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

News Roundup for June 27, 2011

By Hatewatch Staff on June 27, 2011 - 12:49 pm, Posted in Anti-LGBT, Militias, Racist Skinheads, Sovereign Citizens, White Nationalism

White nationalist Richard Poplawski was found guilty of murdering three Pittsburgh police officers in a 2009 ambush.  The jury today began deliberating Poplawski’s fate. He faces the death penalty.

A skinhead leader pleaded guilty to the revenge killing of a Missouri man. Eric Fairburn, co-founder of the Vinlanders Social Club and a former skinhead musician, admitted to shooting William McDaniel, who had caused the drunk driving death of a friend of Fairburn.

The residents of a Michigan town were startled when they discovered members of the West Michigan Volunteer Militia training in the nearby Manistee National Forest. Local authorities allowed the military-style training exercises, but residents’ concerns have been revived due to a recent increase militia activity throughout the state. ( continue to full post… )

Fundraising Drive Under Way to Help Jailed White Supremacist

By Bill Morlin on June 24, 2011 - 7:53 pm, Posted in White Supremacist

August KreisAugust B. Kreis III, who calls himself the director of the Aryan Nations, will remain in jail in South Carolina unless he can come up with a $50,000 secured bond. A wealthy, elusive racist, who once bought a house for the late Aryan Nations leader Richard Butler, already is heading up an Internet fundraiser for Kreis.

The bond was set by U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph R. McCrorey in Columbia, S.C., today at the conclusion of a detention hearing for Kreis, who faces federal fraud and embezzlement charges. A trial date in September is expected.

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News Roundup for June 24, 2011

By Hatewatch Staff on June 24, 2011 - 1:48 pm, Posted in Anti-LGBT, Anti-Semitic, Muslim Extremism, White Nationalism, White Supremacist

Two men have been arrested in a plot to attack a U.S. military recruiting post in Seattle. The men, ex-convicts and Muslim coverts, allegedly planned to take over the post and shoot  military personnel there to gain media attention.

Six New York teens charged with murder are now under indictment for committing a hate crime in the beating death of Anthony Collao. The teens allegedly bludgeoned the 18-year-old with a pipe, cane and stick, mistakenly believing he was gay.

The trial of suspected white supremacist gang member Jessie Raffensberger is to begin today on charges of aggravated assault and kidnapping. The Costa Mesa, Calif., man allegedly lured a man to a hotel and pistol-whipped him in order to extort money to continue gang activities. ( continue to full post… )

A Skinhead’s Story: Bryon Widner and ‘Erasing Hate’

By Robert Steinback on June 23, 2011 - 4:36 pm, Posted in Hate Groups, Racist Skinheads

It’s hard enough trying to overcome a history of violence and race hatred for a new life of redemption and purpose. Imagine trying to do so with the evidence of your evil past etched indelibly on your face in the form of tattoos proclaiming racist and violent themes.

Bryon Widner

After spending 16 years as a vicious brawler and razor-carrying enforcer for white-power skinhead gangs operating in Indiana and Ohio, Bryon Widner (above) became a husband and father – and realized he didn’t want to raise his family in the hostile culture of white supremacy and violent lawlessness he once embraced and promoted. But the co-founder of the Vinlanders Social Club skinhead gang – at one time one of the largest and most notorious of the nation’s skinhead groups – knew that his marked face would forever frustrate his efforts to rejoin the respectable world.

Against daunting odds, Widner made a permanent break with his past, undergoing some two dozen horribly painful laser treatments over the course of two years to remove the tattoos on his face and neck. The expensive treatments were made possible by the Southern Poverty Law Center – the same civil rights and social justice organization that once tracked Widner’s career in hate.

The dramatic story of Widner and his wife, Julie, is captured in the one-hour documentary “Erasing Hate,” which airs Sunday at 9 p.m. EDT on MSNBC. The film recounts the couple’s life within the white power movement, the decision that led them to leave it, and the treatments he underwent to remove the tattoos. ( continue to full post… )

News Roundup for June 23, 2011

By Hatewatch Staff on June 23, 2011 - 2:58 pm, Posted in Anti-Muslim, Muslim Extremism, Racist Skinheads, White Supremacist

A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit over “blatantly racist and offensive” comments made by white Philadelphia officers on the popular police Internet forum  Domelights.com. The settlement requires the city to hire an anti-discrimination consultant as well as enhance anti-discrimination training within the department.

Two New York men pleaded not guilty to charges of attempting to blow up a Manhattan synagogue. The two men, both immigrants from North Africa, are accused of attempting to purchase weapons from undercover NYPD detectives and planned to carry out a bomb attack on an unnamed synagogue. The men are suspected of being lone wolves, with no connection to international terrorist groups.

A member of the white supremacist group Battalion 14 of North East White Pride was sentenced to 30 months in prison Wednesday for attempting to sell guns to an associate of the Ku Klux Klan. William Bolton is the third man to be charged in the conspiracy to obtain weapons for other racist groups in order to raise the standing of the Connecticut gang in the white nationalist community. ( continue to full post… )

Fox News Uses Hate Group’s Graphic to Illustrate Unfounded Accusation

By Leah Nelson on June 23, 2011 - 12:00 pm, Posted in Anti-Immigrant

Rumors that migrants attempting to cross the border illegally are the source of Arizona’s wildfires are spreading like, well, wildfire.

Never shy about fanning the flames of extremism, Fox News yesterday ran a surveillance photo, created on June 12 by Glenn Spencer, racist head of the anti-immigrant hate group American Border Patrol (described by Fox as an “independent organization that monitors the border”). The photo ran alongside a story quoting an Arizona sheriff who claimed without evidence that the “highest probability” is that a massive wildfire near the Coronado National Forest was started by foreign drug traffickers or smugglers bringing immigrants across the border.

“There’s really only one likely source of this fire and that’s someone who was moving through the area illegally,” Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever – who characterized Spencer’s graphic as an “accurate picture” of the inferno’s origin – told Fox. “It’s evidence of illegal trafficking. It’s the result of illegal activity any way you look at it. It wasn’t naturally caused,” he continued. “This has been going on for years. I’d ask anyone to present me another logical explanation.” ( continue to full post… )

News Roundup for June 22, 2011

By Hatewatch Staff on June 22, 2011 - 4:27 pm, Posted in Anti-LGBT, Antigovernment, Klan, White Nationalism, White Supremacist

The Associated Press today has an in-depth story about the revival of the Inland Northwest as a haven for anti-government extremists and white supremacists. The small town of Kalispell, Montana, has recently seen some new and infamous arrivals, including white supremacist stage mother April Gaede, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, and Randy Weaver of Ruby Ridge standoff fame.

A Newark man was indicted today on charges of intimidating and murdering Victoria Carmen White after learning that White was a transgender woman. The slaying marks yet another example of the vulnerability of gays and transgender people. The SPLC reported recently that LGBT people are by far the group most targeted by violent hate crime.

Testimony in the trial of accused cop-killer and white nationalist Richard Poplawski has revealed that SWAT responders feared that Poplawski’s surrender was an ambush. Evidence presented today detailed the near-depletion of the SWAT team’s ammunition in the gun battle, Poplawski’s repeated use of racial slurs during the standoff, and his admission of murdering three Pittsburgh officers. ( continue to full post… )

‘Sovereign Citizen’ Killed in Altercation with Police in Arizona

By Leah Nelson on June 22, 2011 - 3:59 pm, Posted in Sovereign Citizens

An antigovernment “sovereign citizen” who was shot dead Sunday night by police in Arizona appears to have been involved with a major sovereign group called the Republic for the united States of America (RuSA).

William Foust, 50, of Page, Ariz., was shot by Officer Shawn Wilson during a fight in which Foust allegedly attempted to wrest Wilson’s Taser from him, the Arizona Daily Sun reported yesterday.

The officer was responding to a domestic violence call at B & T Marine,  a boat rental business owned by Foust and his wife. Foust fled the scene before police arrived but returned to carry on a “heated argument” with the female victim. He was “upset, loud, and confrontational with the officer,” the Cononino County Sheriff’s Office told reporters. ( continue to full post… )

Anti-Muslim Activist Geller Attacks Latest SPLC ‘Intelligence Report’ Issue

By Robert Steinback on June 22, 2011 - 2:27 pm, Posted in Anti-Muslim

It didn’t take long, following Tuesday’s release of the Summer 2011 edition of our Intelligence Report magazine, for one of the principal figures profiled in it – professional Muslim hater Pamela Geller – to “warn” the SPLC that she and her allies will continue their efforts to panic Americans into believing that an Islamic caliphate could take over the United States and impose Shariah law any day now.

Geller was one of 10 anti-Muslim activists profiled in the issue’s cover story, “Jihad Against Islam,” which reports that the recent surge in conservative politicians, media figures and organizations fretting about Islam in America is not a spontaneous response to real danger, but rather a deliberately engineered campaign by a small group of obsessed alarmists bent on turning legitimate concerns about terrorism into broad-based prejudice and hatred against all Muslims. ( continue to full post… )

Nativists Focus Attacks on Religious Denominations

By Leah Nelson on June 22, 2011 - 9:08 am, Posted in Anti-Catholic, Anti-Immigrant

In the wake of two recent religious gatherings, anti-immigrant hard-liners are focusing their fire on two major religious faith groups: the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Southern Baptist Convention.

The duo’s shared offense? In the past week, both have publicly opposed legislation that would require businesses to participate in E-Verify, a federal government tool for verifying people’s immigration status, and have called for compassionate treatment of all immigrants, regardless of legal status.

The John Birch Society (JBS) — a conspiracy-minded, far-right organization that made its name in the 1950s and 1960s by spreading anti-communist propaganda and working against school desegregation and has lately edged back into the mainstream by hooking up with Tea Party groups and Glenn Beck fans — took the lead in attacking the bishops. “American Catholic bishops, equating socialism with true Christian charity, have long been allies of the radical Left in its plans to socialize the American economy,” R. Cort Kirkwood wrote in comments that completely ignored the Catholic Church’s historical enmity toward communism and its staunch pro-Americanism during the Cold War. His article was published in JBS magazine The New American released yesterday. ( continue to full post… )