Neo-Nazi ‘Slap-Tags’ Found On Rail-Trail In Pepperell
Thu, 11/05/2020 - 4:34pm
by Russell Harris
Walking his dog along the Nashua River Rail Trail in Pepperell on October 27, a local man discovered stickers he described as having “a bunch of symbols I understand to be used by neo-Nazis.” He added that the stickers [commonly called slap-tags’] include “an email address and a link to Telegram, a messaging app frequently used by people trying to remain anonymous.” He found two of the neo-Nazi slap-tags on a post at the intersection of the rail trail and Lowell Street in Pepperell [see photos page two], and two more on a kiosk and another on a sign in the parking area on Main Street.
The Groton Herald has confirmed the existence of these NSC slap-tags on the Pepperell Rail Trail and has taken photos.
The stickers promote the National Socialist Club, known by the abbreviation NSC, a group identified by the ADL [Anti Defamation League] as an anti-Semitic hate group founded in eastern Massachusetts in December 2019. NSC members have been identified in Arizona, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia, according to the Anti Defamation League.
It is very important to note that the size of the membership of this group is not reliably known. It might only be a very small band of vocal purveyors of hate seeking attention. There are no known violent incidents linked to the group. Still, any organized group disseminating a message of anti-Semitic hate is of deep concern. Although their ideology is repugnant and even scary, they are doing nothing illegal under law.
The man who discovered the stickers said he notified Pepperell police and that they had called him back to confirm they had his information right. Pepperell PD told him an officer had also confirmed the existence of the stickers.
The man who alerted the Groton Herald to these slap-tags said he fears being identified in the media because of what he described as the NSC’s policy of “harassment, threats, and doxxing (sharing someone’s personal and contact information)” to harass perceived enemies.
There have been other incidents of NSC slap-tag postings reported in regional media. In September there was an incident in Salem, MA reported in the Salem News and then, on October 23, NBC News Boston reported a similar pattern of NSC stickers posted in nearby Brookline and Milford, NH.
Slap-tagging is a form of street messaging where an image or message is publicly displayed using small stickers. Slap tags are considered a form of graffiti.
According to NBC Boston News, NSC slap-tag stickers were also discovered in a few locations in Milford, NH on October 23. For now, Milford Police are investigating the stickers as criminal mischief but there’s also the possibility that it could be investigated as a hate crime, NBC News said. NBC quoted Milford Police Captain Frye as saying, “It’s very disturbing. If it’s targeted at one group of people, it’s a hate crime, and that can go state or federal,” he said. Frye located one of the stickers, but it appears that a flyer calling for “white men” to organize a local crew, was already taken down, NBC News reported.
In September the Salem News reported that Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll said she felt "a combination of disgust and disheartened" when hearing about such stickers, which had now been showing up for more than a week in her city. Mayor Driscoll said, “We want to make sure people are aware this is happening. Some folks may not even realize what these stickers are," reported the Salem News.
The stickers were described on social media by the Salem’s No Place For Hate committee as "NSC131." These stickers call attention to the apparent neo- Nazi group that is "trying to recruit, trying to advertise their cause," said Salem Police Capt. Fred Ryan in the Salem News.
The man who discovered the stickers in Pepperell said that his research shows that the numbers ‘131’ refer to the letters of the alphabet standing for ACA, meaning either anti-communist action or anti-capitalist action. He wrote that his research found that, “They replaced the ‘s’ in the initials NSC with the lightning bolt used on SS uniforms. The variation of the Celtic cross was historically used by fascists in Norway and more recently elsewhere in Europe.” The man added, “I don’t know if that’s helpful, but definitely some scary stuff.”
According to the ADL website, the NSC’s membership is a “collection of neo-Nazis and racist skinheads, many having previous membership(s) in other white supremacist groups, including Patriot Front, National Socialist Movement (NSM), The Base, League of the South (LoS), Traditionalist Worker Party (TWP) and Aryan Strike Force.” Again, we do not know the size and extent of the group’s membership, although it does not appear large.
A sticker, shown in a Facebook post and as shown below is white with black lettering. It identifies NSC — the Nationalist ocial Club — with the S drawn in the style of the twin S markings associated with the Schutzstaffel organization in Nazi-era Germany. "It's a reference to Naziism," said Jeff Cohen, co-chairperson to the Salem's No Place For Hate committee. "It's putting hate speech in a public spot."
Salem Police Captain Ryan said that such "slap tagging" can also be investigated as vandalism since it represents a felony outside the offensive content of the message.
Again, according to the ADL website, the NSC underground network of individuals is mount a ruthless resistance” against their perceived enemies through localized street actions. Such street actions, according to the ADL, include distribution of propaganda, public demonstrations, private gatherings for networking and firearms or fitness training and efforts to “troll” or harass their “enemies.”