The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
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.
A Louisiana-based faction of the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations, headed by a man with his own checkered criminal past, has severed its ties in a rather public, name-calling way with an Illinois-based motorcycle club, the Sadistic Souls, headed by a former Ku Klux Klan leader.
Morris L. Gulett, the Louisiana man who calls himself “Aryan Nations World Leader,” accused the Sadistic Souls Motorcycle Club and its president, Dennis “SS Lightnin’” McGiffen, of being “drunks and race-mixers” who do little more than post pictures of themselves on social media with their middle fingers raised.
Not one to hold back, McGiffen responded with his own Internet posting late last year, calling Gulett a “rabbi,” a “costume Nazi” and a “worthless welfare king” deserving of the “Sadistic Souls MC Asshole of the Year 2014” award. McGiffen’s posting comes complete with an obscene Photoshopped image of Gulett appearing in a body orifice of an African-American woman.
The tumultuous marriage between Gulett’s white supremacy organization and the equally racist Sadistic Souls MC lasted less than two years — yet another example of strife and infighting between various splinter remnants of the Aryan Nations that developed after the 2004 death of Aryan Nations founder Richard G. Butler.
In the 1990s, the Aryans Nations was perhaps America’s most visible neo-Nazi group, but it started to fall apart after the Southern Poverty Law Center sued it in 1999, winning a $6.3 million judgment the following year for its clients, who had been terrorized by Aryan Nations security guards. Since Butler’s death, a range of former members have claimed to be his rightful heir as Aryan Nations chieftain, but none has succeeded in bringing the group back to prominence, and most spend the bulk of their energies attacking one another as undeserving pretenders and worse. ( continue to full post… )
National Alliance (NA) Chairman Erich Gliebe has shut down his neo-Nazi group’s websites, ended recruiting of members, and moved to liquidate many of the embattled NA’s remaining assets, including 289 acres of its West Virginia headquarters compound, where founder William Pierce was buried almost a dozen years ago.
But now two former senior NA members have announced their intention to bring what was once America’s most influential hate group back to its glory days by relaunching it in another state under their own leadership. One of them is William (Will) W. Williams, 66, a retired Army Special Forces operator, and the other is broadcast engineer Kevin Alfred Strom, 57, a convicted child porn enthusiast with a long history on the racist right.
The announcement comes at a time when Gliebe’s failed leadership seems to be driving the remnants of the NA into oblivion. But Williams, an outspoken and self-described “biological racist,” remains one of the most respected former NA officials in the history of the group, and he has high hopes of bringing it back. Williams has a reputation for being a fearless close quarters brawler on racist forums and an absolutist when it comes to Pierce’s unique brand of National Socialism. He also is known as someone ready and able to attack enemies both outside and inside the racist movement. ( continue to full post… )
There is blood in the water.
In the aftermath of the identities of several high-profile racists being exposed on this blog (here and here), the most prominent Internet hate forums have become embroiled in bitter infighting and petty allegations of cooperating with the enemy.
Tension and fear has pitted racist against racist. One commenter on White Nations, a prolific racist who calls himself “Smoky,” claims to have investigated Hatewatch’s outing of Fred O’Malley, who runs White Nations.
O’Malley is really Stanley Diggs of Houma, La. He created White Nations after being booted from the anti-Semitic hate forum Vanguard News Network (VNN) for what he described as his attempt to get rid of an “SPLC mole.” Since that time, Diggs has been attacking VNN relentlessly, and his most devout followers have followed suit. ( continue to full post… )
Scott Lively, leader of Abiding Truth Ministries and the co-author of a revisionist work that blames gay men for the Nazi Party who, ultimately, had a hand in the Holocaust, has decided to run for governor of the state of Massachusetts as an Independent. The election is slated for November 4, 2014.
Lively made an announcement about his decision yesterday on his blog, Scott Lively Ministries, stating that “a true conservative independent could win the governorship,” since, by his reasoning, the Massachusetts Republican party is “controlled by moderate to liberal ‘progressives’ and the Democrats are virtual communists.” Both parties, Lively asserts, “embrace and champion the culture of death.” ( continue to full post… )
The National Alliance (NA), the faded organization that once was the powerhouse of the American neo-Nazi scene, seems to be giving off a final death rattle. Its leader says it will no longer function as a membership organization, a move that reflects the fact that it has now lost virtually all of its supporters.
In a letter sent to members earlier this month, NA Chairman Erich Gliebe said the group will now be “supporter-based,” rather than made up of active, dues-paying “members” divided into chapters around the country. Gliebe portrayed the change as a “step forward” and “the beginning of a new approach that will appeal to a broader range of people” and a way of avoiding members with “serious character flaws.”
Gliebe’s Sept. 6 letter was immediately mocked by former members and others who have seen the NA fall from a highly organized and financially stable group of some 1,400 members to a fractious club of fewer than 75 members, most of whom stopped paying their monthly dues long ago. Californian Jim Ring, who until he quit last year was the group’s most respected and influential member, savaged Gliebe on his own website. ( continue to full post… )
A Canadian judge has granted a temporary injunction that blocks distribution of a major bequest left to a notorious American neo-Nazi group. The move, won by lawyers for the sister of the deceased man on Monday, means the National Alliance (NA) cannot collect an estimated $160,000, after taxes, for another eight days.
Attorneys for Isabelle McCorkill are contesting the will of her brother, Robert McCorkill, also known as McCorkell, on the grounds that it violates Canadian public policy by providing funding to the NA, a group whose members have a long history of bombings, assassinations, arson attacks and other terrorist activities. Her lawyer, Marc-Antoine Chiasson, told the National Post newspaper that she acted because she was “disturbed” by who the gift was going to, not because she sought money. ( continue to full post… )
In a growing campaign to embarrass and oust the chairman of the once influential National Alliance (NA), California member Jim Ring, widely seen as the real leader of the notorious neo-Nazi group, has resigned in order to “save the organization from going into complete obscurity.”
Ring quit last October but his self-described “drastic and surprising action” is only coming to light now with the posting by white supremacist bloggers and websites in recent days of his long and well-written combination resignation letter, call to arms and job application.
Ring, of Sacramento, puts himself up as “the necessary replacement’’ of the much-maligned chairman, Erich Gliebe, the successor to the group’s founder, William Pierce, who died in 2002. ( continue to full post… )