to overlay photographs of Taylor Swift with anti-Semitic quotations, including those by Hitler.[29] The website puts triple parentheses around the names of Jews, a far-right meme created by fellow website The Right Stuff.[30] Jacob Siegel of The Daily Beast wrote that the website was growing in popularity amongst a younger audience due to its use of humor, and was attracting activists of other anti-political correctness ideologies—such as Gamergaters, men's rights activists and opponents of Social Justice Warriors—who would not usually identify with fascism.[5] The SPLC has also documented Anglin's involvement in and encouragement of culture jamming by making hyperbolic statements in fake online accounts as women and minorities.[29][31] He has also said that "ridiculous" statements such as "gas the kikes", if repeated in media coverage, can work to desensitize the public to the Holocaust.[29] He also believes that his extreme right-wing rhetoric can normalize less extreme right-wingers such as Trump.[32]

Portrait of a young man with long dark hair, stubble, spectacles and a white baseball cap
Hacker weev announced his conversion to Neo-Nazism on The Daily Stormer.

Hacker and Internet troll weev wrote an article on the website after his release from prison, espousing his recent conversion to Neo-Nazism and his opposition to Jews who had "abused our compassion to build an empire of wickedness the likes the world has never seen".[33] Fredrick Brennan, founder of the online community 8chan, wrote an article on The Daily Stormer encouraging eugenics, based on his own experiences of having brittle bone disease.[34] Florida-based Jewish troll Joshua Ryne Goldberg, who encouraged a 2015 attack on a free speech exhibition in Garland, Texas, under the alias of a Muslim extremist, wrote white supremacist articles for The Daily Stormer under the pseudonym Michael Slay.[35][36]

The Daily Stormer attracted media coverage when the SPLC stated that white supremacist spree killer Dylann Roof—who on June 17, 2015, shot nine African Americans to death in the Charleston church shooting—may have made several comments on the site. The SPLC found similarities between one user's comments and Roof's manifesto.[37] The Daily Beast stated that Anglin "repudiated Roof's crime and publicly disavowed violence, while endorsing many of Roof's views".[5] In October of that year, Anglin gave a positive reaction to an attempted assassination on Henriette Reker, a pro-immigration candidate to be mayor of the German city of Cologne, decrying her as a "feminist hag".[38]

In May 2017, weev set up the first non-English version of The Daily Stormer, El Daily Stormer in Spanish. It is focused on news related to white nationalism in Spain and Latin America.[39]

Support for Donald Trump

Trump speaking behind a brown wooden podium, wearing a dark blue suit and a red tie. The podium sports a blue "TRUMP" sign.
The Daily Stormer endorsed Donald Trump's presidential campaign in 2016.

Anglin officially endorsed Donald Trump for president in 2015. Anglin encouraged the website's readers to "vote for the first time in our lives for the one man who actually represents our interests".[40] The website also received national and international coverage for its endorsement of Trump's proposal of a temporary moratorium on admitting foreign Muslims into the country; it proclaimed "Heil Donald Trump – The Ultimate Savior".[41][42] According to the SPLC, white supremacist endorsement of Trump is unprecedented, as the movement is generally skeptical of all politicians.[43] In July 2016, Andrew Anglin and The Daily Stormer were mentioned by Lacy Clay, Democratic Representative from Missouri, as he asked in a congressional hearing whether FBI director James Comey was aware of Trump sharing Twitter posts by white supremacists.[44] Anglin wrote in July 2016 that he believed that Trump was a pragmatic anti-Semite who praised Israel to win votes from evangelical Christians, while dropping subtle hints about purported Jewish domination of rival Hillary Clinton's campaign.[43] The Huffington Post journalist Jessica Schulberg compared how white nationalists like Anglin and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke believed Trump to be representative of their ethnic interests, while at the same time several Jews believed him to be representative of theirs.[27]

In The Daily Telegraph, Trump supporter Crystal Wright wrote that the candidate needed to separate himself from white nationalists such as The Daily Stormer, who were endorsing him ahead of other politicians they deemed "cuckservatives" for holding more liberal positions.[40] Writing for The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf theorized that modern academia's focus on race rather than "color-blind" individualism was causing divisions and allowing white nationalist sites such as The Daily Stormer to gain an audience, and therefore become a "tiny but nevertheless alarming portion" of Trump's support.[45] Al Jazeera writer Malcolm Harris analyzed the endorsement and predicted that a Trump presidency would strengthen organized racist groups and lead to civil war.[46]

After Trump won the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Anglin called on the site's readers to use non-violent intimidation to make "brown people" feel unwelcome in America,[47] and to goad disappointed supporters of Clinton into committing suicide.[48]

In response to the bombing of the Syrian government's Shayrat Airbase in 2017, The Daily Stormer was one of several alt-right outlets that criticized Trump. While Anglin alleged the president could be under control of a purportedly Jewish deep state, weev said in a video on the website that he retained faith in Trump from his past actions.[49]

Reaction from white nationalists

Photographic portrait of a smiling man outside
Jared Taylor criticized the tone of The Daily Stormer.

White nationalist websites such as Stormfront and Counter-Currents have taken issue with what they see as lowbrow coverage on The Daily Stormer, as well as Anglin's defense of Christianity and denunciation of the white supremacist group Christian Identity.[15] Kyle Rogers of the Council of Conservative Citizens has also criticized the website for reprinting its material.[15] Anglin has also been criticized for his relationships with non-white women in the Philippines, and for his insults towards white women on his website.[10]

Colin Liddell of AlternativeRight.com has criticized Anglin's beliefs and tone. Liddell, who believes that stopping migration and encouraging higher birthrates is more important for preserving the white race, condemned Anglin for writing that it was impossible for the race to survive without adopting his views on Jews, Hitler and the Holocaust.[6] Liddell considered that Anglin was attracting poor whites with his provocative online persona in the same manner as monster trucks and professional wrestling, writing that "it is hard not to conclude that Anglin is a paid shill and agent provocateur, whose purpose is simply to infest and discredit White nationalism".[3] Jared Taylor of American Renaissance criticized The Daily Stormer's "extremely harsh, dismissive and insulting tone toward blacks", which he called unhelpful.[3]

Others, such as the Traditionalist Youth Network, have praised The Daily Stormer for its reach and influence.[15] Anglin's extreme tone has led some white nationalists to suspect that he is an undercover Jew, an accusation he finds analogous to believing that Jewish LGBT activist Allen Ginsberg was an undercover Nazi.[32]

Activities

"Troll Army"

Photographic portrait of a young woman with long dark hair
The Daily Stormer targeted Luciana Berger, a British politician, through a trolling campaign.

The Daily Stormer orchestrates what it calls a "Troll Army", involved in Internet trolling.[50] It came to attention in October 2014 in a campaign against British Labour politician Luciana Berger, a Jewish Member of Parliament. A member of neo-Nazi group National Action had been sent to prison for sending her abusive messages over Twitter and The Daily Stormer encouraged its readers to send her antisemitic messages, as long as they did not promote violence.[26] It also gave out guidelines on how to limit traceability and create anonymous e-mail and Twitter accounts.[26] Berger said she received 400 abusive messages in one week.[26] The abuse was brought up in the British Parliament, where Speaker John Bercow deemed it "beneath contempt".[51] The Troll Army launched a campaign in February 2015 against Mariam Veiszadeh, an Afghan Australian Muslim activist who demanded that a T-shirt bearing the Australian flag reading "If you don't love it, leave" be withdrawn from sale at Woolworths. A woman was arrested for sending her abusive messages, and Anglin interpreted Veiszadeh's actions as curbing freedom of speech, which he believed "should be responded to with the most ridiculous conceivable hateful speech".[50]

The "Troll Army" has also attacked right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for having a Jewish wife and not being anti-Semitic.[11] In November 2015, they took part in "Operation: Kikebart", targeting conservative news website Breitbart News for opening an office in Israel. The aim was to post so much anti-Semitic content in the comments section that it would be unfeasible to moderate. Disqus, the comment platform used by websites including Breitbart, ended its service to The Daily Stormer as a result.[11] In 2016, The Daily Stormer took part in a Gamergate-related attempt to have Nintendo marketing officer Alison Rapp fired; Nintendo dismissed her and stated that it was unrelated to the controversy.[52] Later that year, the site encouraged racially abusing Julia Ioffe, a Jewish Russian journalist who had written a piece on Trump's wife, Melania in GQ magazine. Melania Trump and The Daily Stormer both found the piece too critical. Ioffe said that the abuse was unparalleled in her lifetime since leaving Russia to escape such prejudices 26 years earlier.[53] In June, users of the website revealed the personal details of Erin Schrode, a Jewish woman running for Congress in California, and sent her Holocaust-related messages.[54]

The Southern Poverty Law Center has opened a lawsuit against The Daily Stormer alleging it had invaded the privacy and caused "intentional infliction of emotional distress" upon Montana Jewish resident Tanya Gersh. The website initiated a "troll storm" in response to Gersh's alleged extortion of property belonging to the mother of white nationalist Richard B. Spencer. Gersh denies the allegations.[55][56] The site crowdfunded $152,000 in legal fees from around 2,000 contributors and hired First Amendment lawyer Marc Randazza, whose previous clients include 8chan and right-wing author Mike Cernovich.[57] The suit ran into difficulties because of Anglin's secrecy over his location.[58] In August 2017, Muslim American radio presenter Dean Obeidallah sued The Daily Stormer in an Ohio federal court. Anglin had published fake images which purported to show Obeidallah celebrating the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing.[59]

Distribution of propaganda

In 2016, The Daily Stormer and the hacker weev jointly took credit for sending copies of a racist, anti-Semitic flier to thousands of publicly accessible, Internet-connected printers throughout the country, many of them at universities. The flier urged the reader to visit the website and accompany it "in the struggle for global white supremacy".[60][61] Anglin credited weev for the printer exploit, while one of The Daily Stormer crew composed the flier's text.[62] On April 20 that year, Hitler's birthday, university printers in Germany were hacked to publish Nazi propaganda tracts including the website's name.[63] That same year, The Daily Stormer expanded its activities to establish 31 "clubs".[64]

The Daily Stormer capitalized on the popularity of the augmented reality video game Pokémon Go in mid-2016 to distribute racist flyers to children congregating in public to play the game, with Anglin explaining that "I have long thought that we needed to get pre-teens involved in the movement. At that age, you can really brainwash someone easily. Anyone who accepts Nazism at the age of 10 or 11 is going to be a Nazi for life."[32] On May 3, 2017, one day after a deadly stabbing attack at the University of Texas, racist flyers were posted across campus with the website address for The Daily Stormer, a caricature of a black person, and the line "... around blacks ... never relax!".[65]

Site hosting issues after the 2017 Unite the Right rally

Floral tributes on an empty street
Memorial for Heather Heyer at the site of her death during the Unite the Right rally. Anglin's mocking of her death led to The Daily Stormer being removed by several domain registrars.

The Daily Stormer helped organize the Unite the Right rally, a far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 11 and 12, 2017, in which a counter-protester, Heather Heyer, was killed in a vehicular ramming.[66] Weev also called for readers of The Daily Stormer to locate and attend Heyer's funeral, calling her a "fat skank".[66] Both Anglin and weev deny that Heyer died from vehicular impact, claiming instead that she was killed by a weight-related heart attack.[67]

On August 13, the website was informed by its domain registrar GoDaddy that it had violated the terms of service by mocking Heyer, and Anglin was given 24 hours to locate a new registrar for the site.[68] The next day it moved to Google which almost immediately cancelled its registration for violation of terms,[69] also terminating the website's YouTube account.[70] The following day, the website registered with Tucows, who canceled it hours later for regularly inciting violence.[71] On August 15, it was announced by weev that the site had moved to the dark web, and that it was now only accessible via Tor, while Facebook banned links to the site and Discord banned its channel.[72] On August 16, Cloudflare, the DNS provider and proxy service used to protect The Daily Stormer also terminated their service. Cloudflare had traditionally refused to terminate sites based on their content, but CEO Matthew Prince made an exception, posting a public announcement and explanation on the company blog.[73] The Daily Stormer now receives DDoS protection from a content distribution network set up in March 2017, BitMitigate. The company's founder, Nick Lim, said that he found The Daily Stormer to be "stupid" but believed in freedom of expression.[74]

On August 17, after a relocation to dailystormer.ru, the Russian media watchdog Roskomnadzor requested a shutdown of the domain.[75] The Daily Stormer briefly returned to the clearnet with a .lol gTLD, dailystormer.lol, administered by Namecheap,[76][77] but after two days, Namecheap canceled the domain.[78] The company's CEO Richard Kirkendall stated that "the quality and context of the material, paired with the support for violent groups and causes passes from protected free speech into incitement", specifically quoting one published statement from The Daily Stormer: "It doesn't take a Ph.D. in mathematics to understand that White men + pride + organization = Jews being stuffed into ovens."[79][80]

The site returned to the web as punishedstormer.com on August 24, hosted by DreamHost, whose other far-right clients include National Vanguard and the Northwest Front. Denial-of-service attacks from Anonymous caused intermittent outages for all of DreamHost's sites, including those unconnected to white supremacist ideology.[81] Within hours of the attack, DreamHost canceled the site's accounts for violating its terms of service, saying the host had already kicked-off the site years previously and was exploiting an automated sign-up process.[82] Days later, The Daily Stormer was available under an Albanian .al ccTLD, dailystormer.al.[83] Within four days, it was removed by registrar Host.al for breaking their content rules.[84] In September, The Daily Stormer was briefly registered with a .at address from Austria, but this was removed by registrar nic.at when local politicians complained.[85] Later that month, it reappeared on a .is domain from Iceland, a country known for its freedom of speech; Anglin said that the recent collapse of the Nordic island's government meant that politicians would be distracted from affairs related to his website.[24] Before the end of September, ISNIC pulled The Daily Stormer because Anglin refused its standard condition of disclosing his address, fearing that the information would be passed to law agencies.[86] From September 21 to October 6, The Daily Stormer was hosted on a .cat domain, exclusively reserved for websites promoting Catalan language and culture. It exploited weakened filters after the Spanish government raided the offices of registrar Fundació puntCAT amidst a political crisis, and published several pieces in support of Catalan independence.[87][88] In November 2017, The Daily Stormer was registered with a .hk domain from Hong Kong,[89] which was revoked before the end of the month.[90]

Reaction

The domain blocking by Internet providers has raised questions on the implication of getting domain registrants to police the Internet, and the implications thereof.[91][92][93][94] The August 21 cancellation of The Rebel Media's registration on 24 hours notice was compared to that of The Daily Stormer, as both had provided coverage sympathetic to Charlottesville protesters.[95]

The Electronic Frontier Foundation acknowledged that the companies were within their legal rights to terminate their contracts with The Daily Stormer, but that the move set a dangerous precedent in which other political views including left-wing ones could be denied legal protection.[96][97] Several news outlets also published editorials discussing the free speech implications of the move.[98][99][100][101]

As of August 17, The Daily Stormer had returned to the dark web on the Tor network. This prompted an announcement from the Tor project team that they were "disgusted" by the website—but that they were powerless to intervene.[102][103] Vice News noted that Stormfront remained a client of Cloudflare; also (as echoed in commentary from a new blog by Andrew Anglin[104]) that GoDaddy remains a registrar for Celeb Jihad, which features leaked or hacked sexual videos of celebrities.[105] The next day Stormfront's domain name was seized by Network Solutions, enforcing terms of service against "bigotry, discrimination or hatred". Prompted by correspondence from the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the action prevented the site, which had operated for 20 years, from reemerging under a different registrar.[106]

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