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Nativist Leader Clarifies Violence Statement, Sort Of

By Leah Nelson on August 25, 2011 - 4:33 pm, Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Extremist Propaganda

William Gheen, head of the nativist extremist group Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC), has certainly made a spectacle of himself this week. Shocked at the backlash from his proclamation Monday that “illegal and violent” “extra-political activities” might be the only way to save “white America” from “Dictator Barack Obama,” he is scrambling with all the effectiveness of a bug stuck on a pin to pretend he didn’t say what he said.

Gheen’s remarks, first reported Monday by Right Wing Watch, spread rapidly across the web, appearing on Media Matters, Daily Kos, Mother Jones, this blog, and myriad smaller venues. By Tuesday evening, he was in full defense mode, backpedalling and accusing the media of deliberately twisting his words.

Radio host Alan Colmes, who had linked to the interview with right-wing radio host Janet Mefferd on his own radio site under the headline, “William Gheen: Violent, Illegal Activities May Be Needed to Bring Down Obama,” Tuesday evening gave him an opportunity to clarify.

Breathless and agitated, Gheen told Colmes that that 80% of Americans agree with ALIPAC’s position on immigration, and that he himself has so thoroughly demonstrated his commitment to peace that it’s “ridiculous” that anyone would imagine he thought violence might be the only way to stop Obama.

Here’s a sample exchange:

Colmes: “Your words were, ‘violent’ and…”

Gheen: “I never said that was needed. I never said that was needed to bring down Obama like you said on your website.”

Colmes: “Well, tell me what you mean.”

Gheen: “I was reporting the condition of the American people.”

Colmes: “That’s not you said on that show.”

Gheen: “Well, I don’t have to!”

Colmes: “How am I supposed to know what you mean? What am I, psychic? … Mr. Gheen, I’m only repeating your own words.”

Ultimately, Gheen conceded: “I was speaking off the cuff and I should have prepared my comments a little bit better so they would not be exploited by my political opposition.” Colmes objected to the word “exploited,” but let him let him off fairly easy: “The rhetoric you used on this show seemed to probably not reflect what you truly in your heart believe, and thus you may have been misinterpreted, but they are your own words that you did use.”

Those weren’t Gheen’s only words. In the same Monday interview in which he suggested that those who wished to save “white America” from dictatorship might have to resort to violence, he also proposed that a military coup would do the trick.

“I didn’t say just impeachment. I said remove him from office because some people are also leaning to the words ‘treason’ and talking about the military coming in or somebody just coming in taking this guy into some form of arrest if we’re doing this,” he told Meferd.

“What does a nation do when this happens? We may have to try to gather in the streets and demand that Obama step down. But you know when you talk about doing that, you’re gonna gather in the streets of Washington D.C., which where Obama has a support rate of 88% of the blacks and Hispanics who live there.”

Strange words from a non-racist pacifist.

A “clarification” posted Tuesday on ALIPAC’s forum was more of the same. “What peaceful and political hope do we have for any future border or immigration enforcement in America? Those responsible for this well organized invasion and betrayal of the American citizenry know the answer to that…. NONE!”

He continued: “I am greatly saddened that anyone would place Americans in positions to chose between submission and violent revolt, but I am not the one creating that horrible situation, and I consider both options to be deplorable.”

Gheen has made himself perfectly clear. As he sees it, there is no “peaceful and political” way to resolve things, and violence is the only alternative for Americans who don’t want to submit to dictatorship.

Which is exactly what he said in the first place.

Perhaps it will comfort him to know that his rant brought in at least one new supporter. In a post titled, “Congratulations, William Gheen,” Hunter Wallace of the white nationalist hate site Occidental Dissent (motto: “Outlaw Conservatism in Black Run Amerika”) wrote yesterday: “I have quarreled with William Gheen in the past over his support for ‘legal immigration’ from Latin America and his tireless attempts to distance ALIPAC from ‘extremist groups,’ but I now believe that Mr. Gheen is starting to realize the true magnitude of the crisis we are facing.”

  • Dick Lancaster

    Thomas Jefferson said something similar with no apologies.

  • juepucta

    His failure to ‘get’ what is wrong about what he said is precisely, for example, why teapartiers cannot connect their rhetoric to the Giffords shooting.


  • jwd

    In his own words,Mr. Gheen stated his only concern is with the comfort zone of “White America” not american citizenry as a whole. I guess we know what his motivation is what he truly stands for.

  • legalhound

    It’s ironic that this fool has the nerve to use the word treason when talking about Pres. Obama when the very thing he is talking about is sedition and that falls under the definition of treason. We have free k-12 education in this country so you would think that this guy and others like him could read. I guess they fall under the category of intentionally illiterate!

  • Robin White

    Pretty spooky. Saying one thing, to a sympathetic audience, and then contradicting that as a matter of expedience when confronted by another talk-show host; with no compunction about lying for the effect of immediate expediency. Does that reflect cognitive dissonance? I’m willing to bet this bloke doesn’t believe his own words in either instance–masking who-knows-what in the dark interior spaces of his mind. No cognitive dissonance here! Here is someone who really has nothing of use to offer.

  • Shadow Wolf

    It could be that Mr. Gheen was getting wildly desperate. And you know how “desperate people will do desperate things”. I wouldn’t give this guy a pass, despite his half-witted apology. Actually, I don’t think this guy is apologetic at all. He clearly knows what he’s getting at. And he should be admonished for it.

  • Burke101

    he is scrambling with all the effectiveness of a bug stuck on a pin

    This is a hateful thing to say. It dehumanizes this fellow by comparing him to an insect, as well as seeming to advocate that he be the subject of violence.

    Turn yourself in for hate crimes.

  • Reynardine

    Actually, Gheen’s utterances are squarely on point with the sedition and insurrection statutes, 18 USC 2381 et seq. And under the incitement to mutiny sections, Fox News should by no means be broadcast to active duty troops.

    I harp again, but: Fox needs to be designated a hate organization.

  • CM

    Gheen’s claim that 80 percent of Americans agree with his outfit’s crazy policies is totally imaginary but speaks to why he and other extremists are leaning toward “direct action”: because in fact the majority of Americans firmly disagree with them, and taking a route through the democratic process just won’t get them where they want to go. Basically, they just don’t like our democratic republic or the Constitution that is its basis.

  • skinnyminny

    Gheen is an outright lunatic if he thinks Obama is responsible for illegal immigration. I guess he is a ‘big business’ supporter and wants his followers to believe that Obama is responsible for the hiring of illegal immigration. And to call for the military to do a coup, for what? And even if that were to happen, he can kiss his ‘white America,’ goodbye, because this will become a country that no one wants to live in.

    I don’t understand how these guys can say these things and not look at what happens in other countries. We did a coup in Iraq, and look at that country, it is still trying to get back to normal. We have military in Iraq, but that still doesn’t protect the citzenry or the military. Countries don’t rebuild their infrastructure overnight. It’s bad enough that after Hurricane Katrina all republican governors swore they would repair/update levees, i.e., Califas Schwarzenegger, it was never done. Homes are still damaged after Katrina. Road across this country are falling apart. Assets that were paid for by taxpayer dollars are being sold to the highest bidder – ports, roads, local government buildings, local governments are outsourcing to temporary employment agencies like Manpower to work in the clerical dept for probation in Califas…at the same time, fees are being charged to call 911 for a city ambulance like about $342. Meanwhile since the banks have done people in with their mortgages and the cities are not receiving revenues from real estate taxes, and the rich won’t pay their fair share, we are getting hit in other ways to make up the difference.

    I’ll tell you what, the American people are getting fed up. The way the poor and middle class is getting the shaft at the expense of the rich, people may start to leave on their own. That’s right, leave the rich with their money and mansions surrounded by slum. It’s bad enough this place is starting to look like Brazil – the rich surrounded by the favelas. Oh boy, gotta love America!

  • Matthew Bright

    When movements of people attempting to attain various goals are engaged in telling constant lies to get what they want, now and then a loudmouth like this fellow will come along and give away the whole facade. But the fact that he has been a go-to-guy for an organization like the New York Times is disheartening, to say the least.

    This guy wants to kill people. And I think his “problem” with the unspeakable Shawna Forde has less to do with her having murdered a Mexican American child and more to do with the fact that she got caught.

  • ModerateMike

    I have never been quite sure if the increasingly seditious tone of the extreme right reflects supreme confidence or growing desperation. One would think that remarks such as Gheen’s would give pause even to some of the President’s more ardent critics, but then, intemperate remarks by politicians in the 2010 elections did not hurt them nearly as much as I would have thought. In any case, however, Gheen doesn’t sound like he is just engaging in mere bluster anymore…and as far as I am concerned, if he really does intend for people to act upon his call for violent insurrection, then he is committing a crime.

  • Reynardine

    Well, that’s kind of like the guy who says, “I’m so sorry you can’t forgive my running over your puppy on purpose”, or maybe the woman who says, “I’m so sorry you’re feeling that petty over my sleeping with your husband”.