The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Colorado American Legion Post Hosts Nativist Haters

By Sonia Scherr on August 26, 2008 - 8:06 am, Posted in Anti-Immigrant

Although it was called a “national security convention,” the three-day event hosted by a Denver-area American Legion post last week was concerned about one thing: illegal immigration.

American Legion Post 1111 in Bloomfield, Colo., joined with two nativist groups to sponsor the Aug. 21-23 convention that featured hard-line anti-immigration rabble-rousers Glenn Spencer and Frosty Wooldridge. Although the convention involved an individual legion post, the national legion this spring launched a campaign against illegal immigration that featured a booklet filled with inaccuracies about undocumented immigrants. After Hispanic groups expressed concerns, a message appeared on the legion’s website stating that the booklet was being “updated.”

At last week’s convention, attendees got to watch the premiere of a video called “Border Truth USA,” which took viewers on “a high-definition video tour of the border narrated live by Glenn Spencer,” according to Spencer’s American Patrol website. He also demonstrated the “Virtual Vigilance camera system.”

But Spencer, who leads the vitriolic hate groups American Patrol and American Border Patrol, has done more than show off gadgets designed to catch “illegal aliens.” He’s also spouted anti-Latino comments, proclaiming in a 1996 letter to The Los Angeles Times that “Mexican culture is based on deceit” and “Chicanos and Mexicanos lie as a means of survival.” Local retiree Francis McWilliams, who was introduced as American Border Patrol’s director in September 2002, quickly resigned after concluding that Spencer was “borderline xenophobic.” Spencer also sent every member of Congress a copy of his video, “Bonds of our Nation,” which promotes the myth that the Mexican government and Mexican-Americans are plotting to take over the American Southwest and create the nation of Aztlan. Betina McCann, then the fiancée of neo-Nazi Steven Barry, hand-delivered the videos. In 2003, Spencer was charged with four felonies after repeatedly firing a .357 rifle into the night and hitting, among other things, a neighbor’s garage. He said he had heard “suspicious noises” in his backyard. After pleading to a single misdemeanor count of endangerment, he was fined $2,500 and sentenced to a year’s probation.

Although Spencer toned down the racist rhetoric after moving from California to Cochise County, Ariz., in 2002, he recently posted a Washington Times story about whites losing their hold on the majority amid rising Hispanic immigration, along with a cartoon showing Uncle Sam with the gun of “liberalism” in his mouth as “Mexico” pulls the trigger. Above the article and cartoon is Spencer’s heading: “White America Commits Suicide: The Coming Disunited States of America.”

Listeners at the Colorado American Legion post also were treated to remarks from Frosty Wooldridge, an Army veteran with an eclectic career that included writing a 2004 book titled Immigration’s Unarmed Invasion: Deadly Consequences. In it, he alleges that illegal non-European immigrants are bringing female genital mutilation to America. “What if your daughter married a man who insisted your granddaughter undergo this operation?” he asked. He also cautions that people going to Wal-Mart and the movies are “breathing air that may be carrying hepatitis.” (Never mind that hepatitis isn’t transmitted through the air.) Hepatitis, along with head lice and tuberculosis, are showing up in classrooms because of what Wooldridge calls immigrants’ “disease jihad.” In case that’s not enough, Wooldridge adds that Mexicans “do not wash their hands after using bathroom facilities.”

Also scheduled to speak at the Legion post last week was Peter Wagner, author of The Dark Side of Illegal Immigration. The book, available online, portrays undocumented immigrants as rapists, murderers, drunk drivers and disease-carriers. Citing the far-right WorldNetDaily website, it asserts that during a recent three-year period the United States saw “9,000 cases [of leprosy] and most were illegal aliens.” In fact, according to the federal government’s National Hansen’s [leprosy] Disease Program, there were 398 cases of leprosy combined in 2002, 2003 and 2004. The government has no idea how many of those may have occurred in immigrants, legal or otherwise.

The American Legion teamed up with the Federal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Coalition Inc. (FIRE) and Riders Against Illegal Aliens to host the conference. FIRE, whose projects include “Operation Body Count: Reporting the Americans Killed by Illegal Aliens in the Largest Invasion in History,” states on its website that undocumented immigrants kill 9,000 American a year, or 63,000 since Sept. 11. According to FBI statistics, if FIRE’s figures were correct, undocumented immigrants would be responsible for more than half the homicides that take place each year in the United States (there were 15,854 murders in America in 2006, the latest year for which figures are available), even though they comprise roughly 4% of the population.

Legionnaire Greg Williams, who is Colorado director of Riders Against Illegal Aliens and served as a master of ceremonies at last week’s convention, asserted that Spencer was a fine speaker for the convention. “He’s honest and open,” he told Hatewatch when reached at American Legion Post 1111. “He’s not a racist. He’s an American that’s for a sovereign country.” Queried further, Williams asked a reporter to hold on for a moment. When the reporter hung up more than 15 minutes later, Williams still hadn’t returned to the phone.

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  • Greg Williams

    I was the moderator for the event. How many from the splc showed up? NONE!! How do you you what was said by our representatives? NONE!! You can’t even prove GlennSpencer is a racist or anything he has said in the past because you go by hearsay! Get your facts straight before you mouth off. Bythe way, if your idiot reporter stayed on the phone 15 minutes AFTER I hung up, she really is an idiot!

  • http://www.kkk.org american_patriot

    Please do some research before posting inflammatory remarks.

    The Ku Klux Klan, John Birch Society, American Evangelical Christian Churches, Latter Day Saint Churches, Republican Party, and many other like minded, allied organizations, are all patriotic groups fighting for and defending traditional American values.

  • Roger MacEvoy

    It is amazing how right wingnuts continue to rewrite history and the truth to make a point. They always have some evil group of people to point to be it the jew who was also lice and disease infested as they claim the immigrant is. Funny how our national crime rate imploded as the immigrant population exploded. Also crime statistics show that immigrats are not the ones commiting crimes.
    Anyone who says that Liberals supported the Nazis hasn’t a clue about history. They forget that liberals the world over, many of them not Anachist or Communist, just people who hated fascism joined in the fight against Franco. My father wanted to join in that fight but was unable to for personal reasons. He later served in the US Navy for 25 years and fought the NAZIs in other more interesting ways.
    I love it when people who know nothing about Scientific Socialism or post 1848 Marx and Engles writing go into all this diatribe about “Socialism”.
    Who decentalized the French government? Who created the State of Israel? Who backed us up in Iraq? Who buildt the biggest nuclear power network in free Europe freeing themselves from Middle East Oil? Which government around Europe after throwing off decades of dictatorial repression voted themselves into NATO? All were SOCIALIST GOVERNMENTS! Modern Socialists have two major enemies, Communisism and Facsism because both lead to the destruction of civil liberties and human rights.
    Take a history class.

  • APACHERAT

    I get a kick out of the left always bringing up Hitler and Nazism. How Nazis and fascist ever became known as being the extreme right wing must be some kind of socialist propaganda. Every one knows, the further you move to the right, the less government there is.

    Nazis (National Socialist Party) are socialist who are also nationalist.

    If you go back to the 1930′s you will notice that Stalin was a big supporter of Hitler. In the United States you had many socialist who admired Hitler and national socialism. Even the labor unions supported the Nazis in Germany until 1941.

    During W W ll when Britain was fighting against Germany by themselves, the CIO staged strikes at war plants and on the docks to prevent war materials from reaching Great Britain. One of the more famous strikes was in 1941 at the North American Aviation plant in Inglewood, Ca that was producing P-51′s for the RAF.The strike had nothing to do with higher wages or better working conditions. It was about stopping the production of P-51′s intended for Britain to be used for defeating Nazi Germany..

    But the day Hitler attacked the Soviets in 1941 was the day Hitler lost his support of the liberals and socialist with in the United States. HOW DARE THE NAZIS ATTACK A FELLOW COMRADE !

    I guess the left wanted to distance themselves from the National Socialist and decide to say they were not part of the left wing any more but part of the right wing.

    Nazis are left wing socialist !

  • oldman.denver

    well, if a nurse at a local clinic in south carolina says that “almost all the hispanic that are tested are infected with aids”, then it must be true…right?

  • El Guapo

    This is what I was talking about earlier. There is no evidence that illegal aliens cause drug resistant tuberculosis. And a local nurse would have to view all patients’ files in violation of HIPAA to obtain statewide data on AIDS tests.

    With respect to being anti-immigrant or anti-illegal immigrant one should speak only for onesself. There are plenty people who are anti-immigrant. There are plenty who are just plain anti-Hispanic too.

  • LadyM

    It’s never ceases to amaze me that the open borders crowd has nothing else to defend itself with then accusations of racism and xenophobia. As for the diseases, it is so true that illegals are spreading diseases and reintroducing diseases that we had eraticated years ago. Drug resistant tuberculosis is on the rise all across America. When immigrants come here legally they are tested for these types of diseases and not allowed to enter if they are ill. However, illegals undergo no such testing. Here in South Carolina, almost all of the hispanics that are tested are infected with AIDS. I learned this from a nurse at the local health clinic.

    Also, we are not anti-immigrant…we are anti illegal immigration…..big difference. One is legal and the other is not….please learn the difference!

  • http://avatars.imvu.com/BrianoftheCherubim Brian Cook

    Funny how you should mention Italian fascists. A Catholic newspaper in Italy warned that Berlusconi’s government was slipping into fascism after it seized immigrants. I wish to remind everyone here that the Mother Church welcomes immigrants, even non-European immigrants, and urges us to do the same.

  • Jonathan

    Time and time again whenever open-borders fanatics gather, lies get spread. They lie about economic benefits. They lie about burdens on society. Which begs the question: if the positive effects of illegal immigration were so great, why do these people find it necessary to lie about it?

  • http://www.alipac.net El Guapo

    Time and time again whenever anti-immigration fanatics gather, lies get spread. They lie about diseases. They lie about crime. Which begs the question: if the adverse effects of illegal immigration were so severe, why do these people find it necessary to lie about it?

  • zeezil

    Viva la Legion!!! Illegal aliens must go away. Arrest, incarceration and DEPORTATIONS…si se puede!!!

  • http://exaggerator.blogdrive.com/ IludiumPhosdex

    Let’s not forget where the Legio Americana has this nasty reputation for associating with neo-Nazis/Fascists (even to the point of equating its mission with that of Benito Mussolini’s Fascisti in Italy) and extreme anti-Communist types throughout its history.

    Not to mention serving as strikebreakers (“scabs,” in union argot) during some particularly nasty labour disputes, especially where force or violence was necessary “to maintain Law and Order,” as per the Preamble to its Constitution.

  • Jonathan

    If the government did it’s job and kept illegal immigrants out of the country there wouldn’t be a need for such conventions!