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

Death of an Assassin: The Order’s Bruce Pierce Dies in Prison

By Wally Hilke on August 18, 2010 - 9:19 am, Posted in Anti-Black, Anti-Semitic, Extremist Crime

Bruce Carroll Pierce, the gunman in the 1984 murder in Denver of Jewish talk show host Alan Berg, died Monday afternoon of natural causes. He was 56 years old and serving the 23rd year of a 252-year sentence at the Allenwood Federal Correctional Complex in Pennsylvania.

Pierce was a founding member of the right-wing terrorist group The Order, which went on a crime spree in 1983 and 1984. The Order’s goals included the assassination of racial enemies and the creation of a guerilla army to resist and overthrow the U.S. government. The group funded its activities by counterfeiting money and by committing a string of armed robberies, culminating in the July 1984 theft of $3.6 million from an armored car on a highway in Ukiah, Calif.

Alan Berg’s offense was vigorously insulting white supremacists and adherents of the anti-Semitic Christian Identity theology on his call-in radio program on KOA-AM. He was selected for death after members of The Order, which was also known as the Bruders Schweigen (German for Silent Brotherhood), decided that two others higher on their assassination list — TV producer Norman Lear, whose work lampooned bigotry, and Morris Dees, co-founder of the anti-racist Southern Poverty Law Center — would be too hard to get to. Pierce shot Berg 13 times with a MAC-10 machine gun on the evening of June 18, 1984. Another member of The Order, David Lane, drove the getaway car, while still others served as lookouts.

The Order was founded in September 1983 by Robert Jay Mathews, who was then the Pacific Northwest coordinator for the neo-Nazi National Alliance, based in West Virginia, and also an associate of the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations of Idaho. (Mathews lived in Metaline Falls, Wash., at the time.) Mathews took the name of the group from The Turner Diaries, a futuristic race war novel written by William Pierce, founder and leader of the National Alliance. Ultimately, more than 20 people, including many members of the Aryan Nations and other groups, joined. In addition to the assassination of Berg, members also murdered one of their own who they thought had loose lips. In the end, the group was uncovered by authorities who caught a member passing counterfeit bills and “turned” him. Mathews was tracked to a house on Whidbey Island, Wash., and killed in a fiery 1984 shootout with federal agents. His death is still commemorated annually by hard-line white supremacists.

Bruce Pierce was captured in March 1985 and eventually sentenced to a total of 252 years in prison in the course of trials for the murder and various other crimes. At a 1986 trial for racketeering and armored car robbery, he remained unrepentant. “I’m not going to waste your time or mine and beg for mercy,” he told the judge. “Whatever happens, I’d like to bring honor to myself, glory to my brother kinsmen and glory to God.” He never recanted his white supremacist views.

On the hate website “Free The Order,” Bruce Pierce and his compatriots are honored by white nationalists. The site contains biographies of the Order’s founders, articles written by Order members while in prison, and even a guestbook where well-wishers can leave comments. Visitors can also sign up for the “Adopt A Bruder” program and pledge to donate a certain amount of money to a jailed Order member every month. To this day, many Neo-Nazis and other white nationalists still revere The Order; its members did things that others only talked about.

The story of The Order and its battle against the “Zionist Occupation Government” (or ZOG, meaning the federal government) has become mythic on the radical right. It has inspired numerous acts of violence and attempted violence, including a St. Louis copycat group known as The New Order. That group’s members plotted unsuccessfully to assassinate the SPLC’s Dees and to rob banks. One brought a pistol to a 1997 speech by Dees, but turned back when faced with a metal detector.

More importantly, perhaps, The Order marked a watershed in the history of the American extreme right. Before its campaign of terror, most radical-right groups, like the Klan, had sought to restore what they imagined were the good old days — a world in which black people knew their place and whites ruled. At times, they were aided by sympathetic authorities of one kind or another, especially in the South. But The Order, acting on the vision of the National Alliance’s William Pierce, sought to completely overthrow the existing order in the United States. It was revolutionary, not restorationist, seeking to build a 100% white, independent nation with little resemblance to the America that preceded the Civil War.

In prison, Pierce was largely abandoned by his allies. Of all of the men who served Mathews’ cause, only David Lane, who died in prison in May 2007, remained seriously involved in white nationalist discourse after imprisonment. (Lane wrote the movement’s most famous motto, the so-called “14 Words”: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White children.” He also expressed some his creepy attraction to two 14-year-old girls.) Pierce complained of his isolation in a letter from prison quoted in Leonard Zeskind’s 2009 book Blood and Politics: “There is no mail and no assistance at all. … [F]rankly, it hurts to see mongrel drug dealers, pimps, and the ungodly receive more attention.”

Still, commenters on the neo-Nazi Web forum Vanguard News Network have been sending up valedictories on the great Bruce Pierce since his death Monday. “A belated thank you, Bruce, for silencing forever that horrendous, croaking kike,” wrote “Rottenfuhrer.” “Rest in peace Brother,” added “SA Mann.” “I’m sure he is up there in Valhalla having a nice tall cold one with Bob Mathews. … Hail the Order!” And, from “Hawthorne”: “Rest Well Bruce. Your name is now etched alongside the other warriors and heroes of our movement — forever!”

  • Barth

    Since the Order, the white nationalists have done nothing but talk. They are all too addicted to earning money the legal way to organize as the Order did. Also, they are not as willing to risk themselves as the members of the Order were. They are comfortable braggarts. They have no depth to their violence. You pick off the occasional gang that rises from among them, and you find that’s all there is. Nobody else rises to take the places of their fallen. These are not heroes; they are people who want someone else to be a hero for them while they, themselves, supply what they obviously consider to be valuable inspiration with their mighty talks. I think that the common addiction to the Jesus religion has made them overly reliant on the sudden appearance of a deliverer, such that they can no longer stand up for themselves.

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  • Sheldon L. McCormick

    The line said said that Pierce was abandoned by many of his allies, who once may have cheered his slaying of Berg ,was caused not by blacks or Jews, but one simple explaination–human nature. People’s priorities change. They may now have children or other loved ones to consider. To some, getting a job in the Great Recession is now more an effort to stuff cash in their own pocket instead of in the Klan or neo-Nazi collection bucket. Some may have rejected violence due to religious, personal or moral reasons.Others have realized that terrorism will only get whites, not a homeland, but jail, state or federal imprisonment, hefty fines or even the death penalty,like Klansman Henry Hayes received in June 1997 in Alabama for murdering a young black man, Michael Donald, in 1981. Some have, for many reasons, lost their taste in oppressing others. Other have come to realize that the white supremacy movement have duped its members. Of course, there are still the fanatical believers in racism who will only surrender their involvement only through death. Most think that white racism is a thing of the past. And should remained there as well.

  • Sheldon L. McCormick

    The old saying, “Love is blind” may also be applied to race hatred. Women and men like the late Bruce Pierce, who, like everyone else, was not born with such hatred, but influenced and led astray by its seductive, dramatic qualities. It fits as an outlet for those to whom life dealt a bad hand, provided an opportunity to succeed at something major, be a good source of financial gain and display a degree of strenth among folks who have little or none in the first place. Whether those folks are in white supremacist groups, street, prison or motorcycle gangs or more acceptable circles in American society, strong emotions and sentiments, as well as unrelenting bigotry, will always draw extremists like Pierce into hate-fueled groups. Sentiments fueled by love, peace, understanding and tolerance toward others leaves a much better legacy than those of virulent as well as violent racism.

  • Sheldon L. McCormick

    The demise of neo-Nazi and white supremacists figured such as assassinated American Nazi Party founder and leader George Lincoln Rockwell and the recent death of Bruce Carroll Pierce in a federal prison of natural causes is cheered among opponents of theirs. But only their physical presence are gone. Racism, in variants ranging from slur and Internet propaganda to the old time rough and ready Klan nightriding, remains alive. It is passed on to succeeding generations and, for some, remains a means to personal and monetary advancement for some. Decent , tolerant and good society awaits racism’s death and burial.

  • Sheldon L. McCormick

    The death of Bruce Carroll Pierce, the convicted killer of radio talk show host Alan Berg in 1984 and neo-Nazi terrorist is in some circles being hailed and mourned. But his federal prison cell passing has not led to the demise of racism, intolerance and the violence these breed, As noted by the mosque planned near New York City site of the Twin Towers tragedy and the hijinks of the Tea Party, bigotry remains a problem. It adopts to the times, takes new, advanced forms, sweetened and legitimized, but its evil spirit is still the same. Pierce will, or has been, buried or cremated. It is too bad that prejudice can’t be disposed of the same way.

  • ronald

    Oh Boy!!!
    Jeremy the illegals didn’t take your job, Companies like Koch Industries, Wal-Mart, Credit Card Industries and the like Shipped your job Over Seas, they call it Out Sourcing
    Jeremy I don’t think you would, pick some vegetables,watch other peoples kids, or clean bathrooms!
    Why don’t you do something productive maybe organize a Union!
    So now you want to meet some one at High Noon Man To Man!
    If thats the case. The Russian would be waiting a long time for you to show up!
    Stop trying to blame other people for your short comings!!!!

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Jeremy, you are now officially an Internet Tough Guy. You could have continued the debate here, but because you are a coward, you decide to make pathetic passive-aggressive challenges. I say good riddance to your “race.”

  • Jeremy C. Pierce

    As I stated before, I would be more than pleased to meet you anywhere and discuss this more as men in

  • Chuck

    In fact, my “Hatewatch” e-mail that directed me here includes a link to the Center’s profile on NBBP member Malik Zulu Shabazz…now, you were saying?

  • Chuck

    Lou, if you did some more digging, you would’ve seen that the SPLC does indeed cover cases of black racism…check some back issues of their print publication, the Intelligence Report, if you don’t believe me.

    As for that hatemonger Bruce Pierce, allow me to quote Rev. Lovejoy from the Simpsons: “See you in hell…from heaven!”.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Thank you for picking up the gauntlet:

    “How about forced intergration in schooling?”

    How is this extermination? If you want to exterminate a people, the first thing you should do is segregate them.

    “The media pushing the idea that is “cool and hip” to mix and marry?”

    You know I lived in the US most of my life and I never saw any advertisements saying it’s “cool and hip” to have interracial relationships. My guess is your social awkwardness or inferiority complex causes you to focus in on displays of interracial relationships more than other people do.

    “How about that we can police the world but we cannot police our own border from illegals coming in and taking all the American jobs?”

    Stop and take a deep breath. Illegals are coming in and “taking all American jobs”? What? Immigrants don’t take jobs. In fact, nobody really takes jobs. People who own means of production give out jobs to whomever they want. There is this thing called the labor market and because profits can be made by exploiting workers, they will tend to give the jobs to those who will do them for less. Even better if their immigration status means they can’t complain or organize. They become workers without a voice or rights.

    And much of that “policing” the world you speak of is designed to perpetuate this kind of system throughout the world.

    “How about when I speak of White Pride I am automatically labeled a racist but when your Jews or Blacks do it we should feel sorry for you?”

    Well let’s see- Jews are a religion. “Black” isn’t exactly an ethnicity but these people lost their ethnicity(usually West African) against their will. There are more than enough celebrations of Irish, German, Polish, English, Scotish, etc. pride in America, and nobody throws a fit about that. So why do you think it is “white pride”? Maybe it has something to do with the repression bound up in that identity “white”(which in many Americans’ mind, includes Jews).

    “How about forced intergration of the Morman people by the federal government?”

    Mormons, like Jews, are a religion. Without knowing exactly what event you are referring to I can’t say much more on this matter, save for the fact that the US federal government exercises authority in its territory according to the US constitution.

    I could go on and on all day but as I am sure I will be edited just as your people do with the media to mold the truth into something that fits the agenda, I wont.”

    You probably could go on all day with fallacious reasoning and innuendo. Statistics on the net worth and employment of “white people” in the US show that they are doing pretty well for a group supposedly facing extermination.

    “I think it is pretty obvious what a “Race” of people is, if you cannot figure that one out Ruslan I suggest Wilki online or the Websters dictionary. And to point out, “race” to me means pride in ones race, not hate for others.”

    No it’s not obvious. Explain who the “White race” is. Then I will show you why you are completely wrong and out of touch with historical reality. Come on, it will be fun and educational.

    ” We only want what the Jewish people stole from the Palistinians in Israel, a country/land for our own race.”

    You have this, it’s called Europe. It’s not the Jews fault that Europeans don’t see themselves as white, or that they are capitalist states driven by the profit motive like everyone else.

    ” I would have to say the Jewish race is the most racist of all if you look at the whole picture.”

    Jews are not a “race”. “Jews” may vary in appearance from Nordic European to black African(and yes, Jews face problems with racism between groups like this in Israel). It’s obvious that you probably wouldn’t accept Tajiks or many Iranians as “white” even though they are Indo-European and in the former’s case, descendents of the original Aryans. How is it one “race” is supposed to look a certain way but another race can basically look like any other race and still be a definite race? Yet another example of how WNism is internally inconsistent.

    ” I say again your negative comments show us the true nature of your race. ”

    I’m going to save you some embarrassment by not pointing out your sad, pathetic internet tough guy challenge. But I’m curious, who is “our race'”. I mean I’m 100% indisputably “white” by any WN’s standards- just like the majority of people opposed to WNism.

  • Jeremy C. Pierce

    Sure Ruslan!
    If they don’t edit my statements as they did so obviously in the last posting I made.
    How about forced intergration in schooling?
    The media pushing the idea that is “cool and hip” to mix and marry?
    How about that we can police the world but we cannot police our own border from illegals coming in and taking all the American jobs?
    How about when I speak of White Pride I am automatically labeled a racist but when your Jews or Blacks do it we should feel sorry for you?
    How about forced intergration of the Morman people by the federal government?
    I could go on and on all day but as I am sure I will be edited just as your people do with the media to mold the truth into something that fits the agenda, I wont. Thing is, the more you blast our people and ideas the stronger our resolve gets as well as it opens more eyes. Please keep the negative comments coming.
    I think it is pretty obvious what a “Race” of people is, if you cannot figure that one out Ruslan I suggest Wilki online or the Websters dictionary. And to point out, “race” to me means pride in ones race, not hate for others. We only want what the Jewish people stole from the Palistinians in Israel, a country/land for our own race. I would have to say the Jewish race is the most racist of all if you look at the whole picture.
    Please look back and notice not once have I insulted anyone here even after all the negative statements. I say again your negative comments show us the true nature of your race. If you would like we could discuss this more in person as men, I would love to meet you!
    God, Race, Truth

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Jeremy please present evidence that there is a plan to exterminate the “White race”, and please explain what the “White race” is. If you cannot do either, you may respond to this by simply posting the line: “Terribly sorry, I am a complete jackass.”

  • Jeremy C. Pierce

    Oh by the way Mr. Dee’s, I thank you for inviting me to come here and post on your website. The White Race is a people of action not just talk, so I would like to invite all those that made negative comments about Mr. Pierce to my home for some wonderful eastern style grilled. It is VERY imformative and I see you even have a small Jewish following. I would like to tell them though that

    One thing I would like to clear up is that Bruce Pierce remained true and never stopped believing the actions taken were just and necessary, and his faith in God only grew stronger everyday! Not once EVER did he turn his back on our race or the choices made which finally put him in prison, far from his family.

    I can understand all the negative comments about his passing though, it is in your people’s nature to be cruel to other races. We are goy or cattle in your eyes anyway, right? From your own Talmud, who is the racist again?
    God, Race, Truth

  • Lou

    I am dragging Blacks into it because SPLC covers only white racism. I did Search this site for anything on the NBPP and I got 3 little stories that didnt touch on anything negative. SPLC is anti-white biased. Period. End of story.

  • JohnLloydScharf

    I suspect that, like many of the homosocial Nazis, he had an affection for men. His last picture does not look like the one shown. He looked emaciated as though he had AIDS.

  • Jeremy C. Pierce

    I can see many here who will have a real awakening soon.
    No matter what you may say it doesn’t make the truth change. There IS an agenda to end the White race and this man and others only did what anyone would do to prevent his family from being killed.
    And when one falls 3 more arise in his place, the masses are almost ready.
    God, Race, Truth

  • andrew griggs

    Of all the nazis & wannabe nazis only a few (maybe 1%) are not cowards. The vast majority of them are afraid of their one shadow. I hate to say this, but perhaps it is time for decent people to show the world that white supremists are cowardly scum who are afraid to fight someone their own size.

  • zorg

    Refering to someone as a sped is negative discrimination. Why do you hate speds so much?

  • Mike Magruder

    Looks like Bruce the Great White shark lost it’s dorsal fin to the soup kettle. Only problem is that the rest of the beast is still under there and hungry as ever. Like a U Boat with its periscope shot off the white supremist machinery is still a potential threat. There’s probably an auxiliary scope available with plenty of torpedos at the ready. I’d say it’s time to use a few political depth charges as a precaution.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Lou, first of all it isn’t important that a MAC-10 is a machine pistol and not a machine gun. There are plenty of people who don’t know what a MAC-10 looks like but if they read “machine gun” they understand that if throws out a lot of bullets.

    And had you bothered to actually look, you would see that the SPLC does cover non-white racist and extremists groups. The thing is that the New Black Panther Party is extremely marginalized. But perhaps you can do some research to find out how many people were killed by the NBPP, and then we can compare it to organized White Supremacy’s body count. Will you do it?

  • muaythai

    Why would you use the term, “right-wing terrorist?” It’s reactionary and inflammatory, not accurate or smart.

  • skinnyminny

    Lou Stouch,
    This is about Bruce Pierce, not the black panthers. Besides, why is it that anytime something negative comes up that people have to DRAG blacks into it? I’m sure, that when the black panthers do something wrong the SPLC will mention it. There is NO pass for anyone!

  • Beverly Kurtin, Ph.D.

    If those poor begotten bigots really were godly, they would read that those who bless the Jews will be blessed and those that curse them will be cursed.

    ALL HUMANITY had its birth in Africa which means that all people have black blood in them; bet that thought turns those people’s minds. Maybe they can cut their carotid arteries and get rid of the black blood they have?

  • Lou Stouch

    Does SPLC cover the New Black Panthers in here anywhere (on the site, not in this arrticle)? Seems they wanna kill crackers and honkies and should definitely be in the coverage universe.

  • Lou Stouch

    Just to set the record straight, a MAC 10 is a machine pistol, not a machine gun. Essentially its a 9mm pistol with an extended clip.

  • Herbert E. Larson

    I can only say I am sad, sad that he was only 56yrs. old he should have lived into his nineties.

  • Klars

    It’s a demonstration of how devolved the goose-stepping meat puppets of the world really are. Hopefully the team leader “rottie” and the rest his, als wischt, buddies join him real soon.

  • Carter

    “In prison, Pierce was largely abandoned by his allies.”

    This is VERY common. There once was a man who said that “there was no Aryan Brotherhood: but there is ‘the Heroin brotherhood'”. By that he meant that inside prison the alliances are based on issues far aside from the theatrics of WN.
    In prison all the old alliances changes due to the realities of life in prison. MANY, if not MOST of the WN have no idea that this exists & waits for them as a way of life.. The shock and disappointment is more than just crushing; it affects many who then have the time to think about what their lifestyle rewarded them with.
    On occasion, some WN have a moderate to profound change of heart.
    Most people know that the level of informants outside of prison is astounding & those who reflect on what their twisted views of the world yielded in so far as their existence, often suffer both feelings of abandonment, betrayal, and profound disappointment
    But you can’t be disillusioned if you don’t have illusions in the first place……
    “There is no mail and no assistance at all. …”
    No….and basically, that’s not unique. A few lines from “internet commandos” is all that will remain of a wasted life and a philosophy of hate and murder.

    It’s those “private three o’clock in the morning depressions” that don’t appear to abandon those who have abandoned decency, charity, compassion, & humanity.
    As for “brotherhood, comradely, & fellowship”, WN had better wise up damn fast because they are in for a very, very bitter existence; no matter WHERE they spend their last days.

    In general, it’s those three o’clock in the morning reflections that flood back. And the REALITY that they will not be remembered (if remembered at all) for being a productive member of society. The legacy will be much the same as many others of their collective: a life wasted on a lie & an existence of harming (not helping) others.

    One of the most powerful things is that just as they showed no compassion for others; very few can ever think of anything compassionate, loving, productive, or even useful to remember them by.
    Commemorating hate & leaving a legacy of pain…. what a waste of existence.

  • Mason Green

    He’s not in Valhalla, he’s in val-Hell-a.

  • daemonesslisa

    So the speds want to donate money to the Order? Idiots and whatever little money they have are easily parted!

    Anyway, another one down, hopefully more to come.

  • Snorlax

    These nutjobs are infecting the entire right wing in America.

    The Teabaggers are full of these Klan Nazi whackos.

    And they prove it when they post in here. Every day.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Free the Order is pretty funny. Yes, the U.S. Government would TOTALLY free a group of guys who plotted to start an insurgency to hack off part of the US.