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

New Intelligence Report Focuses on Possible Border Vigilante Killings

By Mark Potok on August 28, 2012 - 8:32 am, Posted in Intelligence Report

Are U.S.-born vigilantes murdering Latino immigrants near the U.S.-Arizona border?

The Southern Poverty Law Center today released its latest issue of the Intelligence Report, and the magazine’s cover story sifts through some of the evidence suggesting that undocumented immigrants may have been killed by nativist extremists in Arizona.

While the story is not conclusive, it cites internal law enforcement documents focusing on the murders of four people in two 2007 incidents near Eloy, Ariz., that say that “[i]t appears that the same group of individuals is working in concert to intentionally kill IAs [illegal aliens].” The story also examines the remarkably similar murders of two people this April in the same remote area of the state.

“In Arizona, we might not have Hammerskins  or Volksfront or the Klan,” one retired Arizona detective, referencing several well-known white supremacist groups, told the Report. “What we do have is a lot of angry, militant white men on the border sitting like hunters waiting for these people to come across.”

Other stories in the newly released Intelligence Report include:

  • A feature probing WorldNetDaily, a conspiracy theory factory posing as a “news” source for conservatives. The organization run by one-time news executive Joseph Farah is filled with absurd claims and end-of-the-world predictions, but the one that best characterizes its foolishness is its breathless claim, made in a multi-part series, that soybeans cause homosexuality.
  • A description of the personal price paid by a police officer who spent seven years successfully infiltrating racist gangs in Florida.
  • A look at two Greensboro, N.C., detectives’ path-breaking efforts to protect their county against the “paper terrorism” practiced by local “sovereign citizens,” people who do not believe they have to obey most federal tax and criminal laws. (Earlier this month, two police officers were allegedly murdered by sovereign citizens, bringing to eight the number of law enforcement officials slain by members of the movement since 2000.)
  • An investigative piece examining the National Alliance, once America’s leading neo-Nazi organization, 10 years after the death of its founder. As one racist laments, “It’s a shame watching yet another organization collapse.”
  • A feature about Paul Pantone, an eccentric in Oklahoma who claims he’s invented a motor that will run on almost any liquid — and who had drawn the interest of radical rightists, his neighbors and local law enforcement.
  • A look at a cult-like Catholic-bashing group near Shawano, Wis., whose members fear that a Vatican conspiracy aims to silence their founder.
  • Erika

    Thanks Leah :)

  • Reynardine

    By what I have read, these people know exactly how to make the forensics diffiicult, and I don’t doubt for a minute that many of the decomps and skeletons found in the desert are their victims. In many cases, it would be sufficent to kidnap people who had almost reached safety, deprve them of food, water, compasses, maps, and perhaps shoes, and dump them off where there was no hope of survival.

    Singularly, a number of these men look like they have serious endocrine problems.

  • Leah Nelson


    I didn’t find a connection between SIST and Chick Publications per se, but one of the main architects of the group’s anti-Catholic conspiracy theory mentioned during our interview that she was a fan of Jack Chick. She drew her “research” on the Church from a broad range of sources, though.


  • Erika

    is there any connection between Chick Publications and SIST? They appear to have the same beliefs regarding Catholics.

  • Sandy Berman

    “Vigilantes sit at the border, guns on their laps, looking for those who might cross over. President Bush promises to send 6,000 National Guardsmen there and to build a wall.

    Archconservatives threaten to make felons out of the undocumented and those who help them. But immigrants from south of the border, along with their supporters, have been demonstrating, by the hundreds of thousands, for the rights of foreign-born people, whether here legally or illegally.

    There is a persistent sign: “No Human Being Is Illegal.”

    Discrimination against the foreign born has a long history, going back to the beginning of the nation.”

    In this July 2006 article for The Progressive, Howard Zinn provides a context for today’s immigration reform debate by tracing the history of how we’ve treated foreign-born people in this country since the Revolutionary War:

    From anti-Irish and anti-Chinese sentiment in the mid and late nineteenth century to the deportation of Russians from the U.S. just after the Bolshevik Revolution…

    From the McCarthy Era to the ironically titled Patriot Act.

    Howard portrays the Bush Administration’s decision to build a wall at the southern border of California and Arizona as a tired example of our politicians and our government surrendering to fear while forgetting the equal rights that all humans share.

    The hate today is exponentially worse.

    A great read.

  • Reynardine

    Yeah, Sam, and they know it, too.

  • Sam Molloy

    Of course there are people doing this. If they were killing genuine drug cartel operatives, the drug cartels would surely elininate them. They only kill poor people coming here looking for honest work.

  • Reynardine

    I’ve long suspected they were murdering border-crossers, and if someone is finally noticing it, the actual body count must be at least in the hundreds.