Haven school board candidate tricked into sharing racist ideology with anti-fascist teens

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TOPEKA – Josh Wells describes himself as the leader of a Proud Boys group, promotes an all-white nation-state, and peddles false conspiracy theories about the financial conspiracy behind COVID-19 and how the police have been on it instigator of the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol.

The owner of Wells Home Repair is also a candidate for the Haven School Board, a small town southeast of Hutchinson in Reno County. He challenges an incumbent who, on the other hand, wants to “meet the needs of all students”.

Wells has withdrawn his own children from public schools, he wrote in an online White Lives Matter forum, referring to concerns about the “Communist Manifesto” and the Church of Satan.

In private messages with anti-fascist teens who later doxed him, Wells shared the manifesto of the Patriot Front, a white nationalist hate group. He identified himself as a former member of the Three Percenters, an anti-government militia movement, and claimed membership in his affiliate Proud Boys ranging from Arkansas City to Emporia and Concordia.

“We are advocates of white nationalism and / or a pro-Western Christian theocracy with protected white majority status. Which of these is the most accessible, ”Wells wrote.

His personal Twitter and Facebook pages are riddled with secular outbursts; tirades on Black Lives Matter, Antifa and Critical Race Theory; sexist and racist memes; proud boy images; vague threats and personal attacks.

Wells responded to requests for comment on this story by sending “no thanks.”

“Nice try. I will speak to my constituents in my riding with any questions or concerns,” he added. “I neither want nor need to give you answers. Have a good day.”

Members of the Midwest Youth Liberation Front hired Wells in April, using an encrypted smartphone app called Signal, after seeing some of his posts on the White Lives Matter forum. In May, they exposed Wells’ comments on Twitter.

Wells responded by threatening to sue the anonymous teens for “deceitful theft” and “copyright infringement” for using his company logo.

I will come after you with all I can, ”he wrote in a direct message to the Midwest Youth Liberation Front Twitter account. “I hope you are smart enough to remove these items, otherwise I can and will cripple you financially and legally, you and your lies.”

The group shared screenshots of interactions with Wells with Kansas Reflector, including images showing that Wells’ messages were sent from his personal cell phone. Members requested not to be identified by name for this story.

They describe themselves as “a leaderless collective of young anarchists and anti-fascists around the so-called Midwest.”

“After months of investigation, we discovered that Joshua Wells has held leadership positions in the White Lives Matter, Proud Boys and Three Percenters markets,” the group said in a statement to Kansas Reflector. “Wells’ avowed goal of his new Midwestern Nationalist Party is to establish a white ethno-state. We are not exaggerating the extremism of his beliefs: Wells openly praises the death of blacks, spreads the symbolism of Nazi Germany, and believes that non-whites have no place in America.

“If Wells, as he said himself, doesn’t allow black people in his own chapter of the Proud Boys, how can children of color feel safe with him as a member of the school board?” The people of Hutchinson have a responsibility to actively push back Wells by gaining a position of local power. Failure to act is to risk a hateful man endangering the well-being of the students in the community.

Wells has applied for the Haven School Board seat currently held by Ken Nisly, who is seeking re-election. Nisly, owner of Nisly and Sons Painting, said he’s not sure what the Proud Boys stand for, but it doesn’t sound healthy.

“I want to be nice and gentle. I don’t want to slam someone. But I think they’re probably a bit on the radical side, ”Nisly said.

Nisly said he wanted voters to know that he stood for “good quality education for all, not just for a certain sect of people or a certain group.”

The diverse students in the district represent various ethnic groups and religious affiliations, Nisly said. He wants to meet the needs of all students, “whether emotional, physical or intellectual.”

“That’s what I’m trying to promote – that we give equal education regardless of your religion, race, gender or ethnicity,” Nisly said. ” It does not matter. We are all treated equally.

Wells’ private and public commentary emphasizes a different approach. Wells wants to empty the country of non-white people and force them into their own ethnic regions.

“Multiculturalism clearly doesn’t work,” Wells wrote in a message to the Midwest Youth Liberation Front. “Better that separation be done peacefully than through war. “

In a June 20 post on his personal Facebook page, Wells wrote, “Happy Father’s Day to all western men who are raising our future generation with the proper morals and values ​​that have built this great nation. “

His Facebook photos include an image of the American flag upside down above the Proud Boys flag, which reads “The West is the best.”

In a Facebook “crib gossip” group, Wells wrote on July 9, “Be a rebel. Get married to your opposite sex and start a family. On July 2, he posted a meme that read, “Masculinity is not toxic. The lack of it is. Weak men are abusive and wicked. Strong, masculine men are protective and loving.

He also posted an anti-Semitic Mark Zuckerberg meme and a photo of Nancy Kerrigan and Tanya Harding with the words, “In my day when athletes got down on their knees, they got down on their knees. “

He promoted bogus conspiracy theories about voter fraud and the police behind the January 6 riots on the U.S. Capitol within the Facebook group.

In the White Lives Matter forum, Wells shared a refuted conspiracy theory about the World Economic Forum’s “technocratic game plan”, also known as the “Big Reset”. The theory is based on the premise that an unspecified entity controls political parties and the media around the world. Releasing a deadly lab-produced virus is the first step to reducing the world’s population to 500 million people by 2030. After ordering social distancing and making the use of face masks mandatory, unspecified officials have used 5G to monitor the population for dissent. The first vaccine was a placebo. Once they know who is worthy to breed, they will deploy a sterilization vaccine.

Wells joined a Twitter chat on July 4 where others mocked members of the Patriot Front who were filmed fleeing from counter-protesters in Philadelphia.

One colored person wrote: “Someone is calling these Mfer’s parents. “

Wells replied, “Unlike you, I bet they know their parents.”

To establish the credibility of private messages with individuals who turned out to be the Midwest Youth Liberation Front, Wells shared a video of a large indoor gathering of angry white men repeatedly shouting “f *** antifa.” He said it was a gathering of section presidents of “western chauvinist” organizations.

“I may or may not be in the lmfao mix,” Wells wrote.

Wells sent the teens a photo of an FBI agent’s business card. He said the FBI visited him a day before the Jan.6 uprising.

“I wanted to feel,” Wells said. “I have a lot of friendships across the country.”

When someone on Twitter questioned his Proud Boys credentials, Wells told him to “move on and STFU.”

“You don’t know me or what I am,” Wells said. “Keep my name out of your bitch bitch mouth.”

Other far-right extremists in Kansas have drawn the attention of federal officials for their views in recent years, including several Proud Boys who are among the six Kansans arrested for their participation in the Jan.6 uprising.

Barry Grissom, an attorney who served as the state’s top federal prosecutor under President Barack Obama, said a task force made up of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies is monitoring members marginal groups and assess whether they pose a threat.

“You have to respect someone’s First Amendment right to express their political views,” Grissom said. “Where you run into potential problems is when those opinions are knowingly used to induce others to commit acts of violence against other people or the government.”

Grissom has filed a lawsuit against three men from Garden City who were members of the Three Percenters and were convicted of a conspiracy to detonate four car bombs in 2016 around an apartment complex where Somali refugees lived.

Wells has not called for violence in any public or private comments. But Grissom said he would be shocked if Haven voters supported Wells’ views.

“I would like to think that a knowledgeable electorate knows who is on the ballot and what it represents – and especially as a school board issue, how that might impact students, teachers and administration, ”Grissom said. “I would be amazed if someone like that won. But as we have seen, stranger things have happened.



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