The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Nestled in the rolling hills of the Ozark Mountains, Harrison, Ark., has a refurbished old-time town square and a steadily growing community college. Yet, like scores of small cities and towns across the country, the town could always use more tourist dollars and new businesses.
What the largely white city of 13,000 residents does not need is another racially provocative billboard, churning up its ghosts and scaring away potential industry and employees. But that is exactly what Harrison got Tuesday when the neo-Confederate Alabama-based League of the South (LOS) unveiled its latest billboard, once again plastered with the group’s one-word silent scream, “#Secede.”
The League, which advocates for a second secession—like the first went so well—and a society dominated by “European Americans,” has previously placed billboards in Florida, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. But this is apparently its first foray into Harrison, the site since 2013 of a war of words and billboards that has pitted white nationalists against the city and the Harrison Community Task Force on Race Relations.
Gavin Seim, the self-described “liberty speaker” who organized last month’s “We Will Not Comply” rally in Olympia to protest a recently approved gun-control law in Washington state, was arrested earlier this month for disrupting court proceedings.
Seim, 29, an ardent proponent of far-right “Patriot” movement theories on constitutional law and a frequent critic of police behavior, was taken into custody along with his 59-year-old father, Grant, by Douglas County sheriff’s deputies on Jan. 15 after a group of about ten protesters disrupted the courtroom of Judge Judith L. McCauley in East Wenatchee.
The protesters were there to observe the proceedings in a traffic case involving Tavis Shasteen, 19, who had been cited in October after being briefly arrested for refusing to give his license information to a deputy who had pulled him over for speeding. Since, Seim had turned the case into an antigovernment cause celebre.
Texas-based white supremacist and activist Preston Wiginton, best known for bringing racists to college campuses, is at it again, this time sponsoring anti-LGBT pastor James Manning to speak at Texas A&M University next month.
The topic of Manning’s speech will be “The True State of Black America”—an interesting title considering Manning is African American speaking at the invitation of a man who once claimed, “beating down a mud [person of color] when they try to poisen [sic] one of our own or when they try to seduce one of our [white] girls may not be God inspired, but rather a righteous act of collective preservation.”
American Family Association repudiates chief spokesman’s racist and anti-LGBT statements before hosting Israel trip for RNC members
In a letter to SPLC officials, the American Family Association (AFA) has disavowed a series of racist and bigoted statements made by its chief spokesman in recent years.
The repudiation of Bryan Fischer’s statements came just two days before members of the Republican National Committee (RNC) are scheduled to embark on a trip to Israel sponsored by the AFA.
Last week, the SPLC wrote to all 168 members of the RNC urging them not to accompany the AFA on the trip because of the group’s long track record of bigotry and hate. The SPLC has named the AFA as a hate group due to its history of making false, demonizing statements about the LGBT community, including Fischer’s contention that gay men were responsible for the Holocaust.
SPLC President Richard Cohen, in a letter to the AFA today, wrote that “it’s difficult to see the AFA’s disavowal as anything other than an effort to quell the negative press attention you’re receiving in connection with your sponsorship of an all-expenses-paid trip to Israel for members of the Republican National Committee.”
Fischer has claimed, for example, that black people “rut like rabbits”; that the First Amendment applies only to Christians; that Hispanics are “socialists by nature” and come to the U.S. to “plunder” the country; that Muslims should not be permitted to build mosques in the United States; that an underground railroad is needed to protect children from gay parents; and more.
In the Jan. 28 letter to the SPLC, AFA general counsel Patrick Vaughn listed a series of offensive comments from Fischer and said the organization “has never held these views and wishes to clarify that it still rejects such sentiments.”
Vaughn also wrote that Fischer would no longer serve as an AFA spokesperson or its director of issue analysis. However, Fischer will continue to host his two-hour, daily Focal Point radio show and write blog posts. Vaughn wrote that the AFA’s radio network provides a “diversity” of viewpoints but that Fischer’s statements do not represent the views of the AFA.
In response, Cohen wrote, “The fact that the AFA is continuing to allow Mr. Fischer to host a daily radio show and blog on its website also makes us question the AFA’s sincerity. Sponsoring Mr. Fischer’s racism, anti-Semitism, and hatred of the Muslim and the LGBT communities in the name of ‘diversity’ says as much about the AFA as it does about Mr. Fischer.
“Is there nothing beyond the pale in the AFA’s view? Does the AFA believe that statements such as these have a place on its airwaves? Is this what the AFA considers ‘diversity’?”
Cohen noted that other AFA officials, including its president, Tim Wildmon, and founder, Don Wildmon, also have made statements “that reflect narrow-minded bigotry” and that AFA printed materials have demonized the LGBT community.
“Without ending Mr. Fischer’s talk show, without apologizing for the bigoted statements that he, Mr. Wildmon, and others associated with the AFA have made, and without making it crystal clear that the AFA will not tolerate any such statements in the future, the AFA’s 11th-hour disavowal of Mr. Fischer appears to serve only one purpose: to give the AFA a degree of plausible deniability while it continues to spew hateful rhetoric,” Cohen wrote. “It’s a shell game and a transparent one at that.”
Letter to the American Family Association from the Southern Poverty Law Center, Thursday, January 29, 2015. Download (PDF).
Letter to the Southern Poverty Law Center from the American Family Association, Wednesday, January 28, 2015. Download (PDF).
Rachel Maddow: American Family Association fires Bryan Fischer as analysis director ahead of RNC trip to Israel.
CNN: South Carolina judge throws out old convictions for sit-ins from Civil Rights era for ‘Friendship Nine.’
News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.): Police say traffic incident quickly escalated into racial assault on woman.
American-Statesman (Austin, TX): Aryan Brotherhood member faces felony theft charge after stealing snacks at Wal-Mart.
Right Wing Watch: Far-right activist Bill Federer warns of the Obama-Ferguson-Islamist-Homosexual plot to destroy America.
Raw Story: Seattle man needed state official’s help to deal with bogus charges for ‘walking while black.’
Idaho Statesman: Huge crowd, deep division at hearing for proposal to ban anti-LGBT discrimination in Idaho.
A man just arrested in Virginia on murder-for-hire charges has ties to racist Christian Identity and KKK groups that hosted a “whites only” gathering and cross burning in 2012 in Alabama, a television station reports.
Dallas W. Brumback Jr., 35, of Sterling, Va., was arrested on Jan. 22 by Loudoun County sheriff’s detectives on a charge of attempted capital murder. The suspect is accused of making a $2,500 down-payment last November to have his ex-wife murdered in a $5,000 deal with a hit-man, charging documents allege.
Brumback is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday for a bond hearing. The suspect’s attorney, Caleb A. Kershner, of Leesburg, Va., did not return telephone calls from Hatewatch seeking comment.
Julie Carey, the Northern Virginia bureau chief for NBC4 Washington who broke the story on Monday, reported that court documents and interviews with Brumback’s neighbors revealed his ties to a “whites-only Christian organization.”
In July 2012, Brumback helped organize a racist gathering near Birmingham, Ala. where Ku Klux Klan banners were displayed and only certain white Christians were allowed, the station reported.
During that three-day racist gathering, Brumback, who said he lived in Virginia, told ABC 33/40, a television station in Birmingham, that he was a “pastor” with Christian Identity Ministries.
“The Ku Klux Klan is a political organization for white Christians,” Brumback told the Birmingham station in explaining the purpose of the gathering and cross-burning. He appeared with short hair in the 2012 video, a stark comparison to long hair and a beard at the time of his arrest.
News video from that gathering shows a banner listing the Ku Klux Klan Realm of Virginia and a website that’s no longer active.
The NBC4 report said Brumback and the woman he allegedly wanted killed filed for divorce in 2006, with his then-wife complaining he was in the Ku Klux Klan and that he “threatened to commit suicide by cop, prompting her to call police because of his erratic behavior.”
Brumback denied the suicide claim but not his KKK ties before the couple’s divorce was finalized in 2007, the Washington station reported. It’s unknown what motivated the murder for hire plot.
Brumback lives with his new wife and 3 children in a home on Redrose Drive in Sterling. His mother, Fay Brumback, lives next door. She hung up and wouldn’t respond to question and hung up when contacted by Hatewatch today.
Her ex-husband and the suspect’s estranged father, Dallas W. Brumback Sr., who also lives in Sterling, told Hatewatch he didn’t participate in the 2012 racist gathering in Alabama and wasn’t aware of his son’s involvement with hate groups.
NBC4 also reported that said some of Brumback’s neighbors “considered a threat because he frequently fired his weapon in his yard, killing crows and other animals” and frequently wore camouflage clothing. Other neighbors told the station that his activities didn’t bother them, but they confirmed his ties to white supremacist groups.
Right Wing Watch: GOP witnesses for Loretta Lynch hearing include a number of far-right extremists.
Think Progress: How anti-LGBT conservatives plan to use a cake reading ‘God Hates Gays’.
Cook County Record: Judge calls out litigants for using ‘sovereign citizen’ theories in court, urges sanctions.
Salon: Gay Alabama legislator threatens to expose colleagues’ infidelities if they preach ‘family values.’
Spokesman-Review (Spokane): LDS Church announcement on protections for gays makes big waves in Idaho.
Pandagon: Superheroes vs. bigotry can be a powerful thing.
In a rural corner of Oregon — a microcosm of what once was the Wild West — local authorities decided they wouldn’t wait for “the feds” to put the snare on a gang of white supremacists that had been shooting up the town, causing mayhem.
Umatilla County Sheriff Stuart Roberts and District Attorney Daniel Primus took their case against members of the United Aryan Empire to a county grand jury last week and returned with three state racketeering indictments.
The grand jury, composed of local citizens, heard evidence against the white supremacist gang in a secret session in Pendleton, a western-theme community of 16,000 best known for an annual rodeo called the “Pendleton Roundup.”
The racketeering indictment is a “roundup” of its own sort — one that encompasses multiple alleged criminal acts in one charging document.
Named in separate indictments were Jeremiah Jerome Mauer, 30, the alleged founder of the United Aryan Empire, and members Warren Gerald Browning, 35, and Gregory Charles Tinnell, 43, all of Pendleton. Because of their prior records, they each face lengthy prison terms if convicted.
The racketeering indictments were returned less than three weeks after Pendleton police arrested the three felons on charges of shooting into occupied homes, detonating an explosive device and involvement in a large gang fight. At least five firearms, including an illegally sawed-off shotgun, were recovered during the investigation. Two other affiliates of the gang, Steven Ray Grangood, 22, and Sarah Frankfort, 30, also were arrested and face related criminal charges.
Federal authorities were made aware of the investigation and, at a minimum, easily could have brought federal firearms charges against the three defendants. But the federal investigative timeline, involving assistant U.S. attorneys in Portland and a federal grand jury, is a much longer one.
Pendleton Police Chief Stuart Roberts made it clear in an interview with Hatewatch earlier this month that his department was aggressively pursuing the gang of white supremacists and was uncovering new crimes that had gone unreported for fear of reprisals.
The United Aryan Empire was a start-up white supremacist gang founded by Mauer, who failed in his attempt to join European Kindred, a neo-Nazi skinhead gang with multiple members in Portland and the state’s prison system, the chief said.
Mauer was charged with racketeering and 16 other counts, including conspiracy to commit murder, assault, riot, unlawful use of a weapon and being a felon in possession of a firearm. The racketeering count against him lists 15 separate crimes – “predicate acts” – he allegedly carried out as part of the gang’s enterprise.
Tinnell was charged with racketeering and 20 other counts, including two counts of conspiracy to commit murder, assault, riot, six counts of recklessly endangering another person and being a felon in possession of a firearm. The racketeering count against Tinnell lists 18 separate crimes.
Browning is charged with 12 counts, including racketeering, listing nine separate criminal acts. The counts against him include conspiracy to commit murder, assault, riot and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
The state “riot” charge brought against each of the defendants alleges they engaged in “tumultuous and violent conduct recklessly creating a grave risk of causing public alarm.”
The Utah State Supreme Court has taken what it describes as a “drastic measure” in forfeiting a convicted racist killer’s right to an attorney for a pending appeal.
Curtis Michael Allgier has forfeited his right to an attorney — paid for by taxpayers — because he “has repeatedly engaged in extreme dilatory, disruptive and threatening conduct,” the state’s highest court said in an 8-page ruling on Friday. Specifically, Allgier threatened the lives of his court-appointed defense attorneys, even mailing a letter to the home of one of them, the ruling said.
Forfeiture of the constitutional right to a court-appointed defense attorney “is a drastic measure,” the state high court ruling said, and a “defendant must engage in extreme conduct” before it may be imposed. “We conclude that making threats to the welfare of appointed counsel may constitute extreme conduct justifying a forfeiture of counsel,” the ruling said.
Allgier faced a possible death penalty for the 2007 shooting death of Utah corrections officer Stephen Anderson, who was killed with his own service revolver as he escorted Allgier to the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City. But in a plea deal, prosecutors removed the death penalty in exchange for Allgier’s pleas in 2012 to charges of aggravated murder, disarming a peace officer, aggravated escape, aggravated robbery and possession of a dangerous weapon.
A judge sentenced Allgier to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Almost immediately, he appealed, arguing he had ineffective assistance of counsel.
Allgier — whose body is covered with neo-Nazi and white supremacist tattoos — was given a court-appointed attorney from the Salt Lake Legal Defender Association for the appeal. But shortly thereafter that attorney filed a motion to withdraw because of an “irreparable breakdown in attorney-client relationship,” the Supreme Court ruling said.
To bolster his request to withdraw, the defense attorney said Allgier had filed a bar complaint against him and threatened “it [would] get very ugly” if the attorney didn’t bow out. Allgier’s bar complaint said he was “trying to be nice, but [would] resort to other means of removal” if the defense attorney wasn’t removed.
“He don’t [sic] want to learn how much I don’t give a damn,’’ Allgier said in the complaint.
Once that attorney was released, two new court-appointed attorneys were named to represent Allgier, but within a few weeks he filed his own motion demanding their removal, too. The convicted killer said he “refuse[d] these quacks forced upon [him]” and asked for another defense attorney appointed by a different judge.
The court denied that motion, but that didn’t stop Allgier from filing three more pro se motions, demanding removal of the two new defense attorneys without providing adequate documentation to support his claims, the Supreme Court justices said.
Allgier said his court-appointed attorneys “are the dumbest ass clowns I’ve ever had the EXTREME dishonorable displeasure of being forced to know.” He called them incompetent and ineffective and said “NEVER will they have the honor of being in my Aryan GOD presence or having any kind of contact with me, period!”
When those new attorneys attempted to withdraw from representing Allgier, the issue was appealed to the Utah State Supreme Court. The attorneys said as part of the “irreparable breakdown in attorney-client communication,” Allgier had removed the attorneys from his visiting list and refused delivery of their correspondence. Their motion also said Allgier has “leveled threats against counsel,” including statements that he “knows how to find people outside of prison” and has mailed documents to the home address of one of his new attorneys, an address that wasn’t provided to the inmate.
Court-appointed defense attorneys “perform an indispensable service to the administration of the criminal justice system,” the Supreme Court ruling said. Some defendants “may be very difficult to work with and unwilling to accept responsibility for their own actions” and others “may mistakenly assume that they are entitled to the appointed counsel of their choosing,” the ruling said.
“This is work that warrants gratitude from a client, yet it is work that actually may receive less gratitude, and doing it may require an exceptionally thick skin,” the court said. Even so, “appointed defense attorneys should not be required to fear for their own safety or that of their professional associates or families.”
While most American-born activists who become involved in defending Palestinian rights avoid becoming overt anti-Semites even while steadfastly criticizing Israel, Kenneth O’Keefe is not one of them.
O’Keefe, a former Marine-turned-antiwar and anti-environmental activist who specializes in what he calls “direct action,” has morphed in recent years into a raving, David Duke-endorsing anti-Semite, particularly in the speeches he gives to well-known white-supremacist groups.
The most noteworthy of these was O’Keefe’s speech to the IONA London Forum, a gathering of academically oriented white supremacists and anti-Semites held last August. The speech was noteworthy for its crude ugliness: the 50-plus-minute-talk by O’Keefe revolved around the repeated phrase “fucking Jews.”
“You know, I remember as a kid, the worst insult you could say to somebody — which I didn’t even know the origin of it, but we used to all use it — and it was no basis of any kind of discrimination, it was just this term — and it was Jew. In the worst way, fucking Jew. You know, you’re a fucking Jew, or something like that.
And you know, I never really thought about it. I didn’t have any Jewish friends as far as I knew, and yet I look back at it now and I realize it must be that there is some truth behind this, that it would be the ultimate insult, that’s somehow there’s this awareness without even being aware of the historical reality of Jewish impact on human history.”
That’s only the start of what was an epic emission of hate speech from O’Keefe at the forum. In the past, he has specialized in “straight talking” appearances before various groups, but now he has shaped them in the mold of a profane David Duke, the neo-Nazi and former Klan leader.
As his mainstream-seeming bio at Veterans Today explains, O’Keefe was a Gulf War veteran who first garnered attention in the 1990s by exposing the use of depleted uranium in that war.
O’Keefe also was involved for many years in fairly radical environmental causes, having hooked up in 1998 with Paul Watson and his Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, where he eventually became the organization’s regional director in Hawaii and led the group as it rescued sea turtles and spoke out against Navy sonar activities.
A turn in O’Keefe’s career occurred in May 2001, when he was aboard the Turkish ship M.V. Mavi Marmara when it attempted to break the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip and was subsequently boarded by Israeli commandos, resulting in the deaths of nine activists. Then, in 2003, he began leading delegations of peace activists who attempted to act as “human shields” to protest the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
In 2004, he burned his U.S. passport in an attempt to renounce his American citizenship — he was replacing his old documents with a “world passport,” he explained, and called himself a “Citizen of the World” with “ultimate allegiance to my entire human family and to planet Earth.” However, as O’Keefe’s Wikipedia page explains, the State Department has never recognized this renunciation, even though O’Keefe describes himself at his website now as the holder of “Irish, Hawaiian and Palestinian citizenship.”
O’Keefe became closely identified with the Palestinian cause, and even appeared as the keynote speaker at a fundraising dinner for the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund in 2012.
As it happened, that was the same year that O’Keefe began forming a close association with David Duke. The first signs of this came in August 2012 when O’Keefe defended Duke on his Facebook page, saying: “I had a lovely 2 hour conversation with David yesterday and as per usual, the slander and lies made about anyone who is truth telling is obvious.” A little later, in the comments on his Facebook page, he claimed that Duke no longer was a white supremacist (a false claim that Duke himself is fond of making).
Then, O’Keefe appeared on Duke’s radio show in February 2013, where the pair discussed, according to Duke’s description, “the Hollywoodism Conference in Tehran, Iran. It exposes the Zio control of Hollywood which not only promotes lies about the enemies of Jewish extremism, but literally poisons the hearts and minds of hundreds of millions of people in West and all over the world.”
Later that year, Duke’s website featured an exchange between O’Keefe and anti-Semitic saxophonist/“scholar” Gilad Atzmon, a self-described “self-hating ex-Jew” whose writings and pronouncements are rich in conspiracy theories, Holocaust trivialization and distortion, and open support of anti-Israeli terrorist groups.
O’Keefe also made an appearance on a Russia Today interview program in October 2013, where he declared that President Obama should be tried for treason and added that “this man is a dictator who has assigned himself the right to execute anyone.”
When he was introduced at the London gathering in August 2014, his host boasted that O’Keefe was “a friend of David Duke.” But even that couldn’t have prepared the audience for the profanity-laced rant against “the fucking Jews” that followed.
Notably, O’Keefe savagely disavowed his onetime involvement in the peace movement:
“The mantra that I’ve gone by for many years now is TJP: truth, justice, peace. It’s pissed me off, the peace movement – what do you mean, “peace”? Fuck peace in this world. Fuck that shit, I’d rather die. I’d rather kill some of these bastards that are trying to destroy this world and take control of everything. Fuck you. I’d rather die. Peace without justice is not worth having, bottom line. Peace at the barrel of a gun is not fucking peace.”
And he predicted that eventually the scenario would play out in mob violence and retribution:
“I really feel that as long as we know the truth, the truth, an honest truth about what these people have done, then justice will play itself out quite naturally. We won’t really need to even manipulate it or set it up. It’ll happen. But we need to know the truth. And a lot of people are going to be hanging from lampposts or worse, I’m sure. I don’t doubt that for a second. All these people — they’ve got hell to pay.”
O’Keefe described former Rep. Ron Paul, a frequent candidate for the presidency with a penchant for attracting extremists to his cause, as “an incredible exception” to the corruption of American politics, which he described as “a servile, disgusting, treasonous body of assholes who actually have sold the American nation down the river.”
“The rest of ‘em, almost without exception, are a bunch of fucking puppets, and they’re a disgrace. And they should be rounded up and arrested for fucking treason — forthwith.”
For adopting such extremist beliefs and espousing such hateful nonsense, O’Keefe and Atzmon have been heavily marginalized within the larger Palestinian-rights and antiwar communities.
Even before O’Keefe made his presence known on the extremist scene, a group of pro-Palestinian activists and writers published a letter denouncing the kind of anti-Semitism being peddled by Atzmon and his cohorts:
“We reaffirm that there is no room in this historic and foundational analysis of our struggle for any attacks on our Jewish allies, Jews, or Judaism; nor denying the Holocaust; nor allying in any way shape or form with any conspiracy theories, far-right, orientalist, and racist arguments, associations and entities. Challenging Zionism, including the illegitimate power of institutions that support the oppression of Palestinians, and the illegitimate use of Jewish identities to protect and legitimize oppression, must never become an attack on Jewish identities, nor the demeaning and denial of Jewish histories in all their diversity.
Indeed, we regard any attempt to link and adopt antisemitic or racist language, even if it is within a self-described anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist politics, as reaffirming and legitimizing Zionism. In addition to its immorality, this language obscures the fundamental role of imperialism and colonialism in destroying our homeland, expelling its people, and sustaining the systems and ideologies of oppression, apartheid and occupation. It leaves one squarely outside true solidarity with Palestine and its people.”
A similar group of Palestinian intellectuals and activists co-signed a lengthy statement denouncing Atzmon and his supporters, concluding: “At this historic junction — when the need to struggle for the liberation of Palestine is more vital than ever and the fault lines of capitalist empire are becoming more widely exposed — no anti-oppressive revolution can be built with ultra-right allies or upon foundations friendly to creeping fascism.”
For his part, O’Keefe dismisses these critics by labeling them “cultural Marxists” – a far-right concept regarding the sources of liberal politics that inspired Anders Behring Breivik to kill 77 people in Norway in July 2011.