The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Four members of a secret militia group, now facing murder charges in Georgia, operated inside the ranks of the U.S. Army and discussed blowing up a dam and poisoning fruit crops in Washington State, authorities said Monday. The motives of the alleged plotters remained murky.
The revelation came as Army Pfc. Michael Burnett, 26, struck a plea bargain with prosecutors in Long County, Ga., agreeing to testify against three other soldiers who called themselves the FEAR militia (Forever Enduring Always Ready). ( continue to full post… )
Editor’s Note: This essay by Hatewatch Editor Mark Potok was originally posted Sunday night in The New York Times online opinion section as part of a “Room for Debate” feature that also included articles from four other contributors. The essays were meant to address the question, “Is the Threat From Hate Groups Overlooked?”
One of the most troubling aspects of the mass murder of Sikhs near Milwaukee last week is that the man who carried it out was well known to groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center that monitor the radical right. The shooter, Wade Michael Page, had long been a fixture on the white supremacist music scene and was associated with seriously violent skinhead groups like the Hammerskin Nation.
But the almost certain reality is that there was little that law enforcement officials or others could have done to foresee or forestall the racist attack. Page does not seem to have done anything to suggest that he was planning a slaughter, and his views, fully protected by the First Amendment, were no different from those of thousands of other angry white nationalists.
Still, the attack occurred in the context of a sharp rise in the number of hate groups and antigovernment “patriot” organizations, mostly spurred by the changing racial demographics of our country, which are personified in our first black president. Domestic, non-Muslim terrorism has been on the rise since Barack Obama took office in 2009. Given that reality, is there something more that law enforcement should be doing? ( continue to full post… )
With last weekend’s mass killing at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin fresh in the public’s memory, the usual players on the conspiracy scene have begun crafting wild, alternative narratives of what really happened.
The theory has started to spread that the attack was orchestrated by some dark sector of the federal government in order to justify rolling back gun rights. This idea, of course, has long been used by the antigovernment right to explain acts of domestic terrorism: Oklahoma City, for example, and even the jihadist attack on the Twin Towers in 2001. The Wisconsin version has appeared on dozens of right-wing blogs and appears to be gaining traction.
Infowars, the conspiracist website maintained by Alex Jones, seems to have led the charge. In an article published earlier this week after neo-Nazi Wade Michael Page killed six people in Oak Creek, Wis., writer Kurt Nimmo accused the federal government – and, ludicrously, the Southern Poverty Law Center – of somehow being tied to the shootings. The proof? Only dubious claims pulled from Page’s life story. The alleged skinhead gunman was in a psychological operations unit in the Army during the 1990s. ( continue to full post… )
Wade Michael Page, the racist skinhead who killed six people last weekend at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin before turning the gun on himself, was a “patched” member of the Northern Hammerskins, a regional chapter of the larger Hammerskin Nation, the Southern Poverty Law Center has learned.
Page became a full, or patched, member of the Hammerskin chapter last October and appeared to be rising quickly in the organization, according to postings on Crew 38, the online forum for Hammerskin Nation (HSN). This year, in fact, his girlfriend, using the name “LuluRoman” on the forum, directed all regional inquiries regarding Northern Hammerskin events to Page. ( continue to full post… )
The man who allegedly murdered six people at a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee yesterday, identified in media reports as Wade Michael Page, was a frustrated neo-Nazi who had been the leader of a racist white-power band.
In 2010, Page, then the leader of the band End Apathy, gave an interview to the white supremacist website Label 56. He said that when he started the band in 2005, its name reflected his wish to “figure out how to end people’s apathetic ways” and start “moving forward.” “I was willing to point out some of my faults on how I was holding myself back,” Page said. Later, he added, “The inspiration was based on frustration that we have the potential to accomplish so much more as individuals and a society in whole.” He did not discuss violence in the interview. ( continue to full post… )
Alaska militia leader Francis Schaeffer Cox has fired his attorney, likely laying the groundwork for an appeal of his nine convictions, which include conspiring to kill a judge and law enforcement officials.
In a two-sentence document filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Anchorage, the 28-year-old leader of the Alaska Peacemakers Militia said he had discharged defense attorney Nelson Traverso. “I do so voluntarily and intelligently and will seek other counsel,” Cox said.
The basis for the firing, Cox contends, is that Traverso was ineffective and didn’t provide a proper defense, leading to Cox’s jury conviction and, quite likely, a lengthy prison sentence. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 14, but that date could be postponed to allow his new attorney time to review the case. ( continue to full post… )
The Justice Department has cut a deal with a former member of the Alaska Peacemaker Militia to bolster its case against the group’s leader Schaeffer Cox and two others on trial in U.S. District Court in Anchorage.
Michael O. Anderson, who was arrested with Cox and co-defendants Lonnie Vernon and Coleman Barney in March 2011, will testify for the prosecution, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Tuesday as opening arguments were heard. ( continue to full post… )
Two members of a Georgia militia — arrested late last year in a plot to bomb federal buildings, assassinate public officials and attack cities with deadly ricin — pleaded guilty today to conspiracy charges in a Gainesville, Ga., courtroom.
Accused ringleader Frederick W. Thomas, 73, and Emory Dan Roberts, 67, both entered guilty pleas to charges of conspiring to possess explosives and firearms.
The case was labeled by the FBI as one of its top domestic terrorism investigations of 2011 following the arrests of Thomas and Roberts and two others last November. ( continue to full post… )
Federal authorities in New York today unsealed an indictment accusing a 40-year-old man dubbed the “Frappucino firebomber” with hate crimes for New Year’s Day Molotov-cocktail attacks on a mosque and a Hindu temple in Queens.
Ray Lazier Lengend, also known as Suraj Poonai, told police he intended to kill “as many Muslims and Arabs as possible” by throwing firebombs inside the places of worship, the New York Daily News reported shortly after the suspect’s Jan. 3 arrest. ( continue to full post… )
A 27-year-old animal rights activist living with her parents in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, was arrested by federal officials yesterday and charged with asking a hit man to kill a random person wearing fur who was “at least 12 years old.” It was a first in the animal rights movement, whose most radical activists have repeatedly threatened violence and carried out arson attacks but never directly sought to kill someone.
Meredith Marie Lowell was charged with one count of solicitation to commit murder after she corresponded extensively with an undercover law enforcement official who she allegedly sought to pay $730 to carry out the murder at a local library. She suggested he use a gun with a silencer or a “sharp knife that is at least 4 inches long” that could be used to stab the victim to death or slit his or her throat. ( continue to full post… )