The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Marcus Faella, one of more than a dozen people arrested last year on charges they were conducting paramilitary training with a group called the American Front, was convicted last week.
Faella, 41, was originally charged with conspiring to shoot into a building, two counts of conducting paramilitary training and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, the Orlando Sentinel reported. But after two days of testimony, two of the charges against Faella were dismissed. He was convicted of two counts of teaching and conducting paramilitary training and faces up to 30 years in prison when he is sentenced in November. ( 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
After years of rhetoric threatening violence, the neo-Confederate League of the South (LOS) is training a uniformed, paramilitary unit tasked with advancing a second southern secession by any means necessary, Hatewatch has learned.
According to anonymous sources from within the LOS, as well as leaked internal communications, the LOS secret unit has been dubbed “The Indomitables”and appears to be stacked with white supremacists, former Klan members and neo-Nazis.
Michael Hill, in a note offered to encourage his Indomitables, said, “We desire that our women and children be warm and snug while the world outside rages. And as our due for that we must face the world.”
The Indomitables were conceptualized at the LOS national meeting earlier this year and appear to be coming online quickly, with Floyd Eric Meadows, 43, of Rome, Ga., who also goes by Eric Thorvaldsson online, in charge of “training,” according to sources within the group and internal documents.
A veteran of both the U.S. Army and Navy with 12 years of service, Meadows has been an active LOS member for several years, and his personal Facebook account is filled with pagan iconography and photos of his weapons. He posts often about “earning” his red bootlaces––awarded in skinhead culture for drawing blood for ‘the movement’—and his desire to throw boot parties for enemies of the LOS. Meadows also has posted pictures of himself standing with assault rifles in front of a confederate flag and has frequently quoted Robert Barnwell Rhett, a South Carolina statesman who was dubbed the “Father of Secession”for his efforts leading up to the Civil War.
Telephone messages regarding the Indomitables were left with Hill and the LOS this week, specifically to ask how and where the League hopes to use the unit, and to what end. They were not returned. But within a day of those message being left, Hill addressed the question on the LOS blog.
“Even if we are –– and you really have no idea on earth if we are or not ––setting up a Southern militia or some other form of paramilitary organization, we are doing nothing that free men have not done for centuries. Deal with it and stop your whining,”Hill wrote.
Unfortunately for Hill, we do have an idea. Internal Facebook posts leaked to Hatewatch show that Hill is well aware of progress in forming his militia, which he refers to by name.
The formation of the Indomitables comes after years of escalating and violent rhetoric from the League, as well as a search for more ideologically extreme white nationalists to enliven their membership –– a pattern that has been ongoing since 2007, when the LOS national conference was titled “Southern Secession: Antidote to Empire and Tyranny.” Just this week, for example, blogger Spelunker published a detailed profile of LOS member Abe Monroe, who attended a rally with LOSers last November and who just posted to Facebook pictures of the words “White Power”in block letters tattooed with a swastika across his back. While Monroe is a minor player, he is representative of that new type of southern nationalist the League now seeks.
That is especially true if one takes to heart Hill’s own words, which show an increasing extremism. In an essay published last month on the LOS website, Hill argued that the Second Amendment extends to “weapons systems,” touted guerrilla warfare applications and listed “primary targets”as the fight for a second secession continues.
“The primary targets will not be enemy soldiers; instead, they will be political leaders, members of the hostile media, cultural icons, bureaucrats, and other of the managerial elite without whom the engines of tyranny don’t run,”Hill wrote. He concluded the essay by quoting Psalms: “Blessed be the Lord my strength who teaches my hands to war and my fingers to fight.”
This isn’t the first time the League has flirted with southern nationalists with a calloused trigger finger, however. Michael Tubbs, a former Green Beret and demolitions expert, and another soldier robbed two fellow soldiers of their M-16 rifles at Fort Bragg, N.C. “This is for the KKK,”the holdup men shouted as they fled. Tubbs pleaded guilty to theft of government property and conspiracy to transport guns and explosives across state lines after prosecutors later discovered a weapons cache.
Editors’ Note –– Keegan Hankes contributed to the reporting of this article.
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.
A conflict between armed militias and law enforcement—a potentially deadly encounter widely predicted—has occurred on the U.S.-Mexican border.
Last week, a U.S. Border Patrol agent pursuing a group of immigrants in a wooded area east of Brownsville, Texas, fired four shots at an armed man who later identified himself as a militia member, The Associated Press reports.
The Border Patrol agent had lost the group of immigrants when he turned around and saw the armed man holding the weapon, authorities said. Bullets fired by the federal agent did not hit the man, who dropped his weapon and “identified himself as a member of a militia,” Border Patrol spokesman Omar Zamora told the wire service. ( continue to full post… )
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.
What if militias announced a showdown with the feds and nobody came?
That’s pretty much what happened in Texas this week, after a handful of militia activists called on their fellow militia members to intervene in the increasingly fraught humanitarian crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border, involving large numbers of children from Central America who are straining the government’s ability to process their complicated cases.
For a Texas militiaman named Chris Davis, there was nothing complicated about it. In a video he posted at YouTube – which he has since been removed – he offered a simple solution for dealing with the young border crossers.
“How?” Davis asked rhetorically. “You see an illegal, you point your gun right dead at them, right between the eyes, and say ‘Get back across the border, or you will be shot.’ Simple as that. If you get any flak from sheriffs, city, or feds, Border Patrol, tell them look — this is our birthright. We have a right to secure our own land. This is our land. This is our birthright.”
Davis’s solution was part of his call to his fellow militia members to make their way to the Texas border near Laredo in order to prevent child refugees from crossing there. Late last week, he posted an “Action Alert” bulletin at various online forums, including his Operation Secure Our Border Facebook page. “All Texas & National Militia Available Please Converge Immediately,” it said. The alert said the “mission” was to “close down Laredo Crossing for starters,” and that the operation would be “complete when border fence is in place and secure.”
It named a gathering point at a truck stop in Encinal, Texas, and concluded: “It’s time to bring down the thunder. Activating the Patriots willing to stand up for America GO GO GO. … Let’s share this like the brushfires of Liberty.”
However, Davis’ militia muster call quickly vanished into virtual thin air. Shortly after he began receiving media attention – including accounts in the McAllenville Monitor, Brownsville Herald, San Antonio Express-News and Los Angeles Times – he not only took down all his YouTube videos and deleted his channel there, he also deleted his Facebook page and all its incendiary antigovernment content.
The right-wing media tried to sell Americans on the idea that the antigovernment “Patriots” and militiamen who gathered to block the roundup of Cliven Bundy’s illegally grazing cattle in Nevada were well-meaning lovers of liberty. However, Bundy’s most ardent defenders have revealed themselves to be a volatile collection of hotheaded, paranoid men (and a few women) with big egos and even bigger guns.
The situation at the ranch, where armed militiamen and “Patriots” are camped out, has deteriorated so badly that competing factions apparently drew weapons on one another during heated arguments.
We wrote on Wednesday about how tensions flared when a paranoid rumor of an imminent drone strike on the encampment began circulating. The team that primarily circulated the drone-strike rumor – Stewart Rhodes’ Oath Keepers – also began advising people to pull out, which sparked the wrath of militiamen.
Those militiamen voted to oust the Oath Keepers, and a couple even spoke of shooting Rhodes and his men in the back, which they deemed the proper battlefield treatment of “deserters”.
Now Rhodes has replied to their accusations in a video in which he teamed up with fellow Oath Keepers Steve Homan, Robert Casillas and Brandon Ropolla (the latter of whom are also affiliated with Mike Vanderboegh’s so-called “III Percent” movement) to attack the “nutcases” that Rhodes said have assumed control of the militia camp at the Bundy Ranch.
RHODES: Now, when [John] Bidler was dropped on his butt– John Bidler– another guy — some Mountain Man militia guy, put his hand on his gun and said, “I dare ya to draw — draw motherfucker, I’m gonna kill ya.” I’m sorry to cuss but that’s what he said. So they were being threatened. Guys with hands on their guns threatening them. That’s why we told them to get out of there. We knew the situation was this close from being a gunfight, right there inside the camp.
Rhodes later described another close call when guns were drawn and people very nearly shot:
RHODES: And this is the tip of the iceberg of the cluster out there. One of our guys from Montana, Rick Delap, who was there from the beginning — he’s been out there for two weeks in the dirt – the day of this confrontation, I come to find out he had to draw on somebody. Two of the Mountain Men guys came up to him — were aggressing on him. Then one of them ran back to his vehicle and grabbed an AR and came back with an AR in his hand and Rick had to draw on him. And those two ran off. That was this close from Rick having to shoot that ding-a-ling. If that guy had raised his barrel, Rick would have had no choice but to shoot him.