The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Editor’s Note: This story was prepared for the next issue of the Intelligence Report magazine, which is due out in February. It is being released here early because of newsworthy developments in the battle over the National Alliance.
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… )
In recent weeks, it has seemed as if the American Family Association—already listed by the SPLC as an anti-LGBT hate group—has been on a mission to transform its public image from that of ordinary family-values advocates to a pack of wild-eyed radicals foaming at the mouth about their perceived enemies.
AFA spokesperson Bryan Fischer has been leading the way. In recent weeks on his radio program, Fischer has:
- Declared it will be “the end of America” if Congress does not impeach President Obama.
- Denounced anyone who uses the word “racist,” then insisted that Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder are “racists.”
- Sided with radical Islamists in Iraq in calling Obama a “devil worshiper.”
- Suggested on Twitter that accepting homosexuality leads to people to commit acts of necrophilia.
- Said that LGBT people are inherently disqualified from holding public office.
- Written an article in which he wonders if Robin Williams will go to heaven and insults Williams’s mother’s belief system (she was a Christian Scientist, Fischer says, and that is “a counterfeit form of religion that is neither Christian nor scientific”)
It’s not just Fischer, though. A couple of AFA analysts recently decried the recent editorial direction of Archie Comics, saying they now promoted “the occult and homosexuality.”
But as absurd as all these declarations might be, Fischer may not be the only one from AFA making such spurious claims. Kevin McCullough, a fellow AFA pundit who contributes at the organization’s commentary site, The Stand, recently published the following headline and article:
The ALS Challenge is a wildly popular fundraising stunt for the ALS Association in which people are encouraged to pour a bucket of ice water over their heads, record it on social media and then challenge other people to otherwise join them or make a donation to the association.
The stunt has become an Internet sensation, with participants including movie stars, pop singers and politicians, as well as a wide range of others. It has also inspired some moments of accidental low comedy on the Web.
But according to McCullough, the fun and frivolity is overshadowed by his view that “this very challenge is contributing to the on going destruction of human life – intentionally.”
The ALS association is actively now funding embryonic stem cell research and admitting that they likely will continue to do so in the future.
The funding of embryonic stem cell research means that children are created and at their earliest stages of life they are destroyed so that the stem cells (from usually the base of the brain) can be harvested to perform tests with.
Embryonic stem cell research has proven zero percent effective in combating diseases like ALS and other neurological degenerative diseases.
Stem cell research has proven to be a controversial issue for years, with many conservative Christians, including the Southern Baptist Convention, viewing it as akin to abortion. The embryos used for the research are fertilized in the laboratory, and there has never been a baby born or created in such conditions.
The ALS Association also claims to have produced substantial scientific research that, contrary to the AFA’s claims, indicates progress toward finding a cure for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, the progressive and fatal neuromuscular malady commonly known as “Lou Gehrig’s disease.”
ALS afflicts about 30,000 Americans, with about 5,600 new cases diagnosed annually. More than 5,000 people die each from the disease. The ALS Association reports that so far more than $31 million has been raised by the ice-bucket challenge.
OXFORD, Miss. –– In response to the University of Mississippi’s recent decision to distance itself from its contentious confederate past, members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) and the Mid-South Flaggers joined the racist League of the South (LOS) to rally under the guise of protecting “southern heritage.”
Billed as a protest, members of all three groups waved Confederate flags alongside the LOS Southern Nationalist flag and signs proclaiming that “Anti-racism is the brainchild of racism” as they marched last weekend through the center of Oxford, Miss.
The event was organized to protest the University of Mississippi’s recent decision to rename Confederate Drive –– a street that cuts through the center of campus –– and install plaques at racially divisive sites to better contextualize them. The changes came after three students hung a noose and a pre-2003 Georgia state flag around the neck of a statue of James Meredith, the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi.
But, at an event billed as a rally in defense of Confederate heritage, one has to wonder if the event’s true intent was merely another moment to hide hate behind heritage. ( continue to full post… )
Fred Phelps, America’s most rabid gay-basher and a man who drew almost universal contempt from the far right to the far left, has reportedly died at age 84. Timothy Phelps, one of his 13 children, told WIBW-TV in Topeka, Kan., that the vitriol-spouting pastor of Westboro Baptist Church died before midnight Wednesday in a local hospice.
Phelps and his extended family, which made up the bulk of Westboro’s congregation, spent almost a quarter of a century issuing vulgar and incredibly spiteful rhetoric against LGBT people and their supporters. The group was especially loathed for picketing the funerals of American soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying God was punishing a “fag-enabling” nation.
That’s not all. Phelps and his followers attacked school children killed in bus crashes, victims of crazed killers, Nobel Peace Prize laureates, schools, synagogues, and a whole host of others for supporting homosexuality, typically in the most tangential of ways. When Al Qaeda attacked the United States in 2001, Phelps’ response was to savage the murdered pilot of one of the downed airliners as “the filthy face of fag evil,” among other things. He also attacked Jews, picketing synagogues and saying Jews’ “vermin ancestors” had killed Christ.
Phelps’ reported death came amid a flurry of reports, based on statements from one of his estranged sons, saying that Phelps had been ex-communicated last fall from the Topeka church he started in 1955. The reports claimed that others in the church had formed an all-male board of elders, thrown out longtime spokeswoman and heir apparent Shirley Phelps-Roper, and tossed Phelps out of his own church because he said that he thought congregants should be kinder to one another. If true, it was an exceedingly ironic end for a man who was not known for his kindness in any way. ( continue to full post… )
After four years of stunning growth, the radical right declined significantly for the first time in 2013, according to the latest count by the Southern Poverty Law Center, released today. But with a total of more than 2,000 groups, the extreme right remained at historically high levels.
The decline was due to an improving economy, dismay at the re-election of President Obama, law enforcement crackdowns, and the co-optation of the far right’s issues by purportedly mainstream politicians. It also reflected internal difficulties in the radical groups themselves, along with the failure of a whole series of their apocalyptic predictions to materialize.
Hate groups declined by 7% last year, from 1,007 in 2012 to 939 in 2013, and from an all-time high of 1,018 in 2011. But by far the most significant drop came among antigovernment “Patriot” groups, including armed militias, which fell 19%, from 1,360 groups in 2012 to 1,096 in 2013. While those drops were significant, the total number of groups was still almost twice as high as in 1996, when the first wave of the militia movement peaked while hate groups were also relatively high.
As reflected in a number of right-wing terrorist plots uncovered last year, the decline did not seem to dampen the violence coming from the movement. In fact, the movement seemed to grow more hard-line as more moderate members dropped out.
“The radical right is growing leaner and meaner,” said Mark Potok, senior fellow at the SPLC and author of the report. “The numbers are down somewhat, but the potential for violence remains high. Moreover, there is a disturbing dynamic at play. At the same time that the number of extremist groups is dropping, there is more mainstream acceptance of radical right ideas.” ( continue to full post… )
Bill Morlin, a Hatewatch blogger and the journalist who covered the Aryan Nations longer and better than virtually anyone else, has a great piece up about that group in the Blue Review, a journal of popular scholarship published by the Boise (Idaho) State University College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs. Bill’s thought-provoking piece recounts the history of the neo-Nazi group that haunted northern Idaho for three decades, until founder Richard Butler’s death in 2004. In particular, it focuses on how Aryan Nations and kindred groups gave Idaho a reputation for white supremacy that it is still battling today.