The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Editor’s note: Since this story was published, authorities have revised their suspicions that the suspect was carrying out an attack aimed at all Muslims. In fact, it turns out that Roger Stockham is an American convert to Sunni Islam, and reportedly was angry at the mosque in question because it was Shi’ite.
A 63-year-old Southern California man who reportedly has “a long history of antigovernment activities” was arrested in a car laden with explosives outside one of the nation’s largest mosques, the authorities said Sunday. More than 500 members of the Dearborn, Mich., mosque were attending a funeral service at the time.
Police said Roger Stockham was arrested last Monday, Jan. 24, in the parking lot of the Islamic Center of America, where he’d apparently driven from California in a vehicle filled with M-80s and other illegal explosives. He was arraigned last Wednesday on charges of making a terrorist threat and possessing explosives with unlawful intent. The charges carry possible prison sentences of 20 and 15 years.
The apparent anti-Islam terror plot comes after a year of apparently increasing hatred directed at Muslims in America. That was most obvious last August, when a national controversy erupted over a planned Islamic center in Manhattan, stoked by politicians like Newt Gingrich, who compared Muslims to Nazis. More recently, U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), the new chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, announced plans for February hearings into “radical Islam.” King has said there are “too many mosques” in the United States and this January claimed that “80% of the mosques in this country are controlled by radical imams.” ( continue to full post… )
The last time we met Jacques Pluss, a former history professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University who was fired after his ties to neo-Nazism surfaced in 2005, he was in the midst of a serious identity crisis. One minute, he was an avowed white supremacist proudly standing behind his statements, only to claim in the next that he was an academic sleuth infiltrating the world of racists.
That debate was apparently settled this week when the New Jersey State Police arrested Pluss, 57, on charges he threatened Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Police began looking at Pluss after the ADL gave them E-mails Foxman had received from Pluss, who was charged with intimidation, harassment, weapons possession and contempt of a judicial order on Wednesday. He was held at the Bergen County Jail before being released on a $25,000 bail.
Investigators said Pluss’ neo-Nazi ties were unquestionable, and that he had frequently visited neo-Nazi Web pages. ( continue to full post… )
A federal grand jury Wednesday indicted Jeffery Harbin, 28, of Apache Junction, Ariz., on three counts of possessing explosive devices. Harbin, who has ties to the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement (NSM) and was formerly a member of the neo-Nazi National Alliance, had in his possession 12 grenade-like improvised explosive devices. They were built with PVC pipe and filled with black powder, ball bearings, and an improvised fusing system.
The indictment alleges that Harbin unlawfully transported one of the devices. He was pulled over by law enforcement while driving his pickup truck on January 14 in Apache Junction. Dennis K. Burke, U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona, told ABC15 News that “Jeffery Harbin built these IEDs in such a away as to maximize human carnage.” If found guilty, Harbin faces up to 10 years in prison for each count and the possibility of a $250,000 fine. ( continue to full post… )
Three former Pennsylvania police officers who were accused of conspiring to cover up the beating death of a Mexican immigrant two years ago were cleared on Thursday of the most serious charges against them. But the verdict did not absolve them of all wrongdoing.
The officers were accused of altering official statements of witnesses, concealing evidence and helping two high school boys and their families create a story to hide the racial nature of the attack and shift a measure of blame in the beating death. Former Shenandoah police chief Matthew Nestor and two other officers, William Moyer and Jason Hayes, were found not guilty on Thursday of conspiracy to obstruct a federal investigation.
Greeley, Colo., school board member Brett Reese doesn’t understand why anyone would think him a racist just because he repeatedly broadcast a mean-spirited and one-sided text trashing the character of civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – a presentation adored by white supremacists everywhere.
For more than two weeks around the Jan. 17 official celebration of King’s birthday, Reese broadcast a 1994 essay by Kevin Alfred Strom called “The Beast as Saint: The Truth About ‘Martin Luther King, Jr.’” on KELS 104.7 FM The Pirate, a low-power radio station Reese owns. The commentary describes King as a plagiarizer, “America-hating communist” and sexual degenerate who didn’t deserve a national holiday. Reese has marked the holiday in the same manner for three years.
Reese has said he aired Strom’s essay not for racial reasons, but only as an exercise in free speech, critical thinking and debate. ( continue to full post… )
Over the last several years, Suffolk County, N.Y., has been a hotbed of anti-Latino hate, a place that became infamous for the brutal murder of an Ecuadorian immigrant by a gang of white teens who were out for a night of “beaner hopping.”
County Executive Steve Levy (right) has taken his share of criticism for not only failing to protect the county’s Latino community but for fanning the flames of bigotry. An investigation by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2009 documented widespread violence against Latinos in the county and cited the indifference of local authorities. The U.S. Department of Justice soon thereafter launched an investigation into discriminatory policing in the county.
Now come explosive new allegations from the former commander of the police unit charged with solving hate crimes in the county. ( continue to full post… )
Two men charged with attempting to kill police officers in Hemet, Calif., used what prosecutors are calling a white power “guerrilla warfare manual” to guide a nine-month campaign of terror and violence against the police department, its buildings and vehicles.
The anonymously written “White Resistance Manual” was posted on the website WhiteHonor.org and contained do-it-yourself guides that Nicholas John Smit and Steven Hansen used to build such guerrilla-styled weapons as zip guns and “Panji boards” – spiked boards rigged with trip wires, according to Daniel DeLimon, a prosecutor with the district attorney in Riverside, Calif. “It’s basically a guerrilla warfare manual instructing people on different types of weapons, on creating weapons, on police investigations, basically how to conduct covert urban operations,” DeLimon told HateWatch in a telephone interview.
Today, the Southern Poverty Law Center released a new report, “When Mr. Kobach Comes to Town: Nativist Laws & the Communities They Damage.” The report analyzes the disastrous aftermath for communities that have enacted local ordinances aimed at punishing undocumented immigrants. Last year, the first statewide version of these laws was passed in Arizona. Several other states and communities are also considering such legislation.
The report examines the role of Kris Kobach, the lawyer most responsible for these ordinances. For the better part of the past six years, Kobach has been chief legal counsel to the Immigration Reform Law Institute, the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). The SPLC lists FAIR as a hate group because of its promotion of white nationalism and its longstanding ties to prominent white supremacists.
In addition to the Arizona statute, Kobach helped write and defend nativist ordinances in Hazleton, Pa.; Valley Park, Mo.; Farmers Branch, Texas; and Fremont, Neb.
For those communities who have worked with Kobach, the results have been devastating. As the new SPLC report documents, these harsh anti-immigrant laws have burdened taxpayers with millions in legal expenses and destroyed the business climate and downtown business districts in these communities.
The four towns and one state examined in this report also saw a crisis in race relations as conflicts between Latino immigrants and mostly white natives escalated. Latinos reported being threatened, shot at, subjected to racial taunts and more. Angry protests and counter-protests have rocked one town after another. Pro-immigrant activists have been threatened with notes that promise to “shed blood” to “take back” communities. For these communities, the aftermath of these laws has simply been a trail of tears.
Editor’s Note: After publishing a professor’s article Friday about the effect of heated rhetoric on political violence, Hatewatch was contacted by another professor who similarly argued that the toxic political environment was a factor in the attempted assassination of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Pierre Atlas, an associate professor of political science and director of the Richard G. Lugar Franciscan Center for Global Studies at Marian University in Indianapolis, offered us his own thoughts on the matter in the article below. His column was first published by the Indianapolis Star on Jan. 12.
By Pierre Atlas
Words don’t kill. But reckless language can create an environment of hate, fear and hysteria that incites deadly acts of violence. ( continue to full post… )
Controversial Florida pastor Terry Jones, who got worldwide attention last September because of his “International Burn a Koran Day,” has been denied entry into the United Kingdom. Jones, pastor at Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., had been invited to speak and participate in a series of anti-Islam demonstrations next month put on by a group called England is Ours (EIO), based in Milton Keynes, located in southeastern England.
Jones was officially banned Wednesday, but he’s been on British Home Secretary Theresa May’s radar for a few months, she told Sky News, a media outlet. She had been actively considering a ban on Jones since early December when another group, the virulently anti-Islamic English Defence League (EDL), extended him an invitation. May explained that the home secretary “has the right to exclude people who are not conducive to public good or on national security grounds.” A British Home Office spokesman said of the decision to bar Jones that his “numerous comments … are evidence of his unacceptable behaviour.” ( continue to full post… )