She seems nice

Remember Riley June Williams, the 22-year-old woman under investigation for allegedly swiping a laptop from Nancy Pelosi's office during the January 6 insurrection? She supposedly wanted to pass it along to Russian intelligence, as one does, although so far she's only been charged, as investigative journalism outfit Bellingcat notes, with "violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds as well [as] aiding/abetting others to 'embezzle, steal, purloin.'" You just don't see a lot of purloining these days.

Williams denies having stolen the laptop -- we still don't know where it is, by the way -- but it's just possible she could be fibbing. Bellingcat reports:

Footage from January 6 released by ITV News shows Williams urging rioters upstairs towards Congressional offices. In one video from inside Pelosi's office, a voice that the FBI states it believes to be Williams' says "dude, put on gloves" before a gloved hand takes a laptop from a table. The [FBI] affidavit links to a thread of captured Discord posts from a user named Riley bragging, "STOLE SHITT FROM NANCY POLESI [sic]".

And thanks largely to other evidence from Williams's Very Online Life, Bellingcat has now pretty conclusively put the lie to her mother's claim in an interview that Riley June is just an ordinary, everyday Trump supporter who got caught up in the moment when she took part in the attack on the Capitol. Rather, Williams is

somebody who posted racist and Anti-Semitic content as well as filmed a video that appears openly pro-Nazi and promotes accelerationism (speeding up the collapse of society) as a pathway towards establishing a genocidal white supremacist state.

Not that any of that necessarily excludes her from running for high office as a Republican at some point in the future.


At the heart of the Bellingcat story is a video found online by an antifascist activist in November 2020. The activist sent it to Bellingcat following the Capitol attack, suspecting it might be Williams. It shows a young woman in a dress, her face covered by a skull mask and sunglasses. As she dances, a voiceover says,

"Hammer was right all along. There is no political solution. All that is left is acceleration. Heil Hitler."

"The Hammer" is the name of a neo-Nazi channel on the Telegram social media app. "Accelerationism" is the neo-Nazi belief that the collapse of US society is imminent, and should be accelerated by racist terrorism (like, say, the 2019 New Zealand mosque massacres, or the mass shootings in El Paso), so society can fall and be replaced by a white ethnostate once neo-Nazis win the ensuing race war by virtue of their Aryan superiority. Guess an invasion of the US Capitol and the attempted murder of some members of Congress might serve to start a civil war, too.

As the masked woman gives the Nazi salute, the image freezes and is overlaid with a color negative filter, and loud techno music plays. This is apparently a very big thing in far-Right social media.

Here's a copy of the video, which we'll warn you is gross and gets very LOUD at the "Heil Hitler" part.

Bellingcat notes that

This effect is a clear example of the 'fashwave' aesthetic, which gained prominence due to Atomwaffen's distinctive propaganda. Fashwave is extremely popular among Nazis and other white supremacists on Telegram.

But wait! How do they figure out that the person in the video, whose face is completely hidden, is Riley June Williams? That bit of internet sleuthing makes up most of the Bellingcat report, which matches a whole bunch of social media evidence together quite seamlessly. We won't attempt to reproduce the trail, but it involves identifying other photos of Williams wearing the same skull mask (a popular accessory with the Atomwaffen neo-Nazi group, as is the hat), and an online photo of her wearing the dress. While it's not from her account, and she's masked, the woman in that pic wears the same distinctive purple eyeglasses as Williams does in video and photos from the DC insurrection, where her face is visible. She also wore the glasses in her mug shot. In addition, details of the bedroom in the "Heil Hitler" video perfectly match those in other videos where Williams wears no mask — in one case, right down to a fast food soda cup in two separate non-Hitlery posts.

It's a pretty engaging, careful piece of detective work, which leaves little doubt Williams is in the photo, and that furthermore shows she was definitely putting a lot of vile posts on social media, like one complaining about "race mixing," and another with anti-Semitic slurs.

Bellingcat shared its findings with NBC News, which included the report in its nightly newscast Wednesday:

Williams's lawyer A.J. Kramer wouldn't confirm or deny that she's the woman in the "Heil Hitler" video, although he did tell NBC News that the video was only a joke. That's an interesting insight if he's trying to suggest it wasn't Williams. Bellingcat notes that

Kramer later followed up in an email to NBC News stating that the video was an "ironic internet joke about and against people called Wignats, who are like national socialists and who are like Nazis." The video, he added, was meant to mock such people and is opposed to their beliefs.

The term Wignat was popularized by Andrew Anglin, editor of Nazi website 'The Daily Stormer', and [white supremacist] Nick Fuentes. It is a term used mainly by Nazis and white nationalists to denigrate other Nazis and white nationalists. It is worth noting that, in order to film the "Heil Hitler" video, Riley Williams appears to have purchased sunglasses from 'The Hammer', supporting a fairly obscure Nazi accelerationist with her money.

Well sure! Probably so she could, uh, go undercover to expose Antifa, maybe.

[Bellingcat]

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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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