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

Expert: Political Rhetoric Likely a Factor in Arizona Shooting

By Hatewatch Staff on January 21, 2011 - 11:23 am, Posted in Extremist Crime

Editor’s Note: In a Jan. 19 letter published in The New York Times, Arizona political scientist James W. Clarke argued that it would be wrong to dismiss the idea that the toxic political environment was a factor in Jared L. Loughner‘s attempted assassination of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, an attack that left six people dead and 13 others injured. Clarke is a distinguished professor emeritus at the University of Arizona, where he has taught courses in race and public policy, and violent crime and political order. He is the author of Defining Danger: American Assassins and the New Domestic Terrorists and five other books on criminal violence.

Hatewatch asked the professor to elaborate on his letter. Here are his comments: ( continue to full post… )

Hi, I’m a Sovereign Citizen! – Group to Write Letters to Police

By Ryan Lenz on January 20, 2011 - 6:20 pm, Posted in Antigovernment, Sovereign Citizens

They already have alternate identification cards and travel warrants. Now, all Tim Turner thinks he needs is an introduction to police and some good old-fashioned face time for his “Republic for the United States of America” to become a reality. That, at least, seems to be the prime motivation behind a planned letter-writing campaign to contact more than 5,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide and teach them the ins-and-outs of Turner’s antigovernment movement.

“When they [law enforcement] see the identification … can you imagine the phone calls that are going to take place? They’re going to realize it’s real,” said an excited Kelby Smith, the moderator of a Jan. 12 conference call that allows Republic leaders and devotees to interact. “They’re all going to call their seniors, and the seniors are going to call the Feds, and the Feds are going to say, yeah, it’s real. The Republic is back.”

The so-called Republic, which sprang from the ranks of Turner’s Guardians of the Free Republics, is a ragtag mix of tax scofflaws who believe a form of American government that was in operation until 1860 is more legitimate than the current form. Its most central claim is the current U.S. government is a corporation, not a true union – a declaration consistent with Turner’s radical history of bombastic promises and outlandish plans. ( continue to full post… )

The Tanton Files: More on FAIR Founder’s White Nationalism

By Heidi Beirich on January 19, 2011 - 12:13 pm, Posted in Anti-Immigrant

I’ve spent the past week going through piles of correspondence written over the years by John Tanton, the racist founder of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which the Southern Poverty Law Center added to its list of hate groups in 2007. While digging, I came across a memo that shows once more how deeply invested Tanton really has been in the white nationalist movement. Dated March 2, 1993, the memo is entitled “SECOND DRAFT PROPOSAL FOR LEADERs.”

The document, housed in a university library in Michigan, is addressed to three principals of America’s white nationalist movement: Sam Francis, the late editor of the Citizens Informer journal, which is published by the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC); Jared Taylor, editor of the race-science newsletter American Renaissance; and Wayne Lutton, a member of several hate groups who is a former editorial advisor to the CCC and a current board member of American Renaissance’s parent organization, the New Century Foundation. Most importantly, Lutton has worked for years from the same office as Tanton in Petoskey, Mich., where the men put out the nativist hate journal, The Social Contract.

Tanton’s 1993 memo, along with an accompanying draft proposal, are a summation of the discussions these men had over the creation of a new organization dreamed up by Tanton and tentatively called the League for European-American Defense, Education and Research or, to use Tanton’s shorthand, LEADERs. The memo suggests that the group knew LEADERs, which never came into being, would be controversial and that all involved needed to be careful with their words. Tanton warned that the organization “should have a cultural denotation, not a racial one, even if the two are roughly equivalent: European-American rather than white.” ( continue to full post… )

Possible Terror Attack on MLK Parade in Spokane Thwarted

By Bill Morlin on January 18, 2011 - 4:18 pm, Posted in Extremist Crime

A backpack bomb with the potential of killing or injuring dozens of people was found Monday along the route of a Martin Luther King Day “unity march” in downtown Spokane, Wash., authorities said today.

“It was a device that clearly was intended to harm or kill people,’’said Frank Harrill, a senior FBI agent and spokesman for the bureau’s Inland Northwest Joint Terrorism Task Force.

The FBI posted a $20,000 reward Tuesday and released three photographs, including one of the black Swiss-Army backpack that contained the destructive device.

Harrill would not discuss the type of explosive or its construction, including whether the backpack contained an explosive shield intended to spray shrapnel toward potential victims.  He also declined to say if the device was intended to be detonated remotely or by a timer.

“It had the potential to detonate during a unity march on the King Holiday, so, obviously it had political or social overtones,’’ Harrill said. ( continue to full post… )

Conspiracy Trial Opens for Pennsylvania Cops in Immigrant’s Killing

By Ryan Lenz on January 14, 2011 - 2:48 pm, Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Extremist Crime

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The federal trial of three police officers accused of trying to cover up the murder of an undocumented Mexican immigrant – a hate crime that drew the nation’s attention to violence against Hispanics two years ago – opened this week with a focus on the small Northeast Pennsylvania coal town of Shenandoah. There, prosecutors say, police offered special consideration for its favored white sons and their parents, instead of following the dictates of the law.

Former Shenandoah Police Chief Matthew Nestor and two others in the department – Lt. William Moyer and Patrolman Jason Hayes – face a host of federal charges, including conspiracy and obstruction of justice for orchestrating what prosecutors say was a swift cover-up of the circumstances of Ramirez’s death.

In her opening statement, federal prosecutor Myesha Braden said the 2008 beating death of Luis Ramirez was swept under the rug to protect his assailants from embarrassment and prosecution. “Like teachers and doctors, police officers are intimately connected with American culture. They are expected to protect and serve. This is a case of police officers who decided to do the opposite of what they were expected to do,” Braden told the all-white jury.

The fatal fight happened on July 12, 2008, when Derrick Donchak , Brandon Piekarsky, Colin Walsh and Brian Scully were among a group of teenagers who had left a block party where they had been drinking. They came across Ramirez in a park with a white girl and started calling Ramirez a “fucking spic,” and taunting him with threats such as “Go back to Mexico,” and “Tell your fucking Mexican friends to get the fuck out of Shenandoah,” according to testimony and the federal indictment. A fight erupted and the teens, some grasping chunks of metal to harden the impact of their punches, ganged up on Ramirez until he was knocked unconscious. Piekarsky was convicted of kicking Ramirez in the head when he was down – later determined to have been the fatal strike. ( continue to full post… )

AIM’s Kincaid Takes Up Banner for Racist Organization

By Robert Steinback on January 13, 2011 - 5:59 pm, Posted in Anti-Black

It’s one thing to falsely accuse an organization of connections that haven’t been verified. It’s another thing altogether to claim that an organization isn’t what it is.

In the immediate wake of the Jan. 9 Tucson shooting — in which six people died and 13, including Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, were injured — Fox News ran with a document supposedly leaked from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security suggesting that the presumed shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, had ties to the white nationalist journal American Renaissance (AR).

That report turned out to be erroneous; the document didn’t come from DHS but the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center, a local law enforcement agency. The document’s contents, meant only for internal consumption, were speculative and, ultimately, almost certainly inaccurate. Fox News later had to refute its own scoop.

Right-wing propagandist extraordinaire Cliff Kincaid, principal of the ironically named Accuracy in Media website, quickly seized on Fox’s gaffe. But it wasn’t to criticize weak journalism or to refute the idea that Loughner might have been a racially motivated killer. It was to take up the American Renaissance banner. ( continue to full post… )

World Net Daily Signs on to Nazis-Were-Gays Tall Tale

By Evelyn Schlatter on January 12, 2011 - 2:40 pm, Posted in Anti-LGBT, Patriot Groups

World Net Daily (WND) is generally known for its right-wing and conspiracy-oriented bent. However, along with its long-time support for birther arguments and dark warnings about the Federal Reserve, the site also is thick with hard-line anti-gay propagandizing. In November 2010, for example, WND released an edition of its magazine devoted entirely to “America’s Gay Obsession.” It included articles by long-time anti-gay propagandists like Peter LaBarbera, who directs the hate group Americans for Truth about Homosexuality and was recently heard fretting about gay TSA agents accosting people in security lines. But that’s par for the course for an online publication that once ran a six-part series on how soy products cause homosexuality.

So it should come as no surprise that WND is now selling a “new edition” of the anti-gay fairy tale, The Pink Swastika, via its website.

Written by Kevin Abrams and anti-gay activist Scott Lively, whose Abiding Truth Ministries is an SPLC-designated hate group, the book claims that the Nazi Party was full of homosexual men who largely orchestrated the Holocaust. In fact, according to the book’s authors, “the Nazi party was entirely controlled by militaristic male homosexuals throughout its short history.” Furthermore, Lively and Abrams argue, persecution of homosexuals during Nazi Germany is largely a myth. ( continue to full post… )

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. ( continue to full post… )

Who is Jared Lee Loughner?

By Mark Potok on January 9, 2011 - 6:15 pm, Posted in Extremist Crime, Patriot Groups

Is Jared Lee Loughner, the alleged mass murderer who shot U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, a right-wing extremist?

Jared LoughnerIt’s hard to say. When you look at the Internet material he purportedly produced, the first impression you get is that the 22-year-old now in custody for the shooting of 20 people in Tucson was completely out of his mind, or at least mildly deranged. His writings will be virtually impossible for most people to understand, what with his runs of unexplained numbers, his fondness for weird syllogisms, his mysterious references and his apparent semi-literacy.

That said, there are some clues.

At one point, Loughner refers disparagingly to “currency that’s not backed by gold or silver.” The idea that silver and gold are the only “constitutional” money is widespread in the antigovernment “Patriot” movement that produced so much violence in the 1990s. It’s linked to the core Patriot theory that the Federal Reserve is actually a private corporation run for the benefit of unnamed international bankers. So-called Patriots say paper money — what they refer to with a sneer as “Federal Reserve notes” — is not lawful. ( continue to full post… )

Buyer Beware: Veterans Today and its Anti-Israel Agenda

By Evelyn Schlatter on January 6, 2011 - 4:46 pm, Posted in Anti-Semitic, Extremist Propaganda

Veterans Today (VT) is a website that bills itself as a “military veterans and foreign affairs journal.” And, indeed, many of its contributors are military veterans or veterans’ advocates from across the political spectrum. VT also offers some information about veterans’ benefits (lifted from the Veterans’ Administration) and links to home and other loans for vets.

But start reading the posts, and you’ll find something else entirely: myriad claims that there was a conspiracy behind 9/11 (Israel orchestrated it, in cahoots with the American government), that the American government is a puppet (of Israel), that the Holocaust never happened or was greatly exaggerated (Jews made it up to manipulate non-Jews), and, most recently, that Julian Assange, the man behind Wikileaks, is a pawn (of Israel).

Notice a theme? ( continue to full post… )