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Recent weeks have seen one attack and one stymied attack on abortion clinics around the country. Both have shared a subplot of anti-Muslim extremism.
On Sept. 2, in the small central California city of Madera, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at the local Planned Parenthood building, the first such attack suffered by the clinic in its 20 years of operation. Following the bombing, local news reports described burnt blinds on the front lawn and boarded-up windows. “I believe it’s extremists who want to make a statement,” said Patsy Montgomery, the clinic’s public affairs director.
Federal agents did not have to travel far to investigate: The FBI was already in Madera looking into the late August vandalizing of a mosque involving bricks and anti-Muslim graffiti. The mosque attack was just one incident in a wave of bias-motivated violence that has been building momentum all summer. ( continue to full post… )
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Jim Cavanaugh always was a lawman’s lawman — a career official of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) who was in on some of the most celebrated cases of criminal extremists in this country’s recent history. Before retiring this spring after 33 ½ years with the ATF, he worked as a top official on the Branch Davidian standoff in Waco, Texas; the five-year hunt for white supremacist abortion clinic bomber and cop-killer Eric Rudolph; church burnings around the country; and the hunt for the Unabomber. Last year, before his retirement, Cavanaugh was recognized for these contributions with the International Association of Chiefs of Police Civil Rights Award for his fight against radical-right extremists.
Last week, Cavanaugh published an essay on the ongoing controversy about the planned Islamic Center in New York City and the apparent spate of anti-Muslim hate crimes. Cavanaugh points out that Al Qaeda extremists no more represent Islam than Klan terrorists represent Christianity. “Muslims don’t feel responsible for 9/11 because they are not — not any more than Christians feel responsible for the terrorist acts of the Ku Klux Klan.” Read the whole essay here.
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Most film critics have come to a similar conclusion about Robert Rodriguez’s new film, “Machete.” With few exceptions, the movie has been received as a directorially accomplished and modestly enjoyable comic-book revenge fantasy — easy to look at, easy to laugh at, and easy to forget. There is, of course, a contemporary twist. Critics also invariably note the ultraviolent operetta’s cartoonish pro-immigrant politics, in which virtuous Mexican day laborers struggle against and defeat villainous drug lords and murderous Anglo border vigilantes.
More gore-ality than morality tale, the film essentially does for the border what Rodriguez’s friend Quentin Tarantino did for the Third Reich in “Inglourious Basterds.” Which is to say, he turns it into a vehicle for guts-splattered slapstick mixed with fact and fancy, heavy on the fancy. It is an argument for comprehensive immigration reform by way of Tromaville. A film in which a man swings down the side of a building using another man’s intestines as a rope, as Danny Trejo’s title character does, is not taking itself very seriously. Nor, say critics, should it invite audiences to do so. “The only viewers [“Machete”] is likely to upset are the same kind of people who once claimed that the purple Tinky Winky in ‘Teletubbies’ promoted a gay agenda,” wrote Stephen Holder of The New York Times. Or, as “Machete” costar Michelle Rodriguez told Cinematical, “It’s a freaking exploitation film. If anybody tries to take [it] seriously, [as a] political statement, I would laugh at them.”
Rodriguez has been laughing for over a week now, because since the film’s release on Sept. 3, some usual suspects have concluded that Tinky Winky is now part of the Aztlan plot. For the more outraged conservative critics of “Machete,” the spectacle of America’s first Latino action hero laying waste to cartoon rednecks the way John Rambo once laid waste to cartoon commies is too much to bear. For them, “Machete” is a harbinger of race war, if not the geographical disintegration of the country itself. “The Reconquista is here—at a theater near you,” wrote FoxNews.com contributor James Pinkerton, referring a nativist conspiracy theory about Mexico plotting to “reconquer” the American Southwest that is also known as the Plan de Aztlan. Richard Spencer, a former American Conservative editor who now edits AlternativeRight.com, sniffed that the movie was “a catalogue of depraved and predictably left-wing outrages” whose only message is “Kill Whitey! Kill Whitey! Kill Whitey!” ( continue to full post… )
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The last few years have been trying for New Mexico anti-Semite and militia proponent Clayton Douglas, but that hasn’t dampened his entrepreneurial spirit — or the high esteem in which he holds himself.
Douglas, 64, is a motorcycle aficionado who used to publish a biker magazine called Thunder Riders and another periodical titled Free American. The latter was a showcase for conspiracy theories, offbeat medical remedies and anti-Semitic screeds, such as “Are the Jews Behind the Destruction of America?” He also was information officer for the New Mexico Militia in the 1990s, sold tracts of the anti-Semitic Christian Identity theology at a 2002 expo, and blamed Jews for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks at another conference. As if that wasn’t enough, he was for a time mayor of the tiny hamlet of Bingham, N.M., which he succeeded in having declared a “U.N.-free zone.” He self-published a couple of “adventure novels” he said were modeled on John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee series. And he broadcast a daily shortwave radio program.
But Douglas’ world crashed in 2004, when he was struck by a car while riding his motorcycle. He says he was hospitalized for four months with severe head and other injuries and doctors gave his family little hope he would survive, or, if he did, have all his faculties. “The doctors had no idea of the sort of man Clay Douglas was,” he writes of himself in the third person on his website. ( continue to full post… )
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A superior court in Arizona has ruled that Chris Simcox, the disgraced former head of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (MCDC), must continue to maintain distance from his estranged wife Alena and their children. In recent years, MCDC was one of the most important of the country’s anti-immigration extremist groups, but the organization has been considerably weakened of late.
“The court finds that conflicting testimony has been presented on every allegation and the court must make a determination of credibility,” The Washington Times quotes Maricopa County Superior Court Commissioner J. Justin McGuire as writing in his decision. “The court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that there is reasonable cause to believe that the defendant has committed an act of domestic violence within the last year. The court further finds that good cause exists to continue the order of protection in this case.” ( continue to full post… )
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Although it’s a small town of about 7,800, Pulaski, Tenn. may well be the white supremacist epicenter of the nation — at least if the number of rallies held there by bigoted groups is any indication.
The mayor and other residents aren’t pleased. “There’s never been a local person involved in these marches or rallies,” Mayor Daniel Speer told Hatewatch this week. But they’re resigned to being a favorite locale for the haters on the American radical right. Speer’s town is more than one-quarter black, but it has for decades been a favorite place for white supremacist groups to rally because of one unfortunate historical fact: This was where the Ku Klux Klan was born.
The next such event on tap in Pulaski: the annual European Heritage Festival, scheduled for Oct. 23. The event, despite its name, has the heavy footprint of the Klan all over it. Sponsors include the Christian Revival Center led by long-time Arkansas Klan leader Thom Robb; the Knights Party USA (better known by its original name of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan), which is Robb’s “political” organization; Voice of Reason radio, which features interviews with white nationalist luminaries such as Jamie Kelso and Tomislav Sunic; and Abundant Life Fellowship of Morgantown, Ind. ( continue to full post… )
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The gunman holding hostages in the Silver Spring, Md., headquarters of the Discovery Channel has been tentatively identified as James Jay Lee, an apparent eco-fascist who thinks that immigrants are breeding “filthy human children” and helping to wreck the planet. Lee, 43, had been arrested in February 2008 at a rally he organized outside the same building to demand the channel help find solutions to the global population explosion and the extinction of many animal species.
Authorities said the man — who they said they had not positively identified yet —walked into the building early this afternoon with a gun and what appeared to be explosive canisters attached to his body. At about 3:15 p.m. Eastern, police said they were negotiating with the man, who was holding “a small number of hostages.” They said they knew of no injuries, despite an early unconfirmed report that at least one shot was fired during the incident.
In a list of demands he apparently posted before invading the Discovery building, Lee, whose MySpace page identifies him as a Silver Springs resident, repeatedly spoke of “parasitic human infants” and “unwanted pollution babies” and furiously argued that humans were destroying the planet with pollution, war and over-population. But unlike earlier eco-terrorists like Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Lee zeroed in on immigrants as a primary evil. He spoke of “anchor baby filth,” a reference to babies born in the United States to undocumented immigrants. ( continue to full post… )
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We Are Change (WAC) is an organization that likes to quote Martin Luther King Jr., Einstein, Gandhi and others talking about the evils of war. It describes itself as a nonviolent “citizens based grassroots peace and social justice movement” and reacted angrily this year when the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) described it as part of the antigovernment “Patriot” movement, which is obsessed with alleged government conspiracies. Its leader, Luke Rudkowski, complained at the time that the SPLC said nothing of WAC’s alleged “raising money for 9/11 first responders, toy drives during the holidays, clothing drives and feeding the homeless.”
But WAC’s Los Angeles chieftain, at least, may not be quite the pacifistic type that Rudkowski likes to showcase. This past May, Bruno Ernst Bruhwiler was charged with four criminal counts related to making threats, according to the Los Angeles Superior Court’s website. Three of the counts were for making threats (Rudkowski says that Bruhwiler was charged with making “terroristic” threats), including against an “executive officer” (apparently a law enforcement or court official) carrying out his duties. The fourth count is for “willful disobedience” of a court order. ( continue to full post… )