The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
As Extremist ‘Constitutional Sheriffs’ Meet With Senators, Their Supporters Call for Obama’s Lynching
In one of the spacious meeting rooms of the Russell Senate Building in Washington, D.C., last month, three conservative members of Congress had an unusual meeting with a small group of law-enforcement officers who ascribe to far-right “constitutionalist” theories.
U.S. Sens. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and David Vitter, R-La., and Rep. Martha Blackburn, R-Tenn., all met with former Arizona Sheriff Richard Mack, the far-right former lawman from Graham County, Ariz., who now leads the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), a group of “constitutionalist” sheriffs who see themselves the last line of defense against those who would seek to infringe on the U.S. Constitution.
Originally billed in the National Review as a “massive gathering” of sheriffs from around the nation to protest immigration, the event was organized by two sheriffs who are active leaders in former Mack’s CSPOA and drew a much smaller crowd. And while CSPOA promoted the event and reported on it afterward, Mack told Hatewatch that it was not the chief organizer.
“I was invited to attend and we provided a little hors d’oeuvres,” he told Hatewatch. Still, he said, “I was really proud of these sheriffs for trying to take care of something on their own.”
The focus of the event was to stand in protest of President Obama’s executive action, taken after years of congressional inaction, to offer temporary legal status to undocumented immigrants who have been in the country for at least five years and whose children were born here and are U.S. citizens, provided they pass a background check and pay taxes. But it wasn’t long before a group of extremists supporting Mack made itself known.
Just down the Capitol Mall that same day, a small group of protesters supporting the sheriffs gathered at the White House and began shouting slogans and demanding the removal of President Obama. Some in the crowd demanded the president be lynched–”Hang the lying Muslim traitor!” one of them shouted.
The same group of protesters then proceeded to the Senate building where the sheriffs were meeting, but were not permitted inside and instead lingered in the foyer. When the meeting ended, the demonstrators lustily greeted the emerging law enforcement officers and Congress members, some of them shaking hands and hugging the participants.
Mack told Hatewatch that he was unsure who organized the supporting protest. But he stressed, “That was not us.”
Obama’s executive action, taken after years of congressional inaction, offers temporary legal status to undocumented immigrants who have been in the country for at least five years and whose children were born here and are U.S. citizens, provided they pass a background check and pay taxes.
The rhetoric used by the various officials during the press conference that followed was not nearly as incendiary, but it also reflected some of the paranoia inherent in the “constitutionalist” movement–even though some of it was coming from U.S. senators.
Obama’s executive action “is taking jobs and benefits directly from struggling American lawful immigrants and our native-born,” Sessions said. “A government must serve its own citizens.”
The sheriffs were largely on the same page. “When it comes to immigration, there is no law because there are no consequences, and that is something we in law enforcement have to deal with and have to fight,” Paul Babeu, sheriff of Arizona’s Pinal County, said. “Instead of putting illegals first and their rights, what about putting Americans and our rights and our security once, first?”
But what measure and reserve was on display inside the Senate Building was not apparent outside the White House.
That rally organized by an antigovernment group calling itself Operation American Freedom,” which had issued an “arrest warrant” to government officials in Washington earlier this year–was intended to support the sheriffs. An earlier video by Blaine Cooper, a “Patriot” who help organized a livestream of the event, announced that “we are gonna be at the White House at 10 o’clock tomorrow. The sheriffs are gonna be here doing their rally, and Operation American Freedom, or O.A.F., are gonna be there as well.”
Cooper’s livestream video also provided an unusual inside look at the protest.
There appear to have only been a couple dozen gathered to protest. Most of the noise at the demonstration was created by one man, wearing a tricorn hat and shouting into a bullhorn. One protester in particular—a bearded man toting an American flag—seemed especially intent on seeing Obama hung.
“Hang the lying Kenyan traitor terrorist piece of shit,” he shouted at one point. “He’s a traitor! Hang him!” The same man kept shouting variations of this throughout the protest.
When a large wood chipper drove past the scene, one of the protesters remarked: “Hey, a wood chipper! That gives me an idea” – suggesting he would like to run the president through the machine. When the press conference had finished, the participants were swarmed by the sheriffs’ supporters in the foyer, who cheered loudly as they exited and swarmed Sessions to express their admiration.
“We love you, God bless you,” one said. “Thank you for all your work in the Senate, and thank you for all of this – fighting Obama tooth and nail.”
In the video, Mack could be seen embracing a man with the tricorn hat as he departed. However, he could not tell Hatewatch afterwards anything about the man or the group: “I didn’t know if they were pro or con,” he said via e-mail.
Afterward, Mack was less than optimistic about the outcome of the event.
“My overall feeling was that Washington D.C. wasn’t going to do anything to enforce the law or fix the problem,” he said. “I don’t believe the leadership will allow the problem to be fixed. … And it’s really a slap at the black community that so many millions are going to be competing with low income minority groups for jobs. I don’t think there is any way around that. The president has once again shown that he’ll do anything he wants, whether its lawless or not, no matter who it hurts.”
In his first column of 2015, published on the right-wing website News with Views, Wooldridge continued his campaign to denigrate Muslims, calling for a ban on all Muslim immigration to the U.S. and warning that no Western country will “survive [Muslim] birthrates or culture.”
“Islam grows in America. This beast roams America in places like Philadelphia where Muslim women walk Market Street where Ben Franklin walked,” Wooldridge wrote. “At some point, we must shut down all Muslim immigration before we lose control of our own country. They prove relentless, uncompromising and unyielding. No such thing as a ‘moderate Muslim!’”
The column is the third installment in a series titled, “Impregnating America With Muslims: Onslaught on our Ethos, Language and Culture.” It also quoted heavily from an October 2014 sermon delivered by Rabbi Shalom Lewis of Congregation Etz Chaim, where Lewis called for a “holy crusade” against Muslim extremists.
Wooldridge has a long history of anti-Muslim vitriol, and he is far from an isolated figure within the broader anti-immigrant movement. He is an advisory board member with the hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), founded by white nationalist John Tanton, the architect of the modern-day anti-immigrant movement. Wooldridge also worked as a “senior writing fellow” for the anti-immigrant group Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS). Both FAIR and CAPS received funding from the Pioneer Fund, a foundation dedicated to funding the studies of race and intelligence, as well as eugenics, the “science” of breeding superior human beings that was discredited by various Nazi atrocities.
Incidentally, the idea of Muslim immigration diluting western culture has long been a nativist fascination. As early as 2000, for example, FAIR attacked Sen. Spencer Abraham (R-Mich.), an Arab-American, for supporting more high-tech visas for immigrants. In radio and TV ads, FAIR claimed Abraham’s proposal could “make it easier for [Arab] terrorists like Osama bin Laden to export their way of terror to any street in America.”
A decade later, in the Fall 2010, Tanton’s anti-immigrant journal The Social Contract (TSC) called for a ban on all Muslim immigration to the U.S. Tanton’s right hand man, K.C. McAlpin, attempted to justify the call for a ban, saying “Congress has used that power in the past to ban the immigration of Communist Party and National Socialist (Nazi) party members who were deemed to be threats to our national security. This case is no different.”
But in reality, for Wooldridge and McAlpin, it is completely different.
Chris Simcox, the erstwhile border vigilante Minuteman movement leader, has been sitting in the Maricopa County Jail for over a year as he awaits trial on two counts of child molestation, one involving his own preteen daughter. But, judging from a recent court appearance, he is confident that he will win his freedom.
How? Apparently Simcox has some secret evidence.
According to a report from Stephen Lemons at Phoenix New Times, Simcox indicated during a recent court hearing on a possible plea agreement that there is previously unknown reasons for his arrest.
Documents filed by Simcox’s attorneys suggest he will attempt a defense based on claims that he was targeted for prosecution because of his high political profile, and that the charges against him are built on evidence from two daughters who were subject to “parental alienation” because of a “contentious divorce.”
However, Judge Joseph Welty of Maricopa County Superior Court apparently was not buying. Saying that Simcox was suggesting “some grand conspiracy at play,” he reminded Simcox, 53, that the evidence against him also involved victims who were not his daughters, and that the charges he faced were not political crimes.
The purpose of the hearing last week was to review the plea bargain that prosecutors had offered to Simcox earlier this year that would limit his prison time to seven years in exchange for a guilty plea. However, Simcox adamantly continued to refuse the deal, saying he intended to prove his innocence in court.
Simcox’s refusal ensures that the two victims in the case—one of them his now-teenage daughter, the second being a friend of hers who Simcox was supposed to be babysitting at the time—will be required to testify on the stand. The trial is scheduled to begin Dec. 17, but Simcox’s decision on the plea bargain probably means it will be pushed forward to January.
According to Lemons, a previous judge in the case ensured that so-called “propensity evidence”—involving previous incidents that suggest the defendant’s crime is part of a behavior pattern—would also be admitted.
As the SPLC reported in 2005, Simcox was accused by his first wife of molesting another daughter when she was a teenager, though no complaint was ever made to police. His second wife also sought custody of their teenage son because, she said, Simcox had become violent and unpredictable. His third wife—the mother of his current accuser—took out a restraining order against Simcox in 2010 when she divorced him.
If convicted, Simcox could face up to life in prison.
Kevin “K.C.” Massey III contacted Hatewatch this weekend to explain that the explosive found among his belongings when he was arrested at the “Camp LoneStar” hotel room on federal weapons charges, thought to be ammonium nitrate, was in fact a legal form of explosive.
Massey said in an email that the explosive, which was found inside an ammo can and listed in the inventory filed by the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents after his arrest Oct. 20 in Brownsville, Texas, was in fact a completely legal explosive called “Tannerite.”
Unlike the version of the explosive used by domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh in his bomb-truck attack on the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in April 1995, Tannerite is a legal form that uses an aluminum powder, instead of diesel oil, as the fuel that creates an explosion. It requires mixing in order to become an explosive, and in its unmixed form, it is legal to transport it anywhere. However, when mixed, it becomes an explosive and is subject to strict regulation.
After Hatewatch’s original post noted that the ingredients for a bomb were found in his belongings, Massey wrote and explained:
The “ammonium nitrate” and “fuel” is Tannerite a legal product sold in almost every sporting goods store in the USA. It was not mixed and is COMPLETELY legal in all 50 states. Second, the Tannerite was NOT in my/Camp Lonestars [sic] room, it was in my truck in an ammo can to keep it dry and to stop from someone having access to “misuse” it.
Massey went on to explain that Tannerite is a favorite target device for people practicing with long-range weapons, since it lets a shooter know from a distance if he or she has hit their target.
It is for long range target shooting which we did not have at Camp. I had it since I went to the border four months ago, and never had a place or reason to use it for its intended purpose.
He then went on to explain that his arrest for weapons possession stems from a felony committed in 1988.
I am no terrorist and my felony conviction was when I was 22 years old. I am now 48. Are you the same man at your age as you were at 22? I have proven by my actions and all who know me, KNOW I am not a racist. Nor am I a member of any militia OR hate group. I love all Americans no matter their color or creed.
Ask the people who really know me and you will see I am telling you the truth. My grandson is half black, and I have a lot of Hispanics in my family. I have NEVER been in any HATE group. I don’t like racists of ANY color.
Massey is currently awaiting trial on two counts of being a felon in possession of weapon.
The death of Oin Oakstar at the age of 43 was probably not a surprise to anyone familiar with the Arizona man’s drug-and-alcohol-fueled lifestyle.
What surprises many, however, is where he died: In a homeless encampment under a freeway overpass in Everett, Wash., more than a thousand miles from Arivaca, his longtime home near the border.
Police found Oakstar’s body on Wednesday in a tent near an area frequented by homeless people, on railroad property near Interstate 5. There were no obvious signs of how he died, though natural causes are suspected, and police say they are awaiting word on an autopsy, the Everett Herald reported.
Border militiaman K.C. Massey III was slightly apologetic about detaining three border-crossing immigrants during one of his outfit’s vigilante
patrols awhile back—handcuffing the men behind their backs with zip ties—along the Rio Grande in southern Texas.
“Sorry we had to ‘Detain’ them,” Massey, one of the leaders of the militiamen that began gathering several weeks ago in Texas, wrote in a Facebook comment after video of the detentions was posted online. “[B]ut they were wore out and just fell down and gave up while the other 7-8 ran like gazelles!”
As the post explained, the militiamen detained the people—described as Honduran, Guatemalan, and Mexican—after they encountered a group of about 11 border crossers, most of whom took off through the brush. The three men they kept were “ziptied, debriefed, and given water,” and U.S. Border Patrol officers eventually arrived and took them away.
“WE DO NOT AIM TO DETAIN, we would much rather send them back into the river into Mexico and dissuade them and the cartel from crossing on the property we patrol,” the post explained. “All encounters were conducted in a humanitarian, professional fashion. Stay vigilant. Thank you for your support.”
But behind the guise of humanitarian treatment was a not-so-subtle smirking contempt. “One of the guys pissed himself!” remarked Massey. Another chimed in, “Dude pissed himself bad.”
Welcome to Camp LoneStar, a border militia outpost on the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas where antigovernment “Patriots,” heavily armed and
hunting for immigrants, have seemingly taken the law into their own hands in recent weeks and made residents near their operation increasingly fearful and resentful.
The most recent attempt to protest federal immigration policies by shutting down the nation’s ports of entry along the Mexico border has, to no one’s great surprise, turned out to be another fizzle.
Calling itself a coalition of antigovernment “Patriot” groups angry about immigration enforcement, “Shut Down All Ports of Entry” had attempted to organize a protest Saturday morning at a number of the United States’ border crossings wherein participants would drive up to the port, turn off their trucks and cars, and walk away from them.
But on Friday, the organization took down its Facebook page and removed all content from its website except for a notice announcing that the protest had been cancelled out of fears of retaliation by the drug cartels.
“There has been an unsubstantiated threat of mass violence to attendees, along with very suspicious activity on the Facebook site,” wrote organizer Satsyi Barth. “These two items are more than enough for me to immediately stop any protest that was going to occur. Your lives, and the lives of our law enforcement, are more important than any protest.” ( continue to full post… )
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.
Pete Santilli keeps trying –– and failing –– to organize protests that will shut down border crossings between the United States and Mexico. What’s more, he hasn’t been completely honest about it.
The latest effort by the extremist right-wing radio host was a multi-state “Border Convoy” campaign that featured protests at various stops along the multi-day route. Participants signed a petition declaring that they “oppose Barack Obama’s foreign invasion of our country” and demanding that authorities “secure our border.”
And while at least this time there were no problems with his vehicle’s license plates (unlike Santilli’s previous border-shutdown effort, which collapsed into a small heap of frustrated protesters), the campaign was once again notable for failing to achieve anything.
But you wouldn’t know that if you listened to Santilli. ( continue to full post… )
As the Minuteman Project attempts to restore its influence amid what some feel is a new crisis brewing on the border, the project’s co-founder Jim Gilchrist has been barnstorming media outlets in an effort seemingly aimed at saving a public image marred by criminality as he works to rebuild the project.
On VCY America’s “Crosstalk” show Tuesday, for example, Gilchrist felt free to tell his interviewer that hundreds of thousands of Central American children were going to form the “vanguard” of a “Trojan-horse invasion” of the United States, and even sympathized with a caller who suggested gassing the children to death at the border.
But the more difficult realities of the Minutemen came during an interview with Ed Berliner, host of Newsmax’s “MidPoint” program. Rather than serve up softball questions as one might expect from the frequently far-right media outlet, Berliner challenged Gilchrist about the original incarnation of the Minutemen, noting that the movement unraveled amid “criminal charges against some of the people involved, and that includes the former leader, Chris Simcox,” who now faces trial on three counts of child molestation. ( continue to full post… )