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

The Radical Right Responds to the Tucson Shootings

By Heidi Beirich on January 10, 2011 - 12:47 pm, Posted in Antigovernment, White Nationalism

Leave it to Fred Phelps and his rabidly anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) to provide the most heinous response to this weekend’s shooting in Tucson that left six people dead and 14 others wounded, most notably U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

In a flier posted to the WBC website, the group, whose members plan to picket the funerals of those murdered, writes, “God appointed this rod for your sins! God sent the shooter!” The flier continues, “Your federal judge is dead and your (fag-promoting, baby-killing, proud-sinner) Congresswoman fights for her life. God is avenging Himself on this rebellious house! WBC prays for your destruction — more shooters, more dead carcasses piling up, young, old, leader and commoner — all. Your doom is upon you!”

Blatant support for the alleged shooter, Jared Loughner, also came from Bostjan Avsec, who put up a facebook page “FREE Jared Loughner NOW!!!!” Avsec, who describes himself as a “nationalist by right of my European ancestors,” ascribes Loughner’s actions to having “found himself like [sic] entire Arizona in what was just yesterday a predominately white habitat to what is today non English Mexican/black/Jewish terror state!!!!”

A posting on the shootings at the neo-Nazi White Revolution’s website is nearly as poisonous. Under the headline “Another Jew-related Mass Murder,” Giffords is described as a “Jewess feminist” whose “Jewish roots run deep.” The post alleges that Jews are prone to mass murder and speculates that Loughner was Jewish as well. “Amy Bishop, a Jewish biology professor at the University of Alabama, shot three persons to death less than a year ago,” the site reminds its neo-Nazi supporters.

At Stormfront.org, the largest white nationalist forum on the web, a massive thread is devoted to this weekend’s events. Several of the posters were as uncharitable as White Revolution and the WBC. “Never in the history of mankind [sic] a revolution unfolded without bloodshed. I’d say the Turner Diaries describes it best for us,” wrote GodonEarth, referring to the infamous novel that inspired Timothy McVeigh’s 1995 attack in Oklahoma City and which includes harrowing scenes of mass murders of Jews and others opposed to a racially pure White America.

Though some expressed regret over the deaths this weekend, many others proposed the notion that the attack was part of some kind of plot to take away the rights of white nationalists. “I fear that the dopes in DC will try to ban guns now, and it’ll lead up to the balkenization [sic] of this once great country. (It was great b4 the damn jews got into power),” wrote kscottwyatt.

Similarly, Wsternm3542 added, “We are headed towards a hard time here and in other places on the net and in our lives. This government is going to do whatever is necessary to maintain control … The Government doesn’t like being kicked around, and if you think in this forum you have the stones to take them on, good luck, many a better man has gone to the gallows for less and turned in for a song in the ensuing interrogations that inevitably will follow.” Arch77X added, “Unfortunately, [Loughner] will be used to label us all murderers just like Timothy McVeigh. He may even be a plant, he was supposedly US military.”

Others on the radical right made the argument that “the Left,” whatever that might mean, would now move to take away their rights. The rabidly anti-immigrant hate site AmericanPatrol.com is headlined today, “Exploiting a Tragedy, The Left Will Stop at Nothing.” The site alleges that progressives, including the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), will use the “shooting as a means of silencing anyone who speaks out against illegal immigration.” On the anti-immigrant hate site Vdare.com, a posting by Alexander Hart reads, “the Left did not wait until the bodies were hauled off to start using the attack to suppress the free speech of their ideological opponents.”

A similar sentiment was found at Infowars.com, a rabidly antigovernment website run by conspiracymonger Alex Jones: “the establishment has hastily exploited yesterday’s tragic shooting in Tucson to demonize conservatives, libertarians and gun owners while ordering Americans to ‘tone down the rhetoric,’ which is nothing more than a euphemism for stifling dissent and coercing people to roll over on Obamacare, bailouts and whatever big government is preparing to unleash next.” Even Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, who spoke out strongly against hateful and rabidly antigovernment political rhetoric in the wake of the shootings, came under fire. For example, Matt Barber, an anti-gay ideologue and director of cultural affairs for the Liberty Counsel, tweeted, “Pima Co Sheriff should be fired for shamelessly politicizing this horrible tragedy.”

One member of the radical right, Jared Taylor of the racist group American Renaissance, has more reason to react to the events of the weekend than most. Taylor, whose group was tied to the shooter by a leaked DHS memo that also described his organization wrongly as anti-Semitic, made it forcefully clear in a posting to his website Monday that his group had nothing to do with Loughner.  Taylor told the SPLC today, “I am in drop-jawed amazement at this.” He said he searched all of Loughner’s material for a link to American Renaissance “and there is nothing about [American Renaissance] or about race or immigration,” the favored topics of his organization.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Excuse me but Spetsnaz typically falls under the jurisdiction of the GRU, military intelligence, not the KGB nor it’s successor, the FSB. They only had one or two units at the most, it may be only one now. “Spetsnaz” generally denotes special operations forces, some as “innocent” as the recon units for Russia’s conventional forces.

    At no time were Spetsnaz behind “terrorist” attacks on Western governments, anymore than US Army Rangers were responsible for such attacks.

    That being said, Russia Today airs so many nutcases from America that I’m surprised Loughner didn’t have his own regular show on the network.

  • mah29732

    I am wondering, I know Russia Today was featured on the Southern Poverty Law Center some time ago as an instigator of these conspiracy theory groups.

    Loughner may have not been an advert viewer of Russia Today, but he shared its views on pushing paranoia on the U.S. government. Iran’s own PressTV also does indeed the same thing.

    I wonder are certain foreign governments being responsible for trying to give that extra push to the American public? By coincidence, Russia Today before it responded to the shootings in Arizona displayed the celebration of Spetsnaz, the Russian old KGB guard special forces from the Cold War who’d instigate those kind of terror attacks during the Cold War against Western governments.

    Has the SLPC ever connectted the links with these extremists and people like Loughner? There are many YouTube accounts that subscribe to Russia Today that adhere to Loughner’s bizarre personality.

    Btw, there is also a major push by white supremacists to suggest that Loughner was also Jewish, even though they do not mind using Jews to shield themselves from criticism from anti-Semitism when they promote people like Norman Finkelstein.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Rayne, there are terrorists among the Cuban exile community, and they have enjoyed the protection and sometimes the funding of the US government. What’s wrong with labeling someone when the label fits?

  • skinnyminny

    Did anyone see the youtube video, “Sarah Palin Battle Hymn,” sung by alleged tea party? This youtube video is being posted on sites.

  • nash984954

    Swampcat and Guardian, drinking the koolaid again, I see. Another couple of right wingers and FOX noise aficionados making stuff up and calling it unrefutable facts again. It is that you should look at the boulder in your own eye before calling attention to what is in another’s eye. What you say about the left, just saying it doesn’t make it so. You do not have access to your own facts, actually that is your mistaken claim. But facts are not exclusive to conservatives, in fact conservatives would not know a fact if one bit them on their a**.

  • -

    fascination with Mein Kampf any sort of indicator that he is left-wing or even affiliated with the Republican party? The work by Hitler is just as much denounced and violations of Godwin’s Law
    1. IMO, That’s pretty much true. My sense is that the RW shed their neonazism after the late 1980′s. I suspect this may be one of the few positive influences of Rush Limbaugh. He couldn’t risk as much in his early years of “success” as he has since.
    2. Just because Jared listed those books, doesn’t mean he read them. I myself haven’t read any of those (Peter Pan etc), because i don’t like fiction. So, do *any* of Jared’s own works seem to draw from *any* books on his list? In the last few years of medical deterioration, I wonder if he was able to read very well.

  • Rayne

    @Guardian: and how is his fascination with Mein Kampf any sort of indicator that he is left-wing or even affiliated with the Republican party? The work by Hitler is just as much denounced and violations of Godwin’s Law are pulled out the wazoo on left-wing forums with just as much (often misplaced) fury and frequency as they are on any right-wing blog.

    And demonization? Demonization would mean that those who are demonized are fearful about their own lives, and that every breath which they take is scrutinized and bedeviled with professed impending doom (which I fear is far more of an issue for Jews, especially Israelis, of whatever ideological milieu or residential situation than it is for the most vocal self-identified conservatives). Being conservative is something that would have to be a feature which is driven deep by “different” ancestry, cultural adherence and physical phenotypes before “out-and-out spite against conservatives” can be considered a precursor to a “hate crime”.

    Heck, even communists and socialists in this country have more of a problem with this from avowed anti-communists than anti-communists do from liberal progressives. There is no American left-wing equivalent for such colorful terms as “Red Diaper Baby” or “pink down to her underwear” to describe the most vocal of self-avowed conservatives; certainly, and unfortunately, left-wingers may become more open over time to adopting the anti-Israeli neologisms and rhetoric as a last resort when they have become increasingly authoritarian in their language, often allying with authoritarians in other countries as well.

    But the language used to describe liberals, progressives and social democrats is often intended to insinuate an “irrefutable” tie between political ideology and biological makeup; the demonization of the left manifests itself in the insinuation that adopting non-authoritarian semi-collectivist ideologies is an action which can only manifest itself in someone who is less capable of performing or participating in even civil life.

    I dislike it when the libertarians of Reason.com use such language in order to justify the actions of the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile as being the “better” of two evils in regards to their interaction with the citizenry. I dislike it when pro-Castro/Chavez commenters on Democratic Underground use such language in order to get back at the Cuban exiles in South Florida as being “CIA-paid” “coddled” “terrorists”. I dislike it when a billionaire activist like George Soros is demonized in similar language by a wide variety of authoritarian-minded individuals in places as far as Malaysia, Serbia and the United States. I dislike it when the concerns of Jewish Americans in regards to Israel’s demographic and geopolitical stability are dismissed as being the mere mewlings of “fascist” “Zionazi” “filthy-rich” “villanous” “evil” “reptilian” “Khazar” “fake” “powerful” “nonhumans” or the chosen sacrificial keys to the Second Coming of Jesus and the like by weak-minded, strangely-envious individuals of all political and religious orientations.

    It’s all pathetic. It’s all cheap. It’s all below the belt. It all reveals a lack of imagination and a willful disregard for the needs of thorough analysis and non-appeal to ancient tribal rivalries.

    That is what demonization is all about. Scoring points of expressed aggression against easy, shiftable targets which are all living their interdependent lives and doing their parts in the body of this world.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Guardian, Mein Kampf is a right wing manifesto. As I said before, a lot of people seem confused about what “right and left” mean. For example, Tea Party Christians and Muslim fundamentalists are both right wing, regardless of the fact that they would consciously hate each other.

    In the past two years there have been a number of cases with far more solid links to right wing propaganda than in this case. The question is why did the mainstream media suddenly jump on this one, crying wolf and making the connection look absurd, while they more or less ignored the more solid connections in previous cases going back to 2008?

  • gbuddha2012

    If you got time do a google of “republican serial killers” — seems that 70-80% of serial killers are conservative republicans ie ted bundy, dahmer… notable exception john wayne gacey — take it for what its worth

  • gbuddha2012

    here’s some math… weather underground (1), black panthers (15), ted kaczynski – amorphous politics (3), radical alf (3)?, assorted anarchists and marxist leninist extremists (6), — that’s about it for the last 100 yrs

  • gbuddha2012

    tim mcveigh and terry nichols alone killed 168 americans… 10X more than all leftwing assassins in the last 100 yrs — time to inhale some truth

  • gbuddha2012

    the figure of loughner that is emerging is of a libertarian/anti-communist… that went off the deep end

  • gbuddha2012

    you fail to mention the guy in the audience was a twice shoot survivor of loughner’s massacre… someone shoots me twice and you bet the next guy i meet talking shit gets a piece of my mind

  • Leslie

    So Loughner is just a lone nut but the guy that yelled at Trent Humphries represents the entire left wing? Why can’t he be just a random crazy person too?

  • Guardian

    Serious Ed!
    Jim Hoft? A political Blog Head, and an unnamed right wing media?
    Let me help you out. Facebook entries and evidence found at Loughner’s house and on his own computer like his obsession with Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf are FACTS not opinions.
    Another fact that you obviously missed is the incident at the town hall meeting where Trent Humphries, Tea Party Leader, was threatened by a member of the audience, shouting “Trent Humphries, you’re dead!” Obviously someone with no common sense and unable draw any reasonable conclusions of their own, who has bought into the left wing demonization of the right. It is obvious the left wing holds the record for violence in this country.
    Or Sheriff Dupnik’s accusation that Arizona’s immigration control is to blame. Yea, I’m sure immigration reform was on the top of Loughner worry list.
    The problem the country has with the left wing is instead of taking responsibility for their actions, they just seek to discredit those who stand against their views; like a lawyer who has all but lost the case and the only angle he has left is to discredit the witnesses.
    Well I’m happy to say the jury is on to your tactics, and justice is prevailing, as was evidenced in the last mid-term election. Ouch!