The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
AlterNet: The right-wing terror plot you didn’t hear about this week.
Huffington Post: FBI says explosion outside NAACP office in Colorado Springs could be domestic terrorism.
Right Wing Watch: FRC’s Tony Perkins regrets the direct election of Senators because it led to gay marriage.
NBC Bay Area: San Francisco DA charges man with hate crime after stabbing attack on transgender woman aboard Muni bus.
Patheos: City officials in Winfield, Ala., declare God the ‘owner’ of their city.
Media Matters: After Paris attack, Fox anchor suggests skin color can help identify ‘typical bad guys.’
Michigan Live: Disgraced GOP committeeman Dave Agema had himself a white-supremacist New Year.
Think Progress: Where is the 24-hour news cycle on the bombing at the Colorado Springs NAACP?
A neo-Nazi skinhead with a criminal record faces sentencing next month for a hate crime in which he used a pair of scissors to stab an African-American man in the head in Santa Barbara, Calif., in 2011.
Ryan Christopher Zietlow-Brown, also known as Ryan Christopher Rosenbaum, pleaded no-contest Tuesday in Santa Barbara
Superior Court to felony charges of attempted murder and mayhem. He faces up to 22 years in prison.
As part of the plea, Zietlow-Brown, 28, acknowledged he committed the felonies as part of his skinhead gang affiliation and that the offenses were hate crimes as described by California state law, Senior Deputy District Attorney Kimberly Siegel told Hatewatch.
A “no contest” plea means the defendant acknowledges that he or she would be found guilty based on the facts of the case, if it were to go to trial.
According to court testimony, Zietlow-Brown encountered two men on Aug. 12, 2011, as they walked to a McDonald’s on State Street in Santa Barbara. The two co-workers – one black and one white – were singing a song by a well-known rap group.
Zietlow-Brown approached and asked the victim “if the boy [with him] was white.” When the victim replied, “Yes, why are you asking?” Zietlow-Brown responded, “Tell him to ….[expletive] start acting like it.” The victim told Zietlow-Brown to mind his own business and continued walking.
Minutes later, as the two men were walking back to work, Zietlow-Brown approached them again, now armed with a pair of scissors he had stolen from a nearby store, Siegel said.
Zietlow-Brown attacked the victim, stabbing him multiple times in the head before fleeing to the home of a female friend. He admitted the stabbing to her and she assisted in wiping blood from the scissors, Siegel said. Zietlow-Brown later was arrested based on descriptions of the attacker provided by eyewitnesses.
“The victim has recovered, but he still experiences pain,” the prosecutor told Hatewatch. “He does have some scarring, both emotional and physical, as a result of this attack.” He is expected to attend the sentencing hearing on Feb. 24.
The case against Zietlow-Brown has been delayed several times as investigators probed his connections to other neo-Nazi skinheads in the Simi Valley and in the state’s prison system, Siegel said.
Zietlow-Brown was an associate of Kenneth Richard Barber, 45, who was convicted in Santa Barbara County of attempted premeditated murder and assault with a deadly weapon for attacking fellow jail inmates, the prosecutor said. Barber is now serving a 40-year-to-life sentence at the California State Prison in Corcoran.
In the final moments of a year marked by disorganization, personal attacks, and dramatics on the white nationalist right, leaders of the movement haven’t failed to disappoint with one last public dispute.
Greg Johnson, editor of Counter-Currents, a white nationalist publishing house, penned an article just days before the New Year, titled “Rethinking the White Nationalist Conference.” In that essay, Johnson claims that national conferences have become exercises in self-congratulation and resource squandering for many on the racist right.
“The days when American White Nationalists could court global media attention by holding public conferences at private facilities are over,” wrote Johnson, lamenting the loss of coverage by “major media” like CSPAN and National Public Radio.
And Johnson has a point. White nationalist conferences have become obsolete. As more news sources appear in the Internet age, the message that was once so incendiary that it would attract the attention of major television and newspaper outlets has been drowned out by Internet static. What Johnson recommends in response is an effort to refocus resources on local events to build the base, instead of massive national conferences.
Predictably, other white nationalist organizers, including some writing for Johnson’s own site, disagree.
Matthew Parrott, co-founder of the Traditionalist Youth Network, immediately took issue with Johnson’s claims that national conferences are an inefficient use of what funds are available to white nationalists.
“Greg’s correct that the political backdrop has changed dramatically in the decades since the first conference,” Parrott wrote. “But the mainstream media is much smaller and much less respected than it was then. The past twenty years have been far more kind to AmRen than it’s been to the media weasels set against it.”
The site’s ability to raise money has allowed Johnson to operate as one of the only full-time white nationalist activists. However, the privileged position from which he peddles his brand of pseudo-intellectual extremism has not stifled his complaints that the sums raised at the American Renaissance conference would be more than enough to hire a several full-time staffers to promote white nationalism.
Johnson doesn’t trumpet his successful fundraising while making these points. Neither do Parrott and Brad Griffin of the white nationalist blog Occidental Dissent, who also published a rebuttal. Instead, he takes issue with Johnson’s focus on intellectualizing and abstracting white nationalism.v
“The inevitable result of retreating from the real world into cyberspace will be to rely even more on anonymity,” Griffin wrote. “[It] will strengthen the taboos, generate more fear, cowardice, and conspiratorial paranoia in our ranks, exacerbate points of disagreement, and further impoverish the already low state of social capital in the movement.”
In his first column of 2015, published on the right-wing website News with Views, Wooldridge continued his campaign to denigrate Muslims, calling for a ban on all Muslim immigration to the U.S. and warning that no Western country will “survive [Muslim] birthrates or culture.”
“Islam grows in America. This beast roams America in places like Philadelphia where Muslim women walk Market Street where Ben Franklin walked,” Wooldridge wrote. “At some point, we must shut down all Muslim immigration before we lose control of our own country. They prove relentless, uncompromising and unyielding. No such thing as a ‘moderate Muslim!’”
The column is the third installment in a series titled, “Impregnating America With Muslims: Onslaught on our Ethos, Language and Culture.” It also quoted heavily from an October 2014 sermon delivered by Rabbi Shalom Lewis of Congregation Etz Chaim, where Lewis called for a “holy crusade” against Muslim extremists.
Wooldridge has a long history of anti-Muslim vitriol, and he is far from an isolated figure within the broader anti-immigrant movement. He is an advisory board member with the hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), founded by white nationalist John Tanton, the architect of the modern-day anti-immigrant movement. Wooldridge also worked as a “senior writing fellow” for the anti-immigrant group Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS). Both FAIR and CAPS received funding from the Pioneer Fund, a foundation dedicated to funding the studies of race and intelligence, as well as eugenics, the “science” of breeding superior human beings that was discredited by various Nazi atrocities.
Incidentally, the idea of Muslim immigration diluting western culture has long been a nativist fascination. As early as 2000, for example, FAIR attacked Sen. Spencer Abraham (R-Mich.), an Arab-American, for supporting more high-tech visas for immigrants. In radio and TV ads, FAIR claimed Abraham’s proposal could “make it easier for [Arab] terrorists like Osama bin Laden to export their way of terror to any street in America.”
A decade later, in the Fall 2010, Tanton’s anti-immigrant journal The Social Contract (TSC) called for a ban on all Muslim immigration to the U.S. Tanton’s right hand man, K.C. McAlpin, attempted to justify the call for a ban, saying “Congress has used that power in the past to ban the immigration of Communist Party and National Socialist (Nazi) party members who were deemed to be threats to our national security. This case is no different.”
But in reality, for Wooldridge and McAlpin, it is completely different.
FBI agents and local law enforcement officials are seeking a middle-aged, balding white man this morning in connection with an explosion yesterday outside of the Colorado Springs chapter of the NAACP, the oldest civil rights organization in the country.
In a press statement, the FBI described the man as a “potential person of interest” who may have been driving “a 2000 or older model dirty, white pickup truck with paneling” and “a missing or covered license plate.”
An improvised explosive device (IED) was placed against the wall of the building on the 600 block of El Paso Street and exploded shortly before 11 a.m. Tuesday, according to The Gazette newspaper. There were two NAACP volunteers inside the office at the time of the explosion, which knocked items off the walls. No one was injured.
Gene Southerland, who owns Mr. G’s Hair Design Studio, which shares the building with the NAACP, told The Gazette that “neighbors came out and said they saw a Caucasian gentleman get into a white truck.”
“It was a beautiful day and everything, sunny,” Southerland added. “And in broad daylight, you hear this explosion. It’s frightening.”
The motive for the bombing is unknown at this time.
In a Tweet late Tuesday night, Cornell Brooks, the president of the NAACP, said, “Thankfully no one was hurt in a suspicious explosion at our Colorado Spring #NAACP office. We remain vigilant.”
There is good reason for the venerable civil rights organization to be vigilant. Here is a list of some earlier attacks on the NAACP:
1965: NAACP leader George Metcalfe is injured in Mississippi car bombing. He was trying to integrate the cafeteria of a local tire plant.
May 1981: Ten people are arrested, including Klan leaders from Maryland and Delaware, who were planning to bomb NAACP offices in Baltimore.
Summer 1989: Shots are fired into NAACP HQ in Baltimore.
August 1989: A tear gas mail bomb is sent to the Atlanta regional NAACP office. It goes off, injuring eight children who are patients of a pediatrician whose offices were located in the same building.
Dec. 18, 1989: Robert Robertson, chairman of the Legal Redress Committee of the Savannah, Ga., NAACP, is killed by a letter bomb in his Savannah office. The attack came two days after another mail bomb killed federal judge Robert Vance. Letter bombs were also sent to the federal courthouse in Atlanta and the Jacksonville, Fla., NAACP office, but were detected and defused. It turned out that the bomber was Walter Leroy Moody, whose main motive was resentment against the court system; his targeting of the NAACP is now believed to have been a diversion. After the killings, Moody sent a letter, signed by the Americans for a Competent Federal Judiciary, claiming they were in reprisal for the rape and murder of Julie Love, a young white woman in Atlanta, allegedly by two black men.,
July 20, 1993: Two neo-Nazis firebomb the NAACP office in Tacoma, Wash., damaging the building but causing no injuries. The main perpetrator, Mark Kowaalski, was a member of both the American Front racist skinhead gang and the neo-Nazi Church of the Creator.
Summer 1993: Arsonists attack the NAACP office in San Francisco.
Summer 1993: The Sacramento, Calif, NAACP office is firebombed.
Whatever the motive for the bombing in Colorado Springs, the NAACP chapter president, Henry Allen Jr., vowed to continue fighting for civil rights.
“We’ll move on,” Allen told The Gazette. “This won’t deter us from doing the job we want to do in the community.”
Arizona Republic: Federal judge shuts down Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s immigrant-focused workplace raids.
Denver Post: ‘Improvised explosive device’ detonates near Colorado Spring NAACP chapter offices.
Bloomberg View: Five reasons Steve Scalise’s apology won’t be the last coming from Republicans.
Warren Throckmorton: Michael Peroutka’s Institute on the Constitution doubles down on exploiting Martin Luther King Jr.
Think Progress: Conservatives finally admit that Indiana ‘religious liberty’ bill will legalize anti-LGBT discrimination.
Raw Story: MSNBC’s Chris Matthews observes that Tea Party Republicans ‘aren’t that far’ from white supremacists.
Media Matters: Fox’s Bill O’Reilly hosts David Duke to defend House whip for speaking to white supremacist group.
Raw Story: Alabama police fatally shoot antigovernment ‘sovereign citizen’ at animal shelter.
Asbury Park Press: Man charged with hate crime for burning swastika into Lakewood family’s lawn.
Boston Globe: Boston cop charged with assaulting Uber driver allegedly uttered racial slurs.
Right Wing Watch: Larry Klayman’s predictions for 2015 include Ebola, race war, and dictatorship.
Talking Points Memo: Fox News host falls for racist fake photo while bashing ‘Black Brunch’ protests.
WREG-TV (Memphis, TN): ‘Pro-white’ flyers spotted in southwest Memphis.
Think Progress: To avoid marrying same-sex couples, 14 Florida counties stop all courthouse weddings.
Think Progress: GOP leaders circle the wagons for House whip Steve Scalise over speech to white supremacists.
Huffington Post: David Duke warns politicians from both parties he might expose their ties to his organization.
Louisiana Voice: As Steve Scalise scandal grows, sordid details emerge about the dark underside of the white supremacist movement.
Right Wing Watch: The five craziest right-wing conspiracy theories of 2014.
The Root: Vandals hit Alabama grandmother’s home with broken windows, racist graffiti: “Move nigger now..”
Helena Independent-Record: Militia-promoting pastor Matthew Trewhella to deliver election sermon at Montana state capitol.
Idaho Statesman: Idaho appeals court overturns conviction of black man after prosecutor recited Confederate anthem.
Athens (GA) Banner-Herald: Georgia Ku Klux Klan group fighting to be able to join highway-cleanup program.
Mediaite: Fox’s Jesse Watters says that if police were really racist, they would just let blacks kill each other.
This time, there is no doubt who put up the latest racially charged billboard in Harrison, Ark., a nearly all-white city in the Ozarks that is struggling for its soul.
The Ku Klux Klan did it.
The sign brought national media attention to the city and its history of racial hostility to African Americans. But no one claimed responsibility for the sign. The man who owned the billboard company declined to say who paid to lease the space.
The Harrison Community Task Force on Race Relations, which has been working mightily for 12 years improve race relations and the city’s reputation, put up two signs of its own: “Love your neighbor.”
In March of 2014, another racially charged billboard was added just below the yellow sign. It featured a picture of a smiling white family and read, “Beautiful Town, Beautiful People, No Wrong Exits, No Bad Neighborhoods.”
The signs stayed up until about four weeks ago when they were replaced by billboards for the local McDonald’s and a Baptist church, saying everybody was welcome.
The Task Force celebrated, figuring – hoping – that the Harrison billboard wars were finally over, “because there are so many good things and great people in Harrison to focus on,” Task Force member Layne Ragsdale told Hatewatch Tuesday.
But on Monday, a new “pro-white” billboard went up in the city in a different spot, “an even better location than the others,” Thomas Robb, the longtime leader of the Knights Party, one of the longer-lived KKK organizations in the country, chortled on the white nationalist Web forum, Stormfront.
The new sign proclaims, “It’s NOT Racist to [HEART] Your People.”
Below those words is a website address that links to KKKRadio.
Billy Roper, a former neo-Nazi-turned-Klansman, wrote on Stormfront Monday that “the Anti-White elites were celebrating the fact that the previous two billboards were removed in town.”
“Haven’t they heard,” he added, “that you can’t keep a good Klan down?”
The Knights Party, also known as the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, has long been associated with Harrison, primarily because it uses a Harrison mailing address, although its headquarters is actually 15 miles outside of the city of 13,000 residents. In his Stormfront posts about the new sign, Robb said he wanted the Task Force “to celebrate and do their Hi-Fives” about the racially charged signs coming down before hitting them with the new billboard.
“We could have put the billboards up the next day,” he smirked, “but it is more fun to allow them to be puffed up and then prick their bubble.”
He added that he is looking to put up another sign on Interstate 40 in Russellville, near Arkansas Tech. “I already have the OK from the billboard company,” Robb wrote, “but we need a little of this stuff $$. Anyone want to help?”
Ragsdale of the Task Force told Hatewatch today that when she first heard about the new billboard going up she hoped it was a joke. “But it’s real,” she sighed. “They’re still trying to smear the community with their opinions. They’re trying to pretend they’re the voice of Harrison. It just gets so old. Move on, already.”
Faced with an exploding crisis sparked by the revelation that the No. 3 Republican in the House gave a speech to a well-known group of white supremacists and neo-Nazis a dozen years ago, the GOP in Rep. Steve Scalise’s home state of Louisiana is doubling down, calling the entire episode a mere “manufactured blogger story.”
Really? A manufactured blogger story?
Scalise claimed yesterday that he had no idea of the views promoted by the European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO), whose workshop he addressed in 2002 at a hotel in Metairie, La. And he was backed by an array of Louisiana Republicans including state GOP chair Roger Villere Jr., who described Scalise as “a man of great integrity who embodies his Christian faith in his life.” Villere dismissed the story broken by Louisiana blogger Lamar White Jr. as “an attempt to score political points by slandering the character of a good man.”
But Scalise’s claim of ignorance is almost impossible to believe. He was a state representative and an aspiring national politician at the time, and Louisiana-based EURO already was well known as a hate group led by America’s most famous white supremacist.
EURO was founded two years before Scalise agreed to speak to its conference by Louisiana resident David Duke, a media-friendly neo-Nazi and onetime grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan who had made a national name for himself by running repeatedly for office. He won his first elected office in 1989, when he became a state representative, garnering local headlines across Louisiana. In 1990, he won more than 600,000 votes in an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate, and in 1991, he took almost 700,000 votes in a run for governor. Newspapers around the world wrote about his ultimately losing fight against the scandal-dogged Edwin Edwards and the bumper sticker it engendered: “Vote for the crook, it’s important.”
Video of the 2005 EURO conference.
That’s not all.
Newspapers at the time of the EURO conference reported that a minor league baseball team from Iowa had changed hotels after learning that it would be held where they planned to stay. A hotel official also told a local paper that the company “did not share the views” of EURO, according to the Huffington Post.
And Scalise’s claims met with skepticism even from some well-known out-of-state conservatives. “How do you not know? How do you not investigate?” asked Erick Erickson, a former Louisiana resident, on his RedState blog yesterday. “By 2002, everybody knew Duke was still the man he had claimed not to be. EVERYBODY. How the hell does somebody show up at a David Duke organized event in 2002 and claim ignorance?”
In an interview with NOLA.com yesterday, Scalise reiterated the claim that he had no idea what EURO was and said that he “went and spoke to any group that called.” That prompted Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin to ask the obvious question: “Would he have spoken to a KKK rally? To the American Nazi Party?”
The fact is that Scalise may have had some real affinities with EURO. In 1999, Roll Call reported that Scalise “said he embraces many of the same ‘conservative’ views as Duke, but is more viable.” To the extent that he had a problem with Duke, it appears it was only that he was unelectable. “Duke has proven he can’t get elected,” Roll Call quoted Scalise as saying, “and that’s the first and most important thing.”
In 1999, Scalise voted against making Martin Luther King Jr. Day a state holiday, one of just three state representatives to do so. And in 2004, two years after the EURO conference, he was one of six to vote against the holiday.
There appears to be no transcript of Scalise’s speech to EURO, but blogger Lamar White Jr., who first broke the story on Sunday, found postings on the neo-Nazi Stormfront Web forum that described it. In one, a user said Scalise “brought into sharp focus the dire circumstances pervasive in many important, under-funded needs of the community at the expense of graft with the Housing and Urban Development Fund, an apparent giveaway to a selective group based on race.”
A colleague at the Southern Poverty Law Center, Intelligence Project Director Heidi Beirich, actually attended EURO conferences in 2004 and 2005. The venues were adorned with Confederate flags and racist slogans and offered racist merchandise.
Scalise, a politician who already had national aspirations at the time of the 2002 EURO conference, certainly should have known what his dalliance with open white supremacists might cost him. In 1998, a scandal erupted when it was revealed that U.S. Rep. Bob Barr (R-Georgia) and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) had endorsed and spoken to the Council of Conservative Citizens, a major white supremacist hate group. In late 2002, after singing the praises of segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.), Lott was forced to resign his leadership post.
Now Steve Scalise should do the same.