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

Arizona Tea Party Affiliate Promoting Hate Group Leader

By Leah Nelson on May 24, 2011 - 4:23 pm, Posted in Anti-Immigrant

Arizonans who fretted that the recent cancellation of Glenn Spencer’s testimony before the state Senate Border Security Committee meant that Spencer would be prevented from sharing his paranoid visions of marauding migrants can rest easy. Even if Spencer never makes it to the Senate, interested senators are going to see Spencer — and so can everyday citizens wanting to hear the hate group leader’s nativist propaganda straight from the source.

Visits to Spencer’s Cochise County ranch, including a tour and a briefing from Spencer, are being sponsored by the Arizona 2012 Project, an affiliate of the Tea Party Patriots. The Maricopa County Republican Committee promotes upcoming tour dates on its website.

During the most recent tour Saturday, two Republican Arizona state senators, Sylvia Allen and Al Melvin, were among the approximately 50 people that Spencer estimated visited his ranch on Saturday, Spencer reported on his website. Allen, who chairs the state Senate Border Security Committee, had initially invited Spencer to testify about border issues in March. The hate group leader was disinvited after the two Democrats on the committee sent Allen a public letter requesting that his appearance be cancelled because of his “divisiveness” and “hatred.”

For his part, Melvin is a former member of the now-defunct vigilante group Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, whose founder Chris Simcox was a buddy of Spencer’s. In 2010, while pushing the state to establish an all-volunteer border security force, Melvin said: “There are many of us, including me, who would like to see the concept of the Minutemen come back. I think there’s a way to make it work.”

Asked why he was promoting such a polarizing figure, Arizona 2012 Project Chairman Ronald Ludders didn’t blink. “We find Glenn Spencer to be a very delightful, upstanding citizen, interested in border security as we are,” he told Hatewatch today.

More like obsessed. For years, Spencer has peddled a racist conspiracy theory that suggests that the Mexican government is purposely sending undocumented immigrants northward as part of a plan to “reconquer” the American Southwest and, ultimately, transform it into a northern Mexican state to be called Aztlan. He conceives of his anti-immigrant hate group, American Border Patrol, as a “shadow Border Patrol.” Using high-tech sensors, infrared video-cameras mounted on model airplanes, and “citizens” roaming the often mountainous terrain on ATVs, Spencer’s operation was designed to embarrass the federal government into fully militarizing the border by capturing images of undocumented workers on film and uploading them to the American Border Patrol website for all to see.

Spencer doesn’t limit himself to bashing immigrants. In 2008, he wrote a blog post titled “Is Jew-Controlled Hollywood Brainwashing Americans?” (The answer, he concluded, was yes.) The same year, he allowed Shawna Forde – then a much-disliked border vigilante, now a convicted child-killer – to live in an RV on his ranch. In 1998, he gave a speech to the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens, a racist group that has called blacks “a retrograde species of humanity.” In 2001, Spencer had Betina McCann, then the fiancée of neo-Nazi Steven Barry, hand-deliver copies of his film “Bonds of Our Nation” to every member of Congress (the video largely rehashes his Aztlan conspiracy theory). Spencer has flirted with major white supremacist and anti-Semitic figures, and he once promoted a booklet from a white hate group falsely alleging that blacks and Latinos are far more likely than whites to carry out hate crimes.

Spencer isn’t the only unpleasant character that Tea Party Patriots affiliates have promoted. Last May, Gatlinburg, Tenn.’s chapter hosted Pam Geller, the vitriolic head of the Muslim-bashing group Stop Islamization of America, which the Southern Poverty Law Center designated a hate group this year.

The Arizona 2012 Project’s Ludders denies that Spencer — whom he calls a friend — is either racist or anti-Semitic. “I do not hang out with people that would have any prejudice towards these nice and very polite people,” he said, referring to Mexicans. Regarding Spencer’s article on Jews and Hollywood (in which he wrote most Jews “hated the U.S. and sought to achieve a globalist Communist society”), Ludders told Hatewatch: “If that’s his opinion, it doesn’t mean he’s an anti-Semite. I think the President of the United States is immature, but that doesn’t make me anti-black. So A plus B doesn’t equal C.”

The Maricopa County Republican Party did not respond today to a request for comment on their role in promoting the ranch tours in the online calendar.

  • Guardian

    42 border patrol agents have been killed in the line of duty since 1990, along with at least 5 deputies and 3 Guardsmen this year. Why don’t we ask their families what they think?

    Last year the federal government spent approximately $7.3 billion of tax payer money on border enforcement. They criticize President Bush for failing to hire enough agents to protect America’s borders. Yet the same government is filing suit against Arizona for enforcing federal immigration laws. What?

    It’s a dangerous and expensive game this administration and pro-illegal immigration advocates are playing.

    Here’s the rule of their sick game – Our team will use tax payer money to deploy agents and military to play defense at the borders. They will put their lives on the line to keep out anyone trying to enter illegally. But, if anyone can get past them then they win free education, Medicare, food stamps, and a college education all on American tax payer dollars.

    I Think it’s time for the defense to walk off the field until the owners of the team can decide who’s side their on.

    And by the way Kate,
    isn’t the Department of Homeland Security a federal agency? One of their prime missions is to Secure and Manage our Borders? Do your homework… http://www.dhs.gov/xabout/responsibilities.shtm

  • Jim Campbell

    Back in 2006, David Romero published what I considered to be a very insightful article relating to the Americanization and assimilation of Mexican immigrants into American society.

    In as much as the title to this article is in Spanish: ” La inmigración, sí. Americanización, no”, Just Google:

    David Romero – The Land of the Free

    I would particularly value comments from anyone affiliated with the SPLC.

    I thank you!!

  • skinnyminny

    Dick Lancaster,
    I’m shocked that you would say those things. It’s not like the new immigrants are like the old Francisco ‘Pancho’ Villa. You do know who that is don’t you?

    You talk about welfare, government so-called handouts, American territory…Let’s do a little test here, what do you know about Juan Garrido, Andres Pico, Juan Francisco Reyes, Peter Ranne? Then explain to me why the policy change of today, minorities cannot have the freedoms of yesteryears without being labeled subhuman, violent, illiterate…also explain why minorities face higher scrutiny for obtaining credit, ownership of properties – i.e. if drive an expensive car they are pulled over by the police. I think what you’re saying is it’s okay for government to keep minorities/immigrants down and out, but not for government to ‘tread’ on you! Like making you pay taxes for services you do and might need. Is that what you are saying?

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    “Since the SPLC is the only organization monitoring “hate groups” and the SPLC only monitors “right wing hate groups”, these two facts create two fallacies. First, that the SPLC is the foremost expert NGO on “hate”; and two, that there is only violence and hatred among conservative or right wing groups. Therefore, anything written in these pages is suspect.”

    Feel free to be the first person on this blog to actually list some left-wing hate groups.

    “One of the suspect characteristics of the SPLC is to continuously identify foreign invaders of American territory as immigrants.”

    They are immigrants because they are leaving one country to live in another. An invader enters a country for malicious purposes.

    ” This creates an opportunity to indentify those who oppose foreign invasion as racist xenophobes.”

    Because you are; you’ve shown us on several different posts.

    “A country’s border is akin to a family’s front or back door. If a family closes and locks its doors when they leave the home unattended, it indicates a desire on the part of the family to keep intruders out.”

    No it isn’t; a house is private property, a state is not. Also, we haven’t closed the border and all moved to Canada, have we?

    “When the family returns to find three or four strangers helping themselves to the groceries, the DVD and the kid’s bicycle, then we should ask ourselves at what point does the family get fed up and take action independent of the police?”

    Bad analogy. Let’s imagine that the house was left open, and the housewife, fed up with her work, invites the people in to clean the house and do the cooking. And they work so hard and for so little that they also build another floor on the house, a tool shed in the back, a swimming pool, and several more rooms. Then your analogy’s a little more accurate.

    “Arizona is sick of the federal government opening its doors. That’s as simple as the issue gets. It’s not about hate, bigotry, phobia or any other human character defect. Few people, including those who write for the SPLC want strangers in their beds.”

    The “doors” are closed in one direction, as Americans can easily cross the border and get a 90 day tourist visa.

    “Where the hatred comes in is when intellectual do-gooders feel the need to accommodate the less fortunate strangers in the homes of other people.”

    Somebody has asked you to take strangers into your home?

    ” It is this way with taxes, welfare, business and environmental regulations as well as an entire myriad of bricks on the road to good intentions leading to ruin.”

    Taxes are the price of government services, welfare is to help people down on their luck because capitalism and unemployment go hand in hand, and business and environmental regulations are there to keep businesses from selling something that kills you, or to keep them from ruining our public environment.

  • Dick Lancaster

    Since the SPLC is the only organization monitoring “hate groups” and the SPLC only monitors “right wing hate groups”, these two facts create two fallacies. First, that the SPLC is the foremost expert NGO on “hate”; and two, that there is only violence and hatred among conservative or right wing groups. Therefore, anything written in these pages is suspect.

    One of the suspect characteristics of the SPLC is to continuously identify foreign invaders of American territory as immigrants. This creates an opportunity to indentify those who oppose foreign invasion as racist xenophobes. Once this is accomplished, the SPLC can then label such people who organize against the invasion as a “hate group”. Having accomplished that, the SPLC can write a story about this “hate group” in its “HateWatch” Newsletter. And who can argue against the foremost authority on “hate groups”?

    This works for all categories and defines all subjects. But let’s just take the “invader” issue here.

    A country’s border is akin to a family’s front or back door. If a family closes and locks its doors when they leave the home unattended, it indicates a desire on the part of the family to keep intruders out. If the police drop by and keep opening the doors, how long do you think it will take for strangers to assume the home is open for the taking?

    When the family returns to find three or four strangers helping themselves to the groceries, the DVD and the kid’s bicycle, then we should ask ourselves at what point does the family get fed up and take action independent of the police?

    Arizona is sick of the federal government opening its doors. That’s as simple as the issue gets. It’s not about hate, bigotry, phobia or any other human character defect. Few people, including those who write for the SPLC want strangers in their beds.

    Where the hatred comes in is when intellectual do-gooders feel the need to accommodate the less fortunate strangers in the homes of other people. That is the basic trait of a leftist. The generosity for which the dedicated leftist takes credit is borne on the backs of others. It is this way with taxes, welfare, business and environmental regulations as well as an entire myriad of bricks on the road to good intentions leading to ruin.

    It is understandable that a homeowner would eventually grow to despise even a saintly pack of nuns in his home if they were there uninvited and kept clogging his toilet. And he would save his most concentrated wrath for the do-gooders that keep opening his doors. Eventually, he throws off his yoke and regains his freedom.

    So sometimes, that hatred of having a life interfered with can be a prelude to good things to come.

  • Robert Carr

    I see some using this to ramp up fears against dangers that are not really there, for ideological purposes. The problem is that traditional immigration law enforcment has not been used, and hiring of non-citizens has been ‘winked at’ by pro business administrations for years.

    While Latinos have been the focus of this campaign, I have been well aware that, for decades, Illegals have been coming into the US from Asia, often in shipping containers from China. The numbers may not be as great, but, it’s still the same thing.

    In the end, US problems with Mexico have more to do with US policy and attitudes, domestic drug consumption , and greed, than some plot to take over Arizona.

  • kate

    No Guardian, it isn’t written anywhere that the federal government has anything more to do than adhere to the precepts and direction of the current interpretation of the constitution as accepted by the majority of its citizens.

    Most people don’t run around like their head is on fire when they see people with melanin in their skin, so the no one sees the imminent danger.

    These horrible people are washing dishes in the restaurants people eat in, washing the floors, cutting the meat you eat, building the houses you live in, turning down the sheets in the hotel you sleep in, sewing the garments you wear and yet somehow you manage to get up everyday and have the ability to spew your nonsense.

    Undocumented people cross borders all over the world and amazingly the Europeans have still retained their unique identities, from the Italians to the Norwegians, to Americans.

    Your people were an invading force here, so possibly what you might want to do is first practice what you preach and you and your ilk can go back to the black hole of stupid that you crawled out of and leave the rest of us in peace.

  • Sam Molloy

    According to NPR, or whatever they call it now, the famous Maricopa County Sheriff just had a few of his Good Ol’ Dep’ty Dawgs caught working for the Cartels on the side. There is nobody implicating the Sheriff at all, except to say that his focus seems to have shifted from Law and Order to Undocumented Immigrants over the last few years.

  • Guardian

    Let’s see,
    Spencer wants to secure the U.S. borders and keep our citizen’s safe from those who would illegally enter our country without question. He has devised ways to use technology such as unmanned aircraft for surveillance of the borders. He encourages the building of a fence along our border to make our Border Patrol agent’s job easier and safer.
    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that the federal government’s job?

  • ruben

    to minute man project…..glen spencer allowed barbaric child killer shawna forde to stay at his ranch….do you actually think that spencer did not know that this woman was a die hard racist before he allowed her to stay at his ranch….if you believe this then you probably also believe in santa and the easter bunny also…..the paranoid right wing extremists in arizona are the american version of the taliban and hamas.

  • Linnea

    I’ve never been surprised by the links between the self-proclaimed “border patrol activists” and out-and-out racists. I was suspicious of the Minutemen and all their imitators from the beginning. Thanks for continuing to pull the cover off these hucksters and haters.

  • Rosalie Piazza

    Sara Palin has purchased a million dollar home in Scottsdale
    Arizona. Perhaps she is going to conduct hercampaign
    for the Presidency in 2012 here?? A perfect place for her,
    with all the real Americans–whatever that means.

  • Minuteman Project

    Dear SPLC,

    In the six years that I have known Glen Spencer I have never heard him write or utter anything that could be construed as anti-semetic.

    Indeed, Mr. Spencer has his own unique style of warning the United States about what he perceives to be a threat to our nation’s domestic tranquility and border security, but I’ve never considered him or his words as racist, fascist, or anything of the like. He is simply a very passionate innovator in aerial border observation techniques and a tireless political activist,

    THe real problem groups on the issue of unenforced immigration laws are Jeff Schwilk’s San Diego Minutemen, William Gheen’s ALIPAC (Raleigh, NC), and the California Coalition for Immigration Reform (Huntigton Beach, Ca.).

    In my opinion, these three groups are inspired by racist agendas and outright hatred of anyone who will not “goose step” to their liking. They are the real threat to any respectable and legal resolve to the immigration dilemma, not Glen Spencer.

    Sincerely YOurs,
    Jim Gilchrist, President, The Minuteman Project

  • Rob Levy

    The Tea Party has also linked with a far right ,football hooligan based British organisation called the English Defence League (EDL) through the Tea Party’s Pamela Geller.Despite denials it is clear that the EDL has neo-Nazi’s within it’s ranks (see UK Fightback’s anti-fascist You Tube channel for a vast library of clips exposing the real Nazi nature of EDL leaders and foot soldiers).The EDL includes member’s of the neo-fascist British National Party and also member’s of the self styled British neo-Nazi paramilitary organisation Combat 18 (18=1 for A and 8 for H ..A H= Adolf Hitler ) amongst it’s organiser’s.I have written to the Tea Party and sent them a large number of links to video clips as well as links to newspaper clippings from quality UK newspaper’s The Times,Telegraph,Observer and Guardian.These clips and articles concern the reality of the EDL My aim was to warn the Tea Party in regard to the nature of some nasty character’s which one part of their disparate organisation was getting into bed with. Although the Tea Party’s MichealPatrick Leary promised to investigate these links I have heard nothing for over a year.Mr Leary even asked me what my own political leanings are? when I presented him with this evidence ..as if I was under suspicion myself.For an organisation keen to link the left with fascism, the Tea Party sure are keen to link themselves with real fascism and died in the wool fascists.

  • harry kyle

    We need more investigation into radicals like spencer that is infiltrating the tea party, it needs to be put out so the tea party sponsers that think its a good thing can clean house