The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Even as tens of thousands of people – black and white, young and old, preachers and presidents – poured into Selma, Al., last weekend to commemorate the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” and the voting rights victories that followed, members of the Ku Klux Klan were driving through town, throwing plastic bags stuffed with KKK fliers and rocks onto doorsteps and lawns.
In the last two weeks, Robert Jones, the grand dragon of the Loyal White Knights of the KKK, told AL.com that members of his group had distributed some 4,000 fliers to random homes throughout Selma and Montgomery, some 50 miles away. The rocks inside the flier bags were meant to act as paperweights to keep the hate from blowing away.
“We pretty much put out fliers, some against King and some against immigration,” Jones told AL.com. “It’s times for the American people to wake up to these falsehoods that they preach about MLK.”
But that wasn’t all. A few days before the eyes of the country turned to Selma, a neo-Confederate group, Friends of Forrest, Inc., once again put up a racially charged billboard about a half-mile from the Edmund Pettus Bridge – the site of the Bloody Sunday beating of mostly black civil rights marchers on March 7, 1965.
The billboard, with the Confederate flag in the background, depicts Confederate Army General and later KKK leader Nathan Bedford Forrest, astride a warhorse next to his signature battle cry: “Keep the skeer [scare] on ‘em.”
Friends of Forrest has ties to the League of the South (LOS), a neo-Confederate hate group that promotes racial separation, argues that slavery was ordained by God, and advocates modern-day secession. (Lately, LOS has been paying for billboards of its own across the south and plastered with one word: “Secede.”)
Patricia Goodwin, the head of Friends of Forrest, told the New York Daily News, that the billboard “was put there with positive intent to ask people who come to Selma to explore and enjoy our 19th century history.”
Meanwhile, over the weekend, a group of young racists at the University of Oklahoma weren’t wearing white sheets as an expression of their racist views. They were dressed in black tie.
Several members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE), one of America’s largest college fraternities, were caught on video chanting a racist ditty as they headed for a black-tie affair on a bus Saturday night.
“There will never be a nigger SAE. There will never be a nigger SAE. You can hang him from a tree, but he will never sign with me. There will never be a nigger SAE.”
Someone posted the 9-second video to Youtube and by late Sunday night, according to The New York Times, Sigma Alpha Epsilon closed its University of Oklahoma chapter. Hours later, university president, David Boren, said at an early morning anti-racism rally that the university had severed all ties with the fraternity and ordered it members out of the frat house by midnight.
In a written statement directed at the frat boys on the bus, Boren said, “You are disgraceful. You have violated all that we stand for. You should not have the privilege of calling yourselves ‘Sooners.’ Real Sooners are not racist. Real Sooners are not bigots.”
It has indeed been a busy few days in the fairy tale kingdom called post-racial America.
But in the real America, at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Saturday, President Barack Obama embraced Congressman John Lewis, whose head was cracked open by a state trooper’s billy club on Bloody Sunday. Then the president addressed the nation.
“In one afternoon 50 years ago,” the president said, “so much of our turbulent history – the stain of slavery and anguish of civil war; the yoke of segregation and tyranny of Jim Crow; the death of four little girls in Birmingham; and the dream of a Baptist preacher – all that history met on this bridge.”
Obama said he and the thousands of people gathered at the bridge with him had come to “honor the courage of ordinary Americans willing to endure billy clubs and the chastening rod; tear gas and the trampling hoof; men and women who despite the gush of blood and splintered bone would stay true to their North Star and keep marching towards justice.”
Although the country has come far since that Bloody Sunday, the president said that there is still work to be done.
“We just need to open our eyes,” he said, “and our ears, and our hearts to know that this nation’s racial history still casts a long shadow upon us.”
And just a few blocks away, a plastic bag filled with rocks and hate was tossed on another doorstep.
As family and friends of Gordon Baum, founder and CEO of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), gather to lay him to rest, the future of one of the oldest and most influential hate groups in the United States remains uncertain.
Baum, a former personal injury lawyer in the St. Louis area, formed the CCC in 1985 from the mailing lists of the White Citizens Councils of America (formally called the Citizens Councils of America). At the height of its influence, the CCC reached a membership of 15,000 with real political clout, including the membership of former Congressman Bob Barr (R-Ga.) and then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.).
The end of Baum’s 30-year tenure at the CCC leaves a major void at the heart of an organization for which he was the bedrock. But, in the wake of Baum’s passing, discord already has emerged.
The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security will hold yet another hearing this afternoon, and no surprise —members of the anti-immigrant right are once again itching to have their voices heard.
For the second time in just over a week, the Subcommittee has stacked the day with testimony from some of the most hardline immigration opponents in the debate. And if it’s anything like before, what they’ll say will be more of what we’ve come to expect from the anti-immigrant right: worries based more on fear than fact.
The published list of witnesses scheduled to be called for testimony include so-called immigration experts who have spent years demonizing immigrants, warning that they spread disease, take jobs from U.S. citizens and responsible for increases in crime, a dubious fact with little statistical support.
Among them is Sheriff Sam Page of Rockingham County, N.C., a longtime ally of some of the most established anti-immigrant groups in the country, including the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and the hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
This past summer, Page took part in a two day “fact-finding”trip to McAllen, Texas, compliments of FAIR. The trip took place as panic mounted on the right-wing over children escaping violence across Central America and showing up on the U.S. border. He also is a regular attendee at FAIR’s annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire”event in Washington, D.C., an event that brings together anti-immigrant activists, right-wing radio hosts and politicians to bolster outrage over immigration.
Page has taken part in a number of events organized by the Constitutional Sheriff’s & Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), a group founded by former Arizona Sheriff Richard Mack, a leading figure in the antigovernment movement. At a 2014 CSPOA event, Page was pictured shaking hands with Michael Peroutka, a former board member of the neo-Confederate League of the South (LOS).
Dan Cadman, a CIS senior fellow, and Frank Morris, a CIS board member, are also testifying this afternoon.
Morris has been involved in the anti-immigrant movement for decades, serving on the board of numerous groups including FAIR and Progressives for Immigration Reform (PFIR) — the group he is representing today. He was also led attempts to appeal to the African-American community through the creation of front groups such as the Black American Leadership Alliance (BALA) and its predecessor, Choose Black America (CBA). Both groups, now defunct, sought to divide communities of color over the issue of immigration by promoting the falsehood that immigrants are taking jobs from African Americans.
Though Morris and Cadman do not have a history of racist statements, the organization they both hold title with, CIS, most certainly does.
Following the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010, CIS executive director Mark Krikorian wrote, “My guess is that Haiti’s so screwed up because it wasn’t colonized long enough.”In 2008, CIS published a report in which it called immigrants who marry U.S. citizens “Third-World gold-diggers.”And Jessica Vaughan a CIS staffer who spoke at last week’s immigration hearing on Capitol Hill, wrote in 2008 that one legacy of the Temporary Protective Status (TPS) program, “has been its contribution to the burgeoning street gang problem in the United States.”
The Justice Department targeted the “worst of the worst” in its just-concluded successful prosecutions of one of the largest and most-violent racist gangs in the United States – the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas.
The man who supervised the six-year investigation, James Trusty, told Hatewatch in an exclusive interview today that the federal prosecutions didn’t eradicate the racist gang, but dealt a “severe blow” to its leadership and ability to commit crimes.
The Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT), established in the early 1980s, is considered one of the most violent racist crime syndicates in the United States, modeled after the Aryan Brotherhood, a California-based prison gang formed during the 1960s.
In going after the ABT, prosecutors — led by David Karpel from the department’s Organized Crime and Gang Section in Washington, D.C. — obtained 17 separate indictments in judicial districts of Texas and Oklahoma, including one in 2012 in the Southern District of Texas that charged senior ABT leaders with racketeering.
The racketeering charge encompassed various crimes carried out by the gang — murders, attempted murders, conspiracies, arsons, assaults, robberies and drug trafficking — as part of its enterprise. The Justice Department dropped plans in September 2013 to seek the death penalty against some of the defendants. ( continue to full post… )
The Ku Klux Klan, which in recent years has been a shadow of its once monolithic self, has been trying to make a comeback. From handing out candy to children, appearing in robes on the U.S.-Mexican border to protest President Obama’s executive action on immigration—even raising money for Darren Wilson, the police officer who killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.—it seems Klansman are everywhere.
Is the Klan growing?
This week, Vice published a video report on the Klan experiencing a rise in members, in part fueled by a strategy that targets veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. In it, host Rocco Castoro talks with the SPLC’s Mark Potok about hate group recruitment often being tied to military conflict.
“There is a very high degree of interest on the part of Klan groups in returning military veterans with high end military skills that they think will be useful to them one day,” Potok said. “A lot of these men are coming back traumatized with serious PTSD and other problems. The economy is not good. They’re not getting jobs, so they come home to find a situation that is not very good for them. … What some veterans find in these groups is family.”
Watch the videos.
Editor’s Note: This story will be published in the forthcoming issue of the Intelligence Report magazine, which is scheduled for release in February.
At an age when most men and women choose to retire, 67-year-old William W. Williams went out and got a new job in one of the world’s oldest professions – hate.
He is now the HNIC – Head Nazi in Charge.
Known throughout the white nationalist movement as “White Will” – the fictional hero of a notorious 1990s racist comic book he helped write and draw – Williams is the new chairman of what’s left of the old neo-Nazi National Alliance (NA), once America’s leading hate group. Crafty and smart, the self-described “biological racist” recently out-maneuvered and hustled his bitter rivals in the neo-Nazi movement for the tarnished title, a state of affairs duly registered with the Commonwealth of Virginia State Corporation Commission.
Williams won by stealth and ambush, skills he picked up as a young U.S. Army Special Forces officer during two combat tours in Vietnam. But this time, he did not have to fire a shot to get the job done. He sat back and watched his foes – a band of disgruntled former NA members calling themselves the National Alliance Reform & Restoration Group, or NARRG – do the heavy lifting. As NARRG was spending tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees to seize control of the Alliance with a $2 million civil lawsuit against Erich Josef Gliebe, the much maligned chairman who presided over the last 12 years of the NA’s decline, Williams was secretly negotiating with Gliebe to resign and hand over to him the keys to the crumbling kingdom.
“We managed to keep it pretty close to our chest,” Williams told the Intelligence Report in a recent interview. “We didn’t go out there, bragging and boasting and all that. We just kind of slowly maneuvered around.”
Williams’ power grab clearly caught NARRG off guard. It was a stiff Roman salute to the jaw and NARRG did not take it well, calling Williams, among other things, a “superficial” “racial gadfly” who blends “various reactionary white nationalist ideologies” and is “bent on a path of religious tyranny.”
Herr Kettle, meet Herr Pot.
Needless to say, NARRG rejects Williams as chairman. “The lawsuit,” NARRG announced on its website, “continues to go on, even though the purported wrinkle of Williams may be in the mix.” ( continue to full post… )
A federal appeals court has denied pastor Scott Lively’s petition to dismiss a lawsuit that alleges he violated U.S. law by trying to influence the laws of a foreign country.
The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston ruled last Thursday against Lively, president of anti-LGBT hate group Abiding Truth Ministries. The lawsuit charges Lively, who is also the author of the discredited Holocaust revisionist book The Pink Swastika, with helping foment anti-LGBT sentiment in Uganda.
With this ruling, the lawsuit will now proceed in federal court.
Filed in 2012 by the U.S. based Center for Constitutional Rights and Sexual Minorities Uganda, a non-profit LGBT advocacy group based in Uganda, the lawsuit alleges that “Lively’s involvement in anti-gay efforts in Uganda, including his active participation in the conspiracy to strip away fundamental rights from LGBTI persons, constitutes persecution.” Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that Lively encouraged government-backed acts of violence against LGBT people through his anti-LGBT rhetoric, particularly remarks he made when addressing members of the Ugandan parliament in 2009.
Lively, 56, has stirred up anti-LGBT sentiment around the world, first traveling to Uganda in 2002. Frank Mugisha, director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, alleged in Mother Jones that the anti-LGBT bill first proposed in Uganda in 2009 “is essentially [Lively’s] creation.” Anglican priest and Political Research Associates senior religion & sexuality researcher Kapya Kaoma noted that “These people had never heard of anything called the gay agenda, but Lively told them that these predators were coming for their children. As Africans hearing it for the first time, they believed it was true—and they were burning with rage.”
The 2009 Ugandan bill included life imprisonment in some circumstances and the death penalty for certain acts of “aggravated homosexuality.”
President Yoweri Museveni signed a version into law earlier this year that calls for life imprisonment as the maximum penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” which is defined as repeated sexual acts between consenting adults of the same sex, same-sex acts involving a minor, a disabled person or a person infected with HIV. But in August, Uganda’s Constitutional Court annulled the legislation, ruling that the bill was passed by members of parliament without the requisite quorum and was therefore illegal.
Some MPs have reignited the battle to pass the bill, with calls to pass it as a “Christmas gift for the people of Uganda.”
This is the first known Alien Tort Statute case that seeks accountability for persecution on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
In early November, around a hundred leaders and supporters of one of the largest Ku Klux Klan groups in the United States held a secretive “summit” in what is called “all White east Tennessee.” The white supremacists ranted about minorities and Jewish conspiracies and raised more than $10,000 in donations and “registration fees” from the event. But they didn’t have to meet in the woods. The Klan gathering was held at a comfortable, taxpayer-funded Tennessee state park resort facility with an armed park ranger on duty to provide security.
After a catered dinner of “organic vegetables and grass-fed beef” the lights were dimmed, as attendees followed the Power Point slideshow and listened to the keynote address, titled “Death to America.”
It seems unlikely that Islamic Jihad or ISIS supporters would have been permitted to hold a “summit” meeting on Tennessee state property to discuss strategy or raise thousands of dollars, though their Power Point would have probably been similar.
Advertised for months on the racist Website, Stormfront, it remains unclear if anyone in Tennessee state government knew about the nature of the event, although it should have been obvious to Norris Dam State Park officials that this was no ordinary “family reunion.” ( continue to full post… )
Despite claiming its success this election cycle came from expunging extremists from its ranks, the GOP managed to let a fair number of candidates with extremist views rooted in conspiracy theories and far-right fears slip through the cracks.
“Little was left to chance,” The New York Times reported earlier this week. “Republican operatives sent fake campaign trackers — interns and staff members brandishing video cameras to record every utterance and move — to trail their own candidates. In media training sessions, candidates were forced to sit through a reel of the most self-destructive moments.”
But when all the ballots were counted, not even that was enough to stop the GOP from embracing candidates with fringe views, extremist connections and embarrassing backgrounds.
Consider Michael Peroutka, the onetime Constitutional Party presidential candidate and a former board member of the neo-Confederate League of the South (LOS). Peroutka, running as a Republican, was elected to the Ann Arundel County Council in Maryland, garnering 15,531 votes against Democratic candidate Patrick Armstrong’s 13,638.
Peroutka is an avid Southern secessionist and radical Christian Reconstructionist, as he made clear during his presidential campaign for the Constitution Party in 2004. He has long been an active figure in the LOS, serving on its board until recently. However, as the Capital Gazette in Annapolis noted, Peroutka campaigned almost entirely on local issues, emphasizing his desire to repeal the county’s storm water fees, dubbed by local critics as “the rain tax.”
Peroutka eventually renounced his LOS membership, telling reporters he had discovered that the organization held racist views “contrary to my beliefs.” In spite of that mea culpa, Peroutka has continued to share his extremist views in far-right media outlets. In one media appearance, Peroutka warned that the “gay deathstyle” was intent on recruiting the nation’s children. In another interview, he made clear that his extremist politics will color how he conducts county policy, proclaiming nondiscrimination laws a plot to replace God with government “idolatry.”
While it might be easy to say that Peroutka is alone on the Republic roster with his extremist ideology, there were many other candidates elected Tuesday with similar baggage.
- Joni Ernst, U.S. Senate, Iowa: Ernst has supported state nullification of federal laws, claimed the president is a “dictator” who should be impeached, and given credence to Agenda 21, a right-wing conspiracy theory that claims the United Nations is building a blueprint for the “New World Order” intent on taking away U.S. citizen’s land and possessions.
- Jody Hice, U.S. House of Representatives, Georgia, 10th District: The anti-Islam Hice (who is also a radio talk show host) has said that Muslims shouldn’t get First Amendment protections, has claimed that a satirical piece written in the 1980s is “proof” of a “gay agenda” and said in 2004 that it was okay for a woman to run for office as long as she’s “within the authority of her husband.” He also said on his radio show that “blood moons” are a sign of world-changing. Strangely, Hice’s radio shows have been scrubbed from the Internet.
- Gordon Klingenschmitt, Colorado state legislature, District 15: Best-known for his claims of casting demons out of LGBT people, Klingenschmitt heads up the anti-LGBT hate group The Pray in Jesus [sic] Name Project. He was court martialed by the Air Force in 2006 for disobeying an order. He has claimed that gay people sexually abuse their own children and they should be discriminated against because they’re not going to heaven and only people who go to heaven are entitled to equal treatment.
- Gary Glenn, Michigan state legislature, District 98: Glenn, the author of Michigan’s amendment banning marriage equality, is a former director of AFA-Michigan, an affiliate of the American Family Association, an anti-LGBT hate group. Glenn has expressed desire to recriminalize homosexuality, which he claims is a “proven threat to health and human safety.” He has expressed reservations about businesses hiring LGBT people because of the “severe medical consequences” of homosexuality, which indicates they’re “not the best and the brightest.”
Ryan Lenz, David Neiwert and Evelyn Schlatter contributed to this article.
Last Friday, a jury in an Orlando, Fla., federal courtroom found William “Bill” White guilty of sending death threats to officials in May 2012. Sentencing is set for Nov. 21, when White, 37, will face the possibility of decades in prison.
White is already incarcerated in Florida for sending threats to other individuals. Before he was arrested in 2008, White had held posts in neo-Nazi groups and ran the movement gossip site, Overthrow.com. White is a particularly obnoxious racist, frequently using the most crude racial slurs available and constantly harassing people he doesn’t like by calling for their lynching or worse. He once put President Obama on the cover of his publication, the National Socialist, with a gun sight over his face. The text read, “Kill this Nigger?”
The charges against White stemmed from emailed threats against FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force Agent Kelly Boaz, Circuit Judge Walter Komanski and then-State Attorney Lawson Lamar, prominent officials in the case against the American Front white-supremacist group whose Osceola County compound was raided in May 2012. ( continue to full post… )