The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
A chance encounter earlier this summer with a Border Patrol officer along the Rio Grande has become a disastrous event for the vigilantes prowling the Texas border at the militia encampment dubbed Camp LoneStar.
Two of the militiamen, including camp leader Kevin “K.C.” Massey III, now face federal felony weapons charges as a result of the encounter. Massey was arrested on Monday, while a second militiaman, John Frederick Foerster, was arrested on Tuesday. Both are charged with being felons in possession of a weapon.
A group of Border Patrol officers were in pursuit of several illegal border crossers in the early morning hours of Aug. 29 when one of the officers, having lost sight of the fugitives, came upon Foerster, who was standing in the brush holding a weapon. According to the criminal complaint, the agent fired four shots at Foerster and missed; Foerster threw down his gun and surrendered.
While the officers were processing information with Foerster, Massey and another Camp LoneStar participant arrived to vouch for Foerster, carrying weapons. Massey had an AK-47 rifle and a .45 caliber handgun.
According to Massey’s account of the incident on Facebook, Border Patrol officers asked the men to store their guns (as well as a GoPro video camera) in a Patrol vehicle. But when the officers wrapped up their work, they insisted on keeping the guns and the camera as part of their investigation.
The encounter occurred on the private property owned by Cuban “Rusty” Monsees where the Camp LoneStar encampment is set up, and so no arrests were made at the time. However, it shortly emerged that Foerster was in fact a felon; Massey, as federal agents would later report, also had been convicted of a felony in 1988.
On Monday, ATF agents swooped in and arrested Massey at a hotel in Brownsville, and then arrested Foerster on Tuesday.
The arrests set off a round of paranoia among their fellow militiamen. Massey’s “superior” at Camp LoneStar, Archie Seals, ranted on Facebook about how the arrests represent government oppression of their citizen-vigilante efforts:
Ok, I had been thinking for a while, “Are we doing any good here”? Now I know we are, and we are stepping on someone toes. Listen up all Feds that are monitoring, you have put my #2 in a cell illegally thinking it would shut us up and down. Guess what??? It didn’t work. We are still open for business, because, “This is what we do”. If anything, you made us stronger and more determined. When you take me in on some bs, another has been chosen to take over, then another, and another. We are Camp LoneStar and we are going no where. Now, I need every possible BOG immediately. Let’s show these feds that we only will grow stronger. Who will now join me and who will send support for the camp and for KC??? We need supplies here and KC needs funds for bond and lawyer.
Fellow “Patriot” Gary Hunt, evidently familiar with the details of Massey’s arrest, posted angrily at his blog:
These occurrences … should provide adequate warning to patriots, especially those who have a felony record, that there is a concerted effort on the part of government to find cause to bring charges against you and take your guns away. They also provide insight into the tactics that the government is using to cull the patriot community of as many as they can, reducing the remaining numbers, and intimidating those who remain.
Massey’s friends at the Secure Our Border organization changed the cover photo of their Facebook page to one featuring Massey’s portrait, accompanied by the legend: “Taken by the ATF for the crime of proving that the border can be secured by a few American Patriots.”
Child sex assault charges have been dropped against Michael M. Hethmon, a senior counsel for the legal arm of the anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Washington Post reported.
Hethmon, who was running for a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates, representing part of Prince George’s County, Md., was arrested on Labor Day after a nurse told local enforcement authorities that the lawyer had assaulted her 8-year-old daughter on his property.
The mother of the child, according to WUSA9, was a nurse caring for Hethmon’s 88-year-old father, who lives with him in Upper Marlboro. The nurse reportedly told police that her daughter and Hethmon were outside near a barn on the property in August when he offered to brush hay off her.
The child alleged Hethmon then put his hands inside her pants and touched her sexually. Then he attempted, according to court records, to put the child’s hand inside his pants.
Hethmon was arrested and, although he was free on bail, suspended his campaign against veteran Democratic Maryland state lawmaker, Del. Joseph F. Vallario. Hethmon was running as a Republican in the newly drawn 23rd district.
But last week, according to the Post, a Maryland grand jury moved to dismiss the case.
“I feel like I’ve gotten my life back,” the Post quoted Hethmon as saying.
Hethmon has resumed his long-shot campaign. In a letter to his supporters after the charges were dropped, Hethmon said, “The suspension and horrific publicity has been devastating to what was always a modest effort to provide citizens a choice on the ballot other than the incumbent machine candidates.”
Hethmon has been instrumental to FAIR’s legal arm, the Washington-based Immigration Reform Law Institute, and its efforts to pass harsh anti-immigrant legislation across the country. He has cynically said in the past that he didn’t care if these laws turned out to be unconstitutional or if fighting for them in the courts were to be financially disastrous for states and localities, which they have been.
Editor’s Note: This weekend, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced that his government would “use all legal means” to prevent the Budapest white nationalist gathering explored below from occurring, presumably by banning foreign visitors from entering the country. According to the Hungarian blog HungarianAmbience.com, officials at the planned venue for the conference also have cancelled their contract with conference organizers, saying they were not aware of the nature of the gathering. Still, chief organizer Richard Spencer is reassuring those planning to attend that the conference will go on as scheduled, even if meeting will be a “little more inconvenient” than it would have been.
One of the most polished American racists of recent years is Richard Bertrand Spencer, a 36-year-old Ph.D. program dropout who, in his khakis and oxfords, looks more like some ambitious young Capitol Hill staffer than a white supremacist. Indeed, with a master’s degree from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s from the University of Virginia, Spencer’s resumé reads a lot like that of a well-heeled, up-and-coming politico.
But several years ago, when he was in his early thirties, Spencer left mainstream conservatism for what he calls “a life of thought crime.” Since then, he has established racist websites and ascended to the top spot at the National Policy Institute (NPI), a white nationalist nonprofit he runs from his home in Whitefish, Mont., along with two affiliated publishing outfits. After holding a series of highbrow-racist conferences on such topics as the future of white people, Spencer has now set his sights on bigger things — building bridges to the organized European racist right.
Though past NPI conferences have featured leading European racists, Spencer is moving beyond one-off presentations from these folks in order to connect with two newly important radical-right strains on the continent: the Movement Identitaire, a pro-white, anti-Muslim and anti-globalist movement that started in France in the early 2000s and has been growing rapidly since, and Jobbik, the anti-Semitic and racist organization that became Hungary’s third-largest political party this spring, when it polled more than 1 million votes.
“We hope that our budding society will act as a forum for a number of different traditionalist groups in Europe, including Identitarians,” Spencer told Hatewatch. “We are eager to involve Europeans who seek to connect with community and tradition, and thus preserve true diversity against the flattening of globalism.” His interest, Spencer added, is to reach “any European who seeks to develop racial identity and consciousness.”
A key upcoming moment in this effort comes at a planned Oct. 3-5 conference NPI organized in Budapest, Hungary. Co-hosted by Jobbik, the Inaugural Identitarian Congress is slated to feature prominent European nationalists of various types and several leading American racist ideologues (see biographies below).
Little is known about Spencer’s new allies in the U.S., but across the Atlantic they are seen as serious threats to European democracy. Members of the European Union, the European Jewish Congress and other prominent human rights defenders have warned of the dangers posed by Jobbik, which has been widely described as fascist, is patently anti-Semitic, and yet has grown rapidly. Similarly, the Movement Identitaire, which started small but made a name for itself with the 2012 invasion of a French mosque, is deeply worrying to European officials. ( continue to full post… )
A self-described coalition of antigovernment groups is hoping to organize yet another attempt at shutting down the U.S.-Mexico border at major commercial crossings this weekend, calling the event “Shut Down All Ports of Entry”.
Previous attempts at shutting down traffic at key border crossings this spring have ended in spectacular failure—notably radio host Pete Santilli’s attempt to shut down the crossing in Tijuana with bikers, as well as the “Border Convoy” last month, which culminated in a only a brief interruption at Brownsville, Texas.
But this particular attempt, scheduled to take place Saturday, has set off warnings among law enforcement personnel, including a local sheriff’s office in Texas and Border Patrol officials, who say they are prepared for just such an attempt
Michael Hethmon, a senior counsel for the legal arm of the anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), has been charged with child sex abuse. Hethmon is also running for a Maryland delegate seat that would represent a part of Prince George’s County, Md.
According to WUSA9, court records show that the mother of the girl who reported the abuse is a nurse practitioner helping Hethmon care for his elderly father. Investigators claim Hethmon was with the 8-year-old outside a barn on his property when he offered to brush hay off her. The child alleged Hethmon put his hands inside her pants and touched her sexually. Hethmon then attempted to put the victim’s hand inside his pants, court records say.
He’s currently free on bail.
Hethmon has been instrumental to FAIR’s legal arm, Immigration Reform Law Institute, and its efforts to pass harsh anti-immigrant legislation in various states and localities. Hethmon has cynically said in the past that he didn’t care if these laws turned out to be unconstitutional or if fighting for them in the courts were to be financially disastrous for states and localities, which they have been.
“Sink or swim, these new laws are forcing Congress to confront the need for enforcement-based reform,” he wrote in a 2010 op-ed for CNN. More important is that they “provoke sustainable immigration reform.” At another time, Hethmon called the laws “field tests”—experiments aimed at testing the legality of various approaches to immigration.
Hethmon did not respond to requests for comment.
Border militiamen like to tell the public that they offer a simple solution to a complex problem – putting “boots on the ground” along the United States’ border with Mexico as a way to deter would-be immigrants from making illegal crossings, or as they are more inclined to put it, “stopping the illegal invasion of America.”
But already, federal agents have found that their unsought presence in recent weeks on the border in Texas and Arizona is making a difficult job much more complicated and possibly lethal. In some cases, agents are drawing down on the border vigilantes, and in one incident actually fired upon them. Another confrontation involved bat scientists who happened to be gathering field data when they encountered the armed militiamen.
Pete Santilli insists that militiamen saved his life from drug cartels trying to assassinate him during his “Border Convoy,” a publicity stunt held earlier this month to focus anger about Central American refugee children arriving in the United States.
But his fellow participants are not so sure, leading to a far-right internecine feud between Santilli and his chief cohort in the convoy, a longtime Tea Party organizer named Eric Odom, who Santilli has accused of “co-opting” and “psy-opping” the event and smearing him with accusations of alcoholism, and Odom dismissing Santilli as a “borderline lunatic.” ( continue to full post… )
After stumbling out of the gate last month, militia activists in Texas are now appearing along the U.S.-Mexico border as part of a vigilante campaign to “secure our border” in the midst of a refugee crisis involving unaccompanied children from Central America.
According to a handful of news reports out of Texas, the militiamen – who initially were nowhere to be seen after publicizing their plans last month – are now conducting patrols in some areas in hopes of stopping incursions by border crossers.
The San Antonio Express-News published a report this week that listed some of the groups that have been involved in the patrols and included numerous photos of the militiamen.
Strikingly, the patrols are being organized secretively, and all the militiamen involved have insisted on anonymity.
The photos published with the report show dozens of men wearing camouflage gear and carrying a variety of semi-automatic weapons, patrolling areas of the border of southern Texas. In some cases, the men are wearing masks; in others, their faces have been blurred by photo retouching.
The individual who provided the photos insisted on blurring the visible faces of participants, saying they need anonymity to protect against retaliation by “cartel and gang members.” Nonetheless, some of the men in the photos contacted the paper and demanded that it remove the images, blurred or not, from the website.
Kolten Parker, the reporter who handled the story, told the SPLC that he and his editors tried to independently confirm as many details as possible, given that the militias have been secretive about who they are and when and where they are conducting patrols.
“We’ve spoken with ranchers in the area where these patrols are occurring, and we’ve seen plenty of evidence that they are,” Parker said. Judging from the 30 or so photos that the paper ran, he said that so far the patrols are being conducted in a well-organized manner.
Barbie Rogers of the Patriot Information Hotline told the paper that there are 10 “operations on the ground in Texas” this week. ( continue to full post… )
With thousands of undocumented children amassing at the U.S. border, Robert Jones, Imperial Wizard of the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, doesn’t want amnesty. He wants “corpses” on the border.
Speaking to Al Jazeera America, Jones, in full Klan robes, warned that immigrant children crossing the border are a threat to a “white homeland” and simply one more way President Obama has “sold out the American people.”
“If we can’t turn them back, I think if we pop a couple of them off and leave their corpses laying at the border maybe they’ll see we’re serious about stopping immigration,” Jones said.
The situation at the border has intensified in recent weeks as violence has forced many families to help their children cross the border for safety –– an option available due to legislation signed by President George W. Bush that gave new protections to children entering the country by prohibiting them from being quickly sent back to their country of origin, the New York Times reported in early July. In response, militia members armed with assault rifles have once again begun border patrols, and groups like the Klan, long obsessed with a white homeland, have focused their hate toward the border once again.
A new “statewide” militia group that is attempting to organize in Arizona has been careful to portray itself to would-be recruits and law enforcement as a non-radical, mainstream organization that cooperates with local authorities. Calling itself the Arizona State Militia (ASM), the group claims to have successfully recruited a number of veterans of the U.S. military.
ASM is operated by a pair of men who insist on maintaining anonymity by using pseudonyms – one calls himself “Colonel Reaper,” while the other calls himself “Colonel Kratos.” This ongoing lack of transparency stands in stark contrast to the openness with which they carry their guns in public.
No one from the group responded to requests for comment from Hatewatch.
The militia made headlines when it appeared at a recent anti-immigrant demonstration in Arizona. None of the militiamen spoke on camera, but they were described by others as providing “security” for politicians and public figures who appeared at the demonstration.