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Counting ‘Confederates’: Once More, Kirk Lyons Tilts at Census Windmills

By Sonia Scherr on March 31, 2010 - 5:14 pm, Posted in Neo-Confederate

The neo-Confederate movement’s best known legal champion is getting some media buzz for urging Southerners to declare their race as “Confederate Southern American” on the 2010 U.S. census questionnaire.

In recent video messages posted on YouTube and Facebook, white supremacist attorney Kirk Lyons told his compatriots to eschew the traditional racial classifications and instead write in “Confed Southern Am” (abbreviated to fit the space) under “other race.”  Census forms were mailed or delivered this month to homes across the United States.

“There is no identifiable group more persecuted, humiliated, embarrassed, singled out for ridicule, fired from jobs, kids suspended from school, civic groups representing [them] being denied parades, than the Confederate Southern Americans of the United States,” he said in the first video message. “This is an opportunity for us to put our numbers on record, tell the government how many of us there are, and tell our fellow citizens how many of us there are.”

Lyons insisted that “Confederate Southern American” is an appropriate designation because the South seceded to form an independent nation for four years during the Civil War — or, as he puts it, the “War of Northern Aggression.” “If there can be Cajun Americans, if there can be Serbian Americans, there can be Confederate Southern Americans,” Lyons said. Proclaiming their national origin as Confederate Southern Americans would send the message that they “will not sit in the back of the bus anymore.” He added that the Confederate community constitutes “the largest single minority group in the United States today.”

Over the past several days, Lyons’ plea has been noted by mainstream and alternative media outlets, including the Washington Post, Hartford Courant, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Nashville Scene and AlterNet. Most have treated his census initiative as a curiosity and provided little information about Lyons besides his title: chief trial counsel for the Southern Legal Resource Center (SLRC). A notable exception was Fox News radio host Alan Colmes, whose questions about Lyons’ background sent the “Confederate Southern American” into a tizzy. When Colmes asked Lyons to confirm that he was married at the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations compound during the live interview Monday night, Lyons repeatedly accused Colmes of attacking his family. “You don’t ask any other people this kind of nonsensical, ancient history question,” he fumed. He also lashed out at the Southern Poverty Law Center for characterizing him as a racist (which he denies) and refused to give his opinion of Richard Butler, the late Aryan Nations leader who presided over his wedding. Lyons’ best man at the wedding was Louis Beam, a particularly vicious ex-Klan leader who was, for a time, on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list. ( continue to full post… )

Nine Members of the Hutaree Militia Indicted in Plans for ‘Armed Conflict’

By Heidi Beirich on March 29, 2010 - 11:30 am, Posted in Militias

Nine members of the Hutaree Militia were indicted today in what federal authorities are describing as a plot to murder a law enforcement officer in Michigan and then attack other officials who gathered for the funeral. The five-count indictment followed a series of raids in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana over the weekend.

The Hutaree Militia first came to the attention of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in 2009, when researchers found the group’s MySpace page. Two chapters of the militia, one in Michigan and one in Utah, were included on the SPLC’s list of militia groups released earlier this month. The Utah chapter held at least one training in 2009.

The Hutaree Militia had close links to several other American militias, according to the group’s MySpace profile. The profile, which carried the slogan “violence solves everything,” shows that the group has 366 “friends.” The militia’s page was linked to dozens of other militias, including the Ohio Militia, the Michigan Militia Corps, the Kentucky State Militia, the Central Texas Militia and others. The indictment alleges that in February “several of the conspirators attempted to travel to Kentucky to attend a summit of militia groups.” ( continue to full post… )

After Call to Arms, Nativist Extremist Leader Calls it Quits

By Sonia Scherr on March 26, 2010 - 10:25 am, Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Nativist Extremist

A major nativist group known for its armed border patrols is disbanding.

In a Monday E-mail to supporters, Minuteman Civil Defense Corps President Carmen Mercer said the MCDC will no longer exist as an organization, though she encouraged supporters to continue its work independently. “I predict Americans, on their own, will lock, load and do what the feckless cowards in Washington refuse to do — and frankly I hope Americans do take up arms to defend this great nation,” she wrote in the “urgent alert.”

MCDC is an offshoot of the Minuteman Project, a month-long civilian border patrol that was covered extensively by journalists five years ago. (Then-President George W. Bush called the Minutemen “vigilantes” in March 2005.)  In 2009, MCDC had at least 74 chapters in nearly 30 states, making it the biggest of the Minuteman spin-off groups. But MCDC and the larger Minuteman movement have been plagued by infighting, allegations of financial impropriety and civil litigation. In addition, the leader of Minuteman American Defense (MAD) was charged with the May 2009 murder of a 9-year-old Latina girl and her father during a home invasion in Arivaca, Ariz., setting off furious accusations and counter-accusations over who had supported MAD’s Shawna Forde over the years.

The announcement of MCDC’s dissolution also followed an E-mail Mercer sent a week earlier, in which she urged supporters to bring their long arms to the border and to “forcefully engage” the “criminals” who try to cross without documentation. Mercer wrote on Monday that she received hundreds of responses to that E-mail, including some that sounded over-enthusiastic. “It was obvious that many had decided to return to the border who had tired of the sometimes futile watch and observe methods. It showed me that people are not willing to be silenced anymore; it also showed me that people will be less likely to follow the rules of engagement in a desperate attempt to stop the criminals who violate our borders every day. That is not what we want and we cannot take the responsibility for this.” ( continue to full post… )

Behind the Hate: Long-Time Activist Runs New Anti-Gay Site

By Sonia Scherr on March 24, 2010 - 5:01 pm, Posted in Anti-Abortion, Anti-LGBT

A leading anti-abortion webmaster who is widely known for his extremist tactics is behind a new Internet site taking aim at gay and abortion rights supporters with ties to Kenya.

Neal Horsley — best known for his “Nuremberg Files” website targeting physicians who provide abortions — now controls ProjectSEE.com. (“SEE” stands for Stop Exporting Evil!) Horsley’s latest website features “Not Wanted” posters with the photographs and, in some cases, contact information of purported gay rights activists and abortion providers working in Kenya. It lists the names of others, along with an appeal to “send us INFO!” The website encourages readers to print out the posters and distribute them in the United States and Kenya. (Abortion laws are highly restrictive in Kenya and homosexual activity is illegal. In recent weeks, Kenyan activists have reported a rash of anti-gay violence, including the Feb. 12 beating of a man outside a health center that provides HIV/AIDS services, according to Human Rights Watch.)

Projectsee posters

( continue to full post… )

Calling All Thugs: Gas Line Cut After Tea Party Leader Posts Enemy’s Address

By Mark Potok on March 24, 2010 - 2:20 pm, Posted in Antigovernment, Extremist Crime

The latest news from the opponents of health care reform who like to suggest that supporters should suffer for their transgressions: A day after two Virginia Tea Party activists posted the address of the brother of a congressman who voted for the bill, authorities discovered that someone had severed a gas line at the man’s home.

According to The Daily Progress of Charlottesville, Va., Danville Tea Party leader Nigel Coleman was one of the two people who posted the address of Bo Perriello, the older brother of U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Ivy), who voted for the health care bill. “This is Rep. Thomas Stuart Perriello’s home address,” Coleman wrote Monday, going on to suggest that others who oppose the health care bill “drop by” and “express their thanks.” He added, “I ain’t holding back no more.”

According to the Politico website, Coleman, upon learning he had posted the wrong address, said on a blog: “Do you mean I posted his brother’s address on my Facebook? Oh well, collateral damage.”

Told by The Daily Progress of the severing of the line that connected a propane tank to a grill on Perriello’s screened-in porch, Coleman said he was “shocked” and “almost speechless.” He claimed innocently that he was against violence, and in any case wasn’t sure that the attack, which is under FBI investigation, was related to his post.

Coleman’s absolutely despicable actions were remarkably similar to those of American neo-Nazi leaders who in recent years have made a practice of posting their enemies’ addresses and other personal information. They, too, often suggested that their sympathizers drop by to let enemies know their feelings. But that certainly didn’t stop Coleman from engaging in his own mindless and dangerous provocation.

The news of Coleman’s post and its apparent result followed boasts earlier in the week from Mike Vanderboegh, a former Alabama militia leader who last Friday called on enemies of health reform to smash the windows of local Democratic Party headquarters around the country. Vanderboegh’s threatening blog post, which suggested that civil war could be around the corner, was followed by bricks or stones being thrown through party offices in three states. The offices of two Democratic congressmen in New York and Arizona were similarly attacked.

As if that wasn’t enough, opponents of health care legislation demonstrating in Washington, D.C., this weekend spit on a black congressman, shouted racial slurs at two others, and shouted an anti-gay epithet at yet another. A week earlier, a group at a Tea Party in Columbus, Ohio, taunted a man sitting on the ground with a sign saying he had Parkinson’s disease. “If you’re looking for a handout,” one of the protesters told the health care reform supporter in a scene captured on video and posted to YouTube, “you’re in the wrong end of town.”

These despicable attacks and those who help foment them are unworthy of any citizen of a democracy, let alone of those who pretend to be standing up for principled conservatism. What we are seeing is the infuriated response of thugs and those who like to encourage thugs. And what may be most appalling of all is the absolute temerity, not to say cowardice, of supposedly responsible leaders of those who opposed health care reform, almost none of whom have condemned the latest round of hate. It’s a sad commentary on America that this is what our political process has become.

Croatian Extremist Joins White Hate Group Leadership

By Larry Keller on March 24, 2010 - 9:39 am, Posted in Anti-Semitic, White Supremacist

A popular speaker at gatherings of white supremacists and anti-Semites has joined the board of directors of the nascent white nationalist political party, American Third Position (A3P).

Tomislav Sunic, who describes himself as a former professor, Croatian diplomat and author, has spoken on multiple occasions to the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) and the Institute for Historical Review (IHR). The CCC is a racist hate group directly descended from the White Citizens Councils of the 1950s and 1960s that were once famously described by future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall as the “uptown Klan.” The IHR is a Holocaust-denying organization and publisher. He has also spoken at events organized by the neo-Nazi National Alliance, including a February 2003 “Euro-Fest” in Sacramento, Calif., where his central theme was that Europe has been repeatedly invaded by “alien” peoples and that whites have become a minority in Western Europe. He railed on about non-white immigrants, ending with the Turkish workers who have moved to Germany. “The Turks,” he said, “are enslaving white people in Germany.”

Sunic spoke this March 6 at an IHR gathering in California that was attended by William Daniel Johnson and Kevin MacDonald, the chairman and director, respectively, of the A3P. In that appearance, Sunic lamented what he characterized as vindictive treatment of Germans in the aftermath of World War II.

Johnson, a lawyer who has been a white supremacist activist for nearly three decades, has run for offices in three states, losing badly each time. MacDonald is a psychology professor at California State University, Long Beach, who is best known for his anti-Semitic writings. Johnson and MacDonald formed the A3P last October and hope to eventually run candidates for political offices across the United States. The party’s simple mission statement: “The American Third Position Exists to represent the political interests of White Americans.” ( continue to full post… )

Former Militiaman in Alabama Called for Breaking Dems’ Windows

By Mark Potok on March 23, 2010 - 2:34 pm, Posted in Extremist Crime, Patriot Groups

It wasn’t quite the shot heard around the world, but the sound of glass shattering at Democratic Party offices around the country has put the spotlight on former militiaman Mike Vanderboegh, who furiously called on followers last Friday to protest health care reform by breaking Democratic windows.

Vanderboegh posted his message on his blog, Sipsey Street Irregulars, calling for “all modern Sons of Liberty” to break the windows of local Democratic Party offices. Since that time, Democratic offices across the country have reported windows smashed in an apparent response to health care reform. Vanderboegh called health care reform backers “collectivists” and added that they “certainly do not hear the soft ‘snik-snik’ of cleaning rods being used on millions of rifle barrels in this country by people who have decided their backs are to the wall.”

“[I]f you wish to send a message that [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi and her party cannot fail to hear, break their windows,” the Pinson, Ala., blogger wrote. “Break them NOW. Break them and run to break again. Break them under cover of night. Break them in broad daylight. Break them and await arrest in willful, principled civil disobedience. Break them with rocks. Break them with slingshots. Break them with baseball bats. But BREAK them.”

Vanderboegh seemed to take credit for instigating at least some of the attacks in interviews. He told the Kansas City Star that his call was meant “to get everyone’s attention.” To the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat & Chronicle, he said: “If it takes a few bricks and broken windows for people to understand how close we are to widespread violence in this country then the bricks in the windows will have been worth it.”

Vanderboegh’s blog has been used to promote the Three Percenters, an antigovernment “Patriot” group that claims to represent 3% of U.S. gun owners. The name is inspired by the 3% of American colonists believed to have actively opposed England. Vanderboegh describes himself as “the alleged leader of a merry band of Three Percenters.” In the 1990s, he was associated with radical groups including the Alabama Constitutional Militia, the Tri-States Militia and the 1st Alabama Cavalry Regiment, Constitutional Militia. ( continue to full post… )

Nativists Work to Counter Sunday’s Pro-Immigrant March

By Sonia Scherr on March 19, 2010 - 4:59 pm, Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Nativist Extremist

As thousands of people prepare to rally in Washington, D.C., this Sunday for immigration reform, nativist extremist groups are unleashing their own campaigns to counter the event.

NumbersUSA today launched “S.T.O.P. Amnesty in Four Days,” a drive to derail any immigration reform package that includes a citizenship provision for undocumented immigrants. During the four-day campaign, NumbersUSA supporters will lobby members of Congress by faxing, calling and visiting their offices. The group, including its president and founder Roy Beck, will also have a presence at the march and will feature a live webcast of the event on its homepage.

Though NumbersUSA states on its website that it’s against immigrant-bashing, that’s apparently not true of all the group’s supporters. During last week’s NumbersUSA conference call to mobilize for S.T.O.P. Amnesty, one participant asserted that activists need to let Mexican immigrant women know that they are the new “welfare queens” because they rely on U.S. tax dollars to take care of their babies, according to the Colorado Independent. NumbersUSA’s director for social media marketing, Chad MacDonald, who was moderating the call, said he appreciated the point. “We will make a note of that,” he responded. “Thank you very much.” Another caller said the children of Mexican immigrants should be called dependents rather than babies. “They have dependents,” the caller said. “We have babies.”

Among those taking part in the S.T.O.P. Amnesty campaign is William Gheen’s Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC), which “will be working around the clock this coming weekend,” according to a news release from ALIPAC. The group is also planning its own opposition to the pro-reform march, urging people to sign up for “Tea Party Against Amnesty” protests nationwide on April 15. (ALIPAC organized a first round of anti-amnesty tea parties last November.) ( continue to full post… )

Year in Hate and Extremism Webcast

By Hatewatch Staff on March 19, 2010 - 1:06 pm, Posted in Podcasts

Southern Poverty Law Center President Richard Cohen and Intelligence Project Director Mark Potok discuss the recently released annual count of hate and extremist groups.

Armed MCDC to ‘Forcefully Engage’ Border ‘Criminals’

By Sonia Scherr on March 19, 2010 - 7:39 am, Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Nativist Extremist

The leader of the nativist extremist group Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (MCDC) publicly repudiates the use of illegal tactics to secure the border against undocumented immigrants. “If one single individual steps over the line for their personal gratification, we are all stained with that irresponsible behavior, and labeled forever as a fringe element that embarrasses all who are counting on us to make a historic statement,” MCDC President Carmen Mercer wrote on the group’s website.

But Mercer doesn’t sound nearly so careful in a recent E-mail to Minutemen that repeatedly asks them to come to the border “locked and loaded” — military jargon for an assault rifle that’s ready for firing — and prepared to “forcefully engage” the “criminals” who try to cross without documentation. Monday’s “urgent alert” announced an armed border patrol operation that’s scheduled to begin on March 26 and to last until the U.S. military is deployed to secure the border.

“President Obama and John McCain have left us no choice – this March we return to the border locked, loaded and ready to stop each and every individual we encounter along the frontier that is now more dangerous than the frontier of Afghanistan,” Mercer wrote in part. “This operation will not be for the faint of heart. MCDC volunteers will work under an entire different SOP [standard operating procedure]; we will approach our duty as citizens as we should – we have a zero tolerance for any and all violations of our border and we will forcefully engage, detain, and defend our lives and country from the criminals who trample over our culture and laws. Long arms will be allowed and frankly, encouraged.”

Though MCDC has conducted armed border patrols before (and they’re perfectly legal under Arizona’s lenient gun laws), Mercer’s latest rhetoric is especially shrill. In the E-mail, she referred to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano as “an unqualified buffoon who risks the lives of American citizens every day she is the head of DHS.” She also states that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who has been more sympathetic to immigrants than many in his party, “is responsible for every death of an American citizen at the hands of illegal alien criminals and the drug cartels.”

Mercer, of Tombstone, Ariz., did not respond to an E-mail message sent yesterday seeking clarification of her statements. In addition, her voice mail was full and would not accept messages. A German immigrant and longtime Minuteman leader, Mercer was named in lawsuit filed by the Arizona attorney general’s last summer after a post office box she owned was included in a property tax solicitation aimed at scamming homeowners.  Mercer claimed that she had opened the post office box for a friend and didn’t know it would be used in the alleged fraud.