Poplawski's Web postings warned of 'enemies'
Richard Poplawski posted dozens of racist and anti-Semitic messages on a far-right Web site over a span of 15 months, decrying race-mixing, sharing his thoughts on the best weapons and predicting chaos as the economy collapsed at the hands of "Zionist occupation," investigators said.
"It seems to me that our enemies would like nothing more than to see us retreat peaceably into the hills so that they could continue raping the remainder of the land without having to worry about any 'kooks' putting up a fight," reads one post dated Nov. 1, 2008. "I'll subscribe to the camp that believes we are running out of time. A revolutionary is always regarded as a nutcase at first, their ideas dismissed as fantasy."
An account kept on Stormfront, a gathering place for racial extremists and others from the far right, shows Mr. Poplawski's increasing belief in a coming economic and political collapse in the days leading up to the time of the deadly standoff in which he is charged with killing three Pittsburgh police officers.
"I've been a longtime lurker on Stormfront, and I see myself probably ramping up the activism in the near future," reads a Nov. 28 post on the account identified as his.
Details of Mr. Poplawski's extreme racial and political views came to light yesterday when a leading researcher at the Anti-Defamation League delved into his postings at Stormfront, a white supremacist Web site run by a former Ku Klux Klan leader in Florida.
Mark Pitcavage, director of investigative research for the ADL, said Mr. Poplawski was logged on to Stormfront four hours before Saturday's deadly shootings. The ADL yesterday revealed the Poplawski Stormfront account, which was in addition to another one in which he showed photographs of his American eagle tattoo -- a piece of body art that also connected him to the second account in which he expounded on race. Mr. Pitcavage said he explored the Poplawski account after learning of his extremist beliefs in a Sunday article in the Post-Gazette.
Initially, he posted under the name "Rich P," which, sometime after March 10, he changed to the more ominous sounding "Braced for Fate."
Between Jan. 16, 2007, and Thursday, Mr. Poplawski expounded on race, interracial mixing and a presumed power of Jews in America.
His final post expressed concerns about the changes in the logo of the Keystone State Skinheads, a neo-Nazi group that has been linked to a variety of crimes.
He also expressed concerns that white nationalist groups had missed an opportunity to call attention to protests in Oakland, Calif., on behalf of young black men accused in the shooting of several police officers there.
Mr. Pitcavage said he unmasked Mr. Poplawski's Stormfront identity by matching details and common links and names with another Stormfront account in which Mr. Poplawski published photographs of his tattoo -- a large eagle spread across his chest, its head poking upward just below the neck. He makes reference to that same tattoo in the second online account. Additionally, the "Braced for Fate" site discusses events that match those in Mr. Poplawski's life, including mention of his fondness for Wellington, Fla., where he lived during the middle part of this decade.
Stormfront, founded by former Ku Klux Klan leader Don Black, is based in West Palm Beach, Fla., an area in which Mr. Poplawski lived in 2006. There is no indication that the two men ever met.
On March 13, the Stormfront account linked to Mr. Poplawski carried a lengthy post predicting economic collapse, engineered by a Jewish conspiracy.
"The federal government, mainstream media, and banking system in these United States are strongly under the influence of -- if not completely controlled by -- Zionist interest," the post declares. "An economic collapse of the financial system is inevitable, bringing with it some degree of civil unrest if not outright balkanization of the continental U.S., civil/revolutionary/racial war. ... This collapse is likely engineered by the elite Jewish powers that be in order to make for a power and asset grab."
The 923-word post outlines the apocalyptic ideas that Mr. Poplawski's friends earlier attributed to him.
"One can read the list of significant persons in government and in major corporations and see who is pulling the strings. One can observe the policies and final products and should walk away with little doubt there is Zionist occupation and -- after some further research and critical thinking -- will discover their insidious intentions," the post adds.
Earlier this year, Mr. Poplawski's postings included vivid descriptions of after-game revelries when the Steelers won the Super Bowl. He referred to orderly behavior in his neighborhood by "happy whites." In another, he alluded to professional football as "negroball."
Still another post expounded about his dislike of African-American, Latina and Asian women.
"Don't mix your blood with dirt, son," he posted.
At one point, advising another poster on ideal weapons, he praised his "AK" -- an AK-47, the kind of weapon police say he used to kill three of their ranks Saturday.
Asked Dec. 8 what one weapon he would want if he could keep just one, he wrote, "I guess I'd have to say my AK. Which is nice because it doesn't have to fall from the sky -- it's in a case within arms reach."
Mr. Poplawski also appears to agree with another poster who criticized Alex Jones, host of a conspiracy theorist radio program and author of an Internet site to which Mr. Poplawski's friends said he sometimes turned for news.
The other poster complained that Mr. Jones' site deleted posts alleging Jewish control of the United States.
"My mind hasn't been made up on AJ 100 percent," he wrote.
Mr. Jones, in a telephone interview with the Post-Gazette, denied extremist views and described himself as "more of a libertarian" than member of the right wing.
He also denounced the violence that took place in Stanton Heights and suggested it reflected growing worries about gun confiscation.
"When the police and the military attempt to come for the guns, which they're going to do, it's not going to go well."
Mr. Jones complained that his views were being conflated with extremists that recruit people with legitimate concerns reflected on his own site and program.
If blame is to be laid for the Stanton Heights shootings, Mr. Jones said, it should be placed on the Marine Corps, which Mr. Poplawski's friends and mother said he had joined only to be thrown out.
"If anybody should be blamed for this it's the Marines -- they're the ones who trained him to kill," Mr. Jones said.
First Published April 7, 2009 12:00 am