The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
In honor of the holiday, the Hatewatch staff dug deep into our photo archives to unearth the creepiest image to crawl out of the white supremacist movement in quite some time. Here you go:
Though it resembles a promotional still from the 1960 horror flick “The Brides of Dracula,” starring Peter Cushing, the photo (which apparently circulated among white supremacists on the Internet) actually shows Women for Aryan Unity activist Victoria “Vickie” Cahill standing over the embalmed (we hope!) corpse of David Lane, one of the inner-circle members of the Bruders Schweigen, or Silent Brotherhood, a white nationalist terrorist organization also known as The Order.
Like a lot of white nationalists, especially incarcerated ones, Lane was deep into racist neo-paganism, so we’re assuming the coins on his eyes are meant for Charon, the mythical ferryman of Hades, who transports newly deceased souls across the river Styx. Lane was a great promulgator of Wotanism, a racist form of Odinism, which was practiced by Norsemen in the Middle Ages. (The flag on his body appears to be that of Norway, where Odinism was once practiced.)
The exact date and location of the photo are unknown, though it’s a good bet it was taken in or near Kalispell, Mont. within a few days of Lane’s death in prison on May 28, 2007, while he was serving a 190-year sentence for racketeering and conspiracy related to the 1984 assassination of Jewish talk radio host Alan Berg. Lane drove the getaway car after an accomplice machine-gunned Berg to death as he stood in the driveway of his own Denver area home.
Not long before he died, Lane, who was suffering from cancer, arranged for his body to be released to neo-Nazi stage mom April Gaede. Lane frequently corresponded with Gaede, who encouraged his infatuation with her teenage twin daughters, who were 54 years his junior. Lane referred to them as his “fantasy sweethearts.”
Gaede arranged for Lane’s corpse to be transported from the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., where he died in his cell, to her home in Kalispell, Mont, and then announced that she “and the gals from WAU [Women for Aryan Unity]” had established a David Lane Memorial Fund to cover the expenses of interring Lane’s remains.
According to Gaede, Lane told her that he wanted to be cremated and have his ashes placed in the capstone of a pyramid monument. It seems that was a bit outside Gaede and the WAU’s price range. Gaede posted on the racist online forum Stormfront that “[s]ince we are not in a situation to build a monument in a White homeland,” she was planning to instead distribute Lane’s ashes among 14 miniature pyramids to be enshrined in the homes of 14 white nationalist women. This was a tribute to Lane’s coining of the “14 Words,” the white nationalist catchphrase that goes, “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White children.” (Two skinheads who were arrested earlier this week for allegedly plotting to rob a gun store and then attempt to assassinate Barack Obama reportedly told police they intended to honor the 14 Words by cutting the heads off 14 African Americans.) ( continue to full post… )
In the Fall 2008 issue of the Intelligence Report, the Southern Poverty Law Center detailed a long list of defamatory falsehoods published by the American Legion, a major veterans group, in its new booklet, A Strategy to Address Illegal Immigration in the United States. As the Report’s story said at the time, the book “regurgitates discredited and often completely false information about how ‘illegals’ are bringing crime, disease and terrorism to this country, even as they wreck the economy.”
On Thursday, the American Legion posted a response to the Report’s criticisms on its website, including a copy of a letter sent to the editor of the Report a few days earlier. The letter notes (as our story did) that the booklet is “under review” — this because of repeated complaints from the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the American GI Forum, a Hispanic veterans group — but then goes on to toss off the Report’s allegations. Finally, in an apparent effort to bolster its case, the Legion goes on to cite a series of completely unrelated attacks on SPLC that it wrongly attributes to the Atlanta Constitution.
Here is our letter of response, sent today to Legion Commander David Rehbein:
Dear Commander Rehbein,
It’s unfortunate that your response to our detailed criticism of your immigration booklet is limited to a disingenuous characterization of what we say as merely reflecting different “perspectives” on immigration. Had you actually looked at the concrete criticisms we made, instead of simply insisting we were wrong, you would have had to face the fact that you made numerous errors of fact, clear mistakes that have the effect of defaming and vilifying what you like to call “illegal aliens.”
You suggest that we “sugar coat” the problem of illegal immigration. Let’s briefly revisit a sampling of what the American Legion does in its booklet:
• You falsely claim that “non-citizens make up fully 30% of the American prison population.” That is propaganda. The real number is under 6%.
• You falsely attribute the claim that 49% of incarcerated illegal immigrants had prior felony convictions to a GAO report. The report says no such thing, and neither does any other.
• Without the benefit of any attribution, you falsely state that “more Americans are killed by illegal aliens than die in the Iraq war.” Translated, your claim means that 4% of population (the same 12 million illegal immigrants to whom you refer) is responsible for 11.4% to 16.1% of our nation’s murders. Every study shows that immigrants commit fewer, not more, crimes than natives.
• You cite an extreme-right propagandist (Madeleine Cosman), writing in a totally discredited journal, to claim that illegal immigrants are bringing a series of dread diseases to the United States. You have no other evidence at all for this inflammatory suggestion. Please note that the same journal you cite for proof recently published the claim that HIV does not cause AIDS.
• You falsely claim that 7,000 people in the United States were infected with leprosy between 2000 and 2003 by illegal immigrants. The real number of people infected with leprosy in those years is about 400. And no one knows how many of those, if any at all, were attributable to immigrants. ( continue to full post… )
Hate crimes targeting Latinos increased again in 2007, capping a 40% rise in the four years since 2003, according to FBI statistics released earlier this week.
As anti-immigrant propaganda has increased on both the margins and in the mainstream of society — where pundits and politicians have routinely vilified undocumented Latino immigrants with a series of defamatory falsehoods — hate violence has risen against perceived “illegal aliens.” Each year since 2003, the number of FBI-reported anti-Latino hate crime incidents has risen (see table, below), even as a swelling nativist movement has become larger and more vitriolic.
The FBI statistics, which are simply compilations of state statistics as mandated by federal law, are notoriously sketchy. Because of a variety of problems in the voluntary reporting system, including the failure of many victims to report crimes to police, the FBI figures have long been suspected of being far lower than the actual level of such crimes. And that turns out to be true. The FBI has reported national hate crime totals of between about 6,000 and about 10,000 since it began publishing the numbers in 1992, depending on the year (the new report counts 7,264 incidents in 2007). But a definitive 2005 study by the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (PDF), based on detailed and highly accurate National Crime Victimization Surveys, found that the real annual level of hate crime in America averaged some 191,000 incidents — in other words, about 20 to 30 times higher than the numbers annually reported by the FBI.
Although the numbers of FBI-reported anti-Latino hate crime attacks are small — from 426 incidents in 2003 to 595 incidents in 2007 — the trend they suggest is almost certainly a real one. California, which does a better job of reporting hate crimes than most states, has also seen a major uptick in anti-Latino violence, and the growth of hate groups has been most dramatic in Southern border states like California, Arizona and Texas, the front lines of the immigration controversy.
At the same time as anti-Latino violence has risen, the Southern Poverty Law Center has reported a major increase in hate groups — from 602 in 2000 to 888 in 2007, a 48% percent jump — and said that the growth has been almost entirely driven by the immigration debate. White supremacist groups that normally target African Americans and Jews have focused heavily for the last several years on the “threat” of Latino immigrants, exploiting the issue successfully in order to recruit more and more members, especially in the border states. That has only begun to change recently, as hate groups increasingly turn their attention to the subprime crisis (which they blame on minorities) and the likely prospect of a black president. ( continue to full post… )
Members of Help Save Maryland staged a counter-protest targeting demonstrators who were voicing opposition to proposed legislation that would deny public services to illegal immigrants and require a count of immigrant children in public schools.
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Despite the public’s attention shifting to issues like home foreclosures and the danger of a global recession, members of groups like Jim Gilchrist’s Minuteman Project continue to push immigration as a white-hot topic.
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Mike Vickers, leader of the Texas Border Volunteers, a civilian border patrol group, says that his organization has 300 members, patrols 2 million acres and has reported more than 8,000 immigrants, including, he says, 33 Chinese escorted by smugglers with machine guns.
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Californians For Population Stabilization is running television ads that use statistics generated by the Center for Immigration Studies to link immigrants to America’s rising carbon footprint.
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Daniel Cowart, one of the two men arrested Friday in an alleged plot to assassinate Barack Obama and murder more than 100 people, was a member of a racist skinhead group formed earlier this year. The group, the Supreme White Alliance (SWA), posted a note after the arrests saying that a “probate” member — clearly Cowart, although the site didn’t mention his name — had been booted out some time ago.
Cowart, in fact, is described as “member #3” of the SWA on the group’s Ning site (Ning is a social networking site), meaning he was the third to sign up for an account on that site. In “Daniel Cowart’s Supreme White Alliance page,” Cowart describes himself as “easy going and easy to get along with, as long as you are White!” In addition, a photo obtained by the Southern Poverty Law Center shows Cowart at a birthday party held for Adolf Hitler last April along with others linked to the SWA. The group is displaying a birthday cake marked with its SWA acronym.
It’s not clear if Cowart’s alleged partner, Paul Schlesselman, was a member or associate of the group. The SWA posting suggests that he is not.
The two men were arrested after federal agents uncovered what they described as a plot to go on a multi-state “killing spree.” In an affidavit, the ATF said that the two, both of whom it described as holding “strong” white supremacist beliefs, had met via the Internet in late September. They later got together and allegedly decided to kill 88 people, followed by beheading another 14 African Americans. (The numbers are neo-Nazi codes representing white supremacist slogans.) Officials said they also intended to target a predominantly black high school, a gun store, and individuals who they planned to rob to raise money. The final act, according to the affidavit, was to come when both men dressed in white tuxedoes and top hats and attempted to shoot Obama as they drove toward him while shooting through the windows, agents said. Both men fully expected to die in their final attack.
The SWA Ning site also carries a page showing “Daniel’s Friends,” belonging to Daniel Cowart, that lists as a friend Steven Edwards (posting as “Stevenfuckit08″), the current president of SWA. Edwards is the son of Ron Edwards, who is the imperial wizard, or national leader, of the Imperial Klans of America (IKA), based in Kentucky. The Southern Poverty Law Center is currently involved in civil litigation with Ron Edwards and the IKA over the beating of a teenage boy in 2006. The case is scheduled for trial on Nov. 12.
On Friday, the ATF busted up an alleged plot to assassinate Barack Obama and go on a multi-state “killing spree.” Agents arrested two men, Daniel Cowart, 20, of Bells, Tenn. (pictured twice below), and Paul Schlesselman, 18, of West Helena, Ark. (right), and charged them with possessing an unregistered firearm, conspiring to steal firearms, and threatening a candidate for president.
According to an affidavit filed by an ATF special agent, the men met through the internet and planned to engage in a “killing spree” that included shooting 88 African Americans and beheading another 14. Targets included a predominantly African-American school. At the end of the alleged spree, the men intended to try to kill Obama.
“88,” an important number in skinhead numerology, means “Heil Hitler” – as “H” is the eighth letter of the alphabet. “14” likely refers to the “14 Words,” a white supremacist slogan that originated with the late David Lane. Lane died last year in prison while serving a sentence for his role in an assassination plot carried out by The Order, a white supremacist terrorist group that was destroyed in 1984.
One of the suspects, Cowart, is a known member of a new skinhead hate group, the Supreme White Alliance (SWA), formed at the beginning of 2008, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. He attended a Hitler’s Birthday party held last April by the group.
SWA is headed by Steven Edwards, son of Ron Edwards, who leads the Imperial Klans of America. The Southern Poverty Law Center is currently involved in civil litigation with Ron Edwards and the IKA over the beating of a minority youth in July 2006.
Since 1995, there have been more than 60 major domestic terrorist plots that have emerged from the radical right. These have included everything from plans to bomb government buildings to amassing missiles, explosives, and even biological and chemical weapons. Most contemplated the deaths of large numbers of people — in one case, as many as 30,000.
Since 2000, the number of hate groups has risen by almost 50 percent — from 602 in 2000 to 888 in 2007. White supremacists have been stunned by Obama’s rise. That, considering the economic tough times, makes this a dangerous period.
According to ATF officials, the investigation is continuing, and more charges are possible.
Shooting up “Toys For Tots” charity events. Selling cocaine to Catholic high school football coaches. Earning “purple wings” by having sex with dead women.
Unsealed earlier this week, a vividly detailed, 177-page federal indictment (PDF) leveling 86 felony counts against 79 members of the Mongols motorcycle gang is a dizzying cavalcade of barbarous and degenerate acts, whose alleged perpetrators were arrested Tuesday during simultaneous raids involving more than 1,000 federal agents and local police in a half-dozen states, representing the culmination of a three-year undercover investigation dubbed “Operation Black Rain.” The indictment, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, accuses Mongol gang members of engaging in drug trafficking, racketeering and money laundering. The gang, made up of 500 to 600 members, is based in Los Angeles but has affiliate chapters in 13 states as well as Mexico and Canada.
According to the indictment, the four undercover officers who infiltrated the Mongols discovered that it was a fundamentally racist organization. The gang’s mostly Latino members were motivated to commit violent acts, up to and including murder, not only by greed, revenge and sheer bloodlust, but also by racist hatred of African-Americans, who the gang often targeted purely for the color of their skin. “Mongols crimes typically include acts of violence … and, very frequently, hate crimes directed against African-American persons who might come into contact with the Mongols,” it reads. ( continue to full post… )