Sunday, May 24, 2020

Chris Saccoccia: Privileged Yellow Vester Participating in Toronto Anti-Lockdown Rallies

Multiple cities across Canada (and the world) have seen a rise in anti-lockdown protests intended to counter current lockdown procedures put in place to inhibit the spread of COVID-19. The rallies in Toronto have been some of the largest in Canada, with a few hundred people attending.

The Toronto rallies (like other rallies in Canada and elsewhere) have included members of the far-right, hate groups, and neo-Nazis. Confirmed in attendance at Toronto rallies:

Ron Banjeree, known at the rallies for promoting extreme sinophobia, neo-Nazi Paul Fromm, former/current Proud Boy Josh Chernofsky, far-right vlogger Wayne Peters, and Northern Guard's Ed Jamnisek:

The person with question marks has been identified as neo-Nazi bonehead Tomas Liko
In the last few days, we identified a previously unknown attending the rally with Paul Fromm as neo-Nazi Tomas Liko, who was interviewed by The Rebel's David Menzies.

Hamilton Yellow Vesters Justin and Rebecca Long, who are frequently sharing more bizarre Covid-19 conspiracies on social media:

Long has been a speaker at these rallies

 Far-right vlogger Derek Storie, who was present at the 2019 attack on Hamilton Pride:

Canadian Nationalist Party supporter and frequent agitator Lily, who has uploaded videos claiming to be upset more Chinese have not been killed by the virus:

 And Jack Reynolds, who regularly attends Pegida rallies, just to name a few.

One person involved with the Toronto rallies who has been a vocal supporter and has given speeches during the events has caught our attention. Going under the name 'Chris Sky' on Facebook, he was displayed with a megaphone in the lead photo on a BlogTO article and was featured in the thumbnail for videos by The Rebel. He was also interviewed by Ed the Sock where he claimed that there is no COVID-19 curve to flatten.

We mentioned Chris in a recent tweet after the Ed the Sock video came out, but we didn't go much further than a giving his Facebook activity a quick glance.
As stated in the initial tweet, 'Chris Sky' is a member of multiple far-right Facebook groups, and has promoted the racist National Citizens Alliance.
The yellow vests are known for being xenophobic and anti-Muslim.

Facts vs Feelings is Rick Boswick's YouTube channel.

Upon further investigation we found out that 'Chris Sky' is actually Chris Saccoccia, and his far-right activities go a little further than just being a member of certain Facebook groups. Chris is also the vice president for a prominent Toronto real estate developer, SkyHomes.

Saccoccia accusing another account of impersonating him 

Chris isn't the only Saccocia at SkyHomes. Art Saccoccia, a well-respected and prominent business owner who shares Chris' last name, heads the company.The relationship between the two is not clear. 

We've found him making bigoted posts in far-right Facebook groups as well as on his own wall.

Chris Saccoccia promoting the white supremacist and conspiratorial Great Replacement Theory on a Yellow Vests page
Saccoccia was an active poster in the early days of the Canadian Yellow Vest movement

Chris promoting the conspiracy theory that Muslims set fire to Notre Dame.

He doesn't just share racist and Islamophobic viewpoints, but homophobic as well
In addition to the bigotry that he's been peddling online, he's also promoted anti-vaccination, 5G conspiracies, and climate change denier content.

David Icke has been banned from YouTube and Facebook for spreading misinformation about COVID-19.
Film your hospital is a campaign started by COVID-19 deniers attempting to downplay the virus.
On top of all the misleading and bigoted things he is sharing, according to him his job is an essential service and his business never shut down.

Saccoccia's wife, Jenny, is also sharing Covid-19 conspiracies across Telegram to her 73,000 followers, and using her platform to promote her husband's political activities. Interestingly, Jenny Saccoccia's Instagram account was apolitical until the pandemic, and used largely to promote her modeling.

Jenny promoted husband Chris at the rallies

Like so many involved with the far-right Chris and Jenny Saccoccia appear to be an opportunists looking for attention and seeking power. It's unclear what kind of influence they have on the overall anti-lockdown movement in Toronto, however their reach and presumably affluent social circles, Chris Saccoccia's racism, along with spreading dangerous conspiracy theories, are concerning.

We along with other researchers will continue to monitor the 'anti-lockdown' rallies for more far-right and fascist involvement. 

Chris Saccoccia appears to be joining the right-wing grift game. According to him he wants to pursue a class action lawsuit against the government for the lockdown.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Mosque watchers have interesting friends

This has been a tough Ramadan for those observing during COVID19. Normally Muslims are praying at the mosque and breaking their fast with friends and families.  An agreement was reached that mosques can sound the Adhan (call to prayer) during Iftar (the time to break the fast). We've seen Islamophobes in response across the country surveying mosques. The reasons usually around outrage over the call to prayer during the time to break their fast in the evening or a paternal need to spy on Muslims breaking social distancing rules.

The repercussions of Damien "bacon sandwich" Maje continues.

Normal and good one, Larry

Focusing on Calgary brings us to Christian supremacist, local racist and hero to the likes of WCAI Canada, Larry Heather. Larry posted a video he recorded to his Facebook at Akram Jomma, a north east mosque. Listening to what he's saying in the video, it's clear he's just making things up to drive his narrative. Larry makes a bunch of claims that Muslim prayers of "God is greater than" actually means calling for the death of Jews and Christians. He points to cars in a parking lot across the street and says "they're coming to the call".

Larry finds the slipperiest hill to make an argument on, that if you let Muslims call to prayer once a day, they're going to do it all the time because that's what happens in established Muslim lands. Someone should remind him this isn't an established Muslim land, it's a mosque in a north east Calgary industrial park. The slippery slope is a very common and felacious argument for Islamophobes, it is to point there was an academic article written on the phenomenon.

ARC hasn't talked much about Larry, but others have done the work for us. He is a regular candidate for the mayoral election and always loses. Larry has been kicked off twitter a few times for all sorts of discrimination and at one point,  was banned from Calgary City hall for going over his alotted speaking time.

Word got out that Larry had been spying on the local Muslims and people wanted to let Larry know how they felt. Amidst the comments of angry people versus a few Larry defenders, Christy Mc tagged our bacon sandwich loving friend, Will "Damien Maje" Majeau.

Christy Mc has been a name that's popped up for the past couple of years online. Christy has made her way into a lot of far right groups online and is a regular contributor everywhere she goes. When she's not in groups posting crimes committed by people of colour, she's in groups asking if they're groypers.

According to the American Defense League:
Groypers are a loose network of alt right figures who are vocal supporters of white supremacist and “America First” podcaster Nick Fuentes.

It's always interesting how these people can all be tied back to each other. At the end of the day it's some kind of white supremacy or another, a need to dominate others that fuels them.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Crystal Vargas: QAnon Grifter and Opportunist

In February, we wrote about a poorly attended rally on Parliament Hill. At the time, the rally consisted of a few straggling Yellow Vests and conspiracy theorists. Signs and speeches referenced the bonkers pro-Trump conspiracy theory QAnon. QAnon surfaced around 2017 on the 4chan message board, and is widely touted and spread by Trump supporters and far-right extremists. Believers in the conspiracy insist that world governments are made up of a shadowy cabal of pedophiles and Satanists, practicing bizarre rituals like "spirit cooking," and harvesting adenochrome from children, and that believe that Pizzagate is real. While not all Q believers are overt antisemites (many don't even realize the influence), the overall conspiracy is antisemitic, using the same tired tropes and targeting Soros, Gates, and of course, "the globalists."

The largely online QAnon conspiracy has been tied to multiple real-world violent acts, including murder.

And this brings us to Crystal Vargas, who doesn't seem to quit. Vargas attempted to run for the PPC in the 2019 Federal Election by carpetbagging the Halifax West riding. Sadly, her run was foiled by what she calls a "technological glitch," and she never went further than being nominated. The story doesn't make a lot of sense, considering she's from Ontario, and if the clock "switched back" it would have made her early, not late, nor would it result in a 6 minute difference.

Vargas, posting under the Halifax West PPC EDA Facebook page, tells the story of how her run was ruined by a phone clock that changed itself.

Lawsuits and Crowdfunding Efforts

Vargas is really trying to stay relevant, and using her past organizing to do so. At her February rally at Parliament Hill she used her platform to sell t-shirts, as well as promote her GoFundMe campaign. The GoFundMe has been around since February, and vaguely discussed suing the Liberals, but for what isn't clear. Vargas claimed to have hired a constitutional lawyer to represent her in her "battle" for Canada.

A screenshot of the GoFundMe prior to the name change around May 13-14. 

Now, Vargas has changed the name of the GoFundMe, specifically aimed at raising money to pay the lawyer she states she has hired. That one clocks in at $900 as of today. Its purpose appears to be to sue the Liberals for the pandemic lockdown and fight against a vaccine, which is far more specific than it was originally. 

The current GoFundMe description, as of May 16

Suing the Liberals is one thing, and despite that being a lost cause as a whole, isn't something we would inherently be opposed to. People are free to launch a lawsuit. However, we do take issue with launching a lawsuit intended to harm the general public and cause unnecessary deaths. 

If you're getting strong Traversy vibes, you wouldn't be wrong. Norman Traversy is the man who has somehow duped over $20,000 from Canadian "patriots" in order to criminally charge Trudeau. This has been going on for months and yet, somehow, nothing ever seems to actually happen, and people haven't quite caught on to his grift. 

"Freedom Rallies"

After the February rally, and using her political page, she planned/cancelled/planned more vague "Freedom Rallies" across Ontario and Quebec. She canceled the rallies due to people giving her a hard time and/or the prospect of poor attendance. Either way, she became upset and cancelled the whole world. Now the rallies are back on, I guess. Great organizing either way!


Yeah, we're confused too.

Online Rhetoric

In addition to running for a party rife with neo-Nazis and hate, Crystal follows and engages with far-right actors and hate groups including the Yellow Vests, Canadian Combat Coalition, and the Threepers, as well as boosting harmful QAnon related posts.

Vargas posting a commonly-spread QAnon-based conspiracy earlier this year to a YVC group

Another conspiracy theory spread by Vargas

The source for this is a horrifically xenophobic anti-Muslim website

Vargas is a member of the C3 Facebook group

Infighting with Allies

Vargas seems to start conflict with a lot of her allies. She and the PPC Halifax West EDA manager, Andrew Detchkoff, had some kind of a falling out around election time. In an article by Detchkoff on a political analysis site he runs, they shared this exchange:

More recently, Vargas became angry with Kathy Woycik because Woycik named her lawyer, with Vargas calling Woycik's tweet "misleading." Even though Woycik was right, Vargas accused Woycik of "sabotage," and claimed that Woycik accused her of "misleading" people by naming the lawyer. However, it looks like Woycik wasn't wrong. Vargas changed the GoFundMe to include the lawyer's name, and went on to post the lawyer's name on Facebook less than 12 hours later.

Woycik's tweet, with a Q reference

Woycik claiming Vargas has "gone off the deep end"

As far as Kathy goes.... yikes. She pushes an all-caps brand of anti-Muslim hate, conspiracy theories, and fear-mongering. 

Anti-Lockdown Rallies

On May 9 Crystal Vargas joined Rick Boswick, Norman Traversy and other far-right tap dancers for a pro-virus rally in Ottawa. The weekend prior, Boswick and Traversy chased away some of the pro-virus protestors by screaming about fake news and communism. 
During the May 9th protest the same thing happened. Vargas, Boswick and the clown crew starting shouting fake news at the CTV crew that showed up which completely divided the protest.

Boswick claims that he's the new media in this clip which literally had me on the floor laughing.

It's clear that by the end of the rally the people involved were completely divided. We've been clear about not supporting the pro-virus protests that have been happening, however to give credit where it's due at least the Ottawa protestors pushed out the far-right infiltrators. Protests in the U.S. and elsewhere in Canada (especially in Vancouver) have not done the same.

That said the Ottawa protesters did welcome her the following weekend.
May 16 2020

It appears that Vargas is trying to stir up some kind of movement of which she is the head. Vargas has demonstrated she is willing to be dishonest with her following in order to gain the momentum she needs, as evidenced by infighting as well as the change in goals indicated on the GoFundMe. It's impossible to have known the lockdown and vaccine were going to be a concern when she started it; she's simply changed tack in order to keep current and stoke more outrage.