The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Lou Dobbs and Americans for Legal Immigration – ALIPAC – are divorcing, and the parting isn’t amicable. ALIPAC President William Gheen has notified supporters that his organization has withdrawn its support of Dobbs and suspended two websites promoting the former CNN showman for president.
In a lengthy E-mail, the heartsick nativist said it was “painful” to realize he misjudged Dobbs, and that ALIPAC hopes to “put this painful episode behind us.” Gheen added contritely, “We apologize to our supporters for being wrong about Dobbs.” ( continue to full post… )
San Diego Minutemen leader Jeff Schwilk has long taken pleasure in harassing immigrants.
So perhaps it’s no surprise that he wrote a vicious E-mail to supporters threatening a federal judge who ruled in favor of an undocumented immigrant killed by a Border Patrol agent.
“This judge should be immediately dragged out, arrested and sent to Gitmo for crimes against our country!” Schwilk wrote in the E-mail titled “Death Penalty for Rock Throwers.” “Or better yet, tie him to a post near the border fence in Douglas [Ariz.] and attach 10 burritos to him as bait for these innocent little Mexican rock throwers! Put a sign next to him that says, ‘I work for the U.S. Border Patrol.’ He wouldn’t last 10 minutes. Bastard!”
Along with his comments, Schwilk forwarded an Associated Press article about the ruling in a civil lawsuit brought by the victim’s family, who was awarded $350,000. According to the AP story, U.S. District Judge Raner Collins decided that the Border Patrol agent used excessive force when he fatally shot an undocumented immigrant, 22-year-old Ricardo Olivares Martinez. The shooting occurred after an agent encountered a group of undocumented immigrants near the Arizona-Mexico border in 2003. Among them was Martinez, who tossed rocks at Agent Cesar Cervantes even after he was ordered to stop. Cervantes said he responded with deadly force because his life was in danger. The judge disagreed, saying the agent “was not in imminent danger from the deceased.”
Schwilk took exception to that finding. “If an illegal alien ever throws a rock (deadly weapon) at me, he’s a dead man! Only lethal force will be used in deadly situations. This is absolutely outrageous!”
A recent story in The [Everett, Wash.] Daily Herald detailing the troubled past of border vigilante Shawna Forde has provoked yet another round of crossfire among leaders of rival Minuteman factions and other prominent nativists.
It all began when Forde, who heads Minutemen American Defense (MAD), reported several brutal attacks this winter and implied that she’d been targeted because of her anti-illegal immigration efforts. Although the incidents are still under investigation, The Herald published a revealing profile of Forde in late February that provided more fodder for both her critics and her supporters within the anti-immigration movement. The article described a difficult childhood — including a stint in foster care and allegations of physical and sexual abuse — a lengthy criminal record that began when she was 11, the loss of a baby to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and problems with mental illness. Forde also told The Herald that the perpetrators of the attacks might have been local criminals rather than Hispanic gang members.
Forde ally and Minuteman leader Jim Gilchrist wrote that he’d spoken to Forde about the article and that she thought it was “reasonably fair and balanced.”
“Despite Shawna Forde’s checkered past, here is a woman who really has been a ‘victim’ throughout her life, perhaps willingly, perhaps unwillingly,” he posted on Immigration Clearinghouse the day after The Herald article appeared. “To have come through the trials and uncertainties of adolescence and young adulthood with odds stacked against you, and to have overcome those odds, is a statement of her willingness to ultimately do the right thing.”
Then he took aim at Forde’s detractors. “Few of us do not have a skeleton in our closet, especially some of Forde’s harshist [sic] critics.”
One of those critics is William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, who alluded to The Herald article in a message posted on his website. “This e-mail is to inform you that some of our worst fears are now confirmed in the media and the damage to our movement is getting worse,” he wrote. “Despite new revelations that there are major problems with Shawna’s story, that she is refusing to fully cooperate with police, has an extensive criminal record, has made outlandish claims in the past, proclaims she has mental illness and disorders, has made false claims to the media, etc. … Jim Gilchrist is standing by Shawna Forde and her story!” ( continue to full post… )
The Minuteman Political Action Committee proclaims on its website that it’s furiously advancing “2008 Project PushBack,” a supposedly full-scale effort to help reelect members of Congress who’ve pledged to crack down on immigrants who are in the country illegally. “Minuteman PAC has quickly become THE ONE Political Action Committee that the open-borders, pro-amnesty lobby fears most,” writes the committee’s executive director, Brett Farley. “And fear us they should!”
Despite all the brash rhetoric, however, the committee appears to be concentrating more on raising money than affecting the political process. Although the Minuteman PAC has spent nearly $1.3 million so far in the 2007-08 election cycle, less than 2% of that money has gone directly to candidates running for office, according to the latest data released by the Federal Election Commission and compiled by OpenSecrets.org. Instead, the vast majority has been spent on operating expenses, mostly direct mail fundraisers, Internet services and accounting work.
Political action committees, known as PACs, are private groups that raise money to elect political candidates. They’re subject to strict reporting guidelines.
The Minuteman PAC was established in December 2005 as the political action arm of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (MCDC), a nativist extremist group whose members have conducted armed patrols of the border. MCDC’s embattled leader, Chris Simcox, has for the past two years faced a barrage of criticism (here and here) from within the anti-immigration movement concerning allegations of financial mismanagement and questionable fundraising practices. ( continue to full post… )
Robert L. Duecaster helps lead a nativist extremist group and regularly makes defamatory comments about Catholics, Muslims and undocumented immigrants, calling the latter in an October 2007 blog post “an invasion of parasites set on reducing this country to the levels of their own.”
But all that didn’t stop the Prince William (Va.) Board of County Supervisors from appointing him to a committee that will influence county decision making on human services policy and budget priorities. After a closed-door discussion, the board voted 5-3 on Sept. 16 to approve Duecaster’s nomination to the Human Services Strategic Goals Task Force, which will develop a roadmap for the next four years of human services planning.
Duecaster is secretary of Help Save Manassas, an anti-immigration group that has spawned other “Help Save” chapters in Virginia and Maryland. In 2007, he helped author a local ordinance aimed at denying county services to undocumented immigrants and empowering local police to enforce federal immigration law. County officials later softened the ordinance because of concerns that it could lead to racial profiling.
Duecaster is known for his inflammatory remarks. “This country is being invaded no less than if hordes of armed people came across its borders,” he said during an October 2007 county supervisors meeting. “This invasion is not armed, but they’ve got weapons. The weapons that they use are their anchor babies. … This invasion is being funded by foreign governments.” He offered another dire warning to the supervisors in April 2008: “You’re at an historic crossroad today. You can fund and continue to enforce the rule of law resolution or you can let it go by the wayside and watch this county and the rest of this region degenerate into a third world slum.” ( continue to full post… )
FIRE IN THE HOLE: The double-wide mobile home of imprisoned Klan leader Charles Barefoot, who was recently declared incompetent to stand trial for allegedly arranging the murder of a fellow Klansman, burned to the ground on Tuesday in Dunn, N.C. “When I got home, ammunition was exploding everywhere and flames were shooting through the roof of his house,” one neighbor told the local newspaper, The Daily Record. “There were bullets going off, shotgun shells exploding and popping everywhere.” Barefoot’s Klan group and its many alleged crimes were detailed in a 2007 article in the Intelligence Report. Barefoot is being held indefinitely until his competency is restored. Local authorities say their investigation into the cause of the fire at his home is ongoing.
THE POOP ON POOP: Janis Dzelme, an assistant to a Latvian member of parliament, has been convicted of throwing a “stinking substance” at the car of a gay-rights demonstrator in July 2006 in Riga, the Latvian capital. And what was that stinking substance? That same month in 2006, members of Watchmen on the Walls, a U.S.- and Latvia-based virulently anti-gay outfit, gathered in Riga to “protect the city from a homosexual invasion.” As the Intelligence Report has noted, gay rights supporters at that rally were met by “a gauntlet of ultranationalists, neo-Nazi skinheads, elderly women and youths wearing ‘I Love New Generation’ T-shirts. They were pelted with eggs, rotten tomatoes and plastic bags full of feces.” Alexey Ledyaev, leader of the Riga-based New Generation Church and co-founder of the Watchmen on the Walls, attended Dzelme’s sentencing. Dzelme, along with his boss, parliamentary deputy Dainis Turlais, are members of Ledyaev’s New Generation Church. Dzelme was sentenced to 100 hours of “compulsory labor,” which is widely seen in Latvia as a more severe punishment than the alternative of paying a $3,400 fine.
SECOND THOUGHTS ON HIGHWAY OF HATE: Earlier this week, Hatewatch reported that the San Diego Minutemen (SDMM), a nativist extremist group, had been allowed to “adopt” a stretch of I-5 for cleanup that included the Border Patrol’s busy San Clemente checkpoint. No way, the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) says now, following a rash of negative publicity. Instead, officials say the SDMM will be offered a stretch of State Route 52, more than 30 miles north of the border checkpoint. Caltrans District Director Pedro Orso-Delgado told The San Diego Union-Tribune that he was concerned about public safety, not about the appearance of having favored the Minutemen by giving them that particular stretch of I-5 to keep clean. “It basically creates a lightning rod. … Really, we don’t need that kind of issue on a freeway where we have so many cars traveling and there’s potential for having an accident or getting into a safety issue,” he explained. Howard Kaloogian, a former state assemblyman who is legal counsel for the SDMM, called the decision political and vowed to challenge CalTrans in court.
California’s Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has approved an application by the in-your-face San Diego Minutemen (SDMM) group, which the Southern Poverty Law Center lists as a “nativist extremist” group, to “adopt” a stretch of highway for cleanup on I-5. That might not be so extraordinary — if it weren’t for the fact that the section the group was awarded responsibility for includes the Border Patrol’s San Clemente checkpoint, an area where undocumented immigrants have been killed crossing the freeway to avoid being detained. El Grupo, a coalition of several civil rights organizations including the North County chapter of the NAACP and the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, is protesting the decision.
Jeff Schwilk (right), the SDMM’s leader, was thrilled about the stretch of highway his group was awarded. In a gloating message to his members, he put it like this: “How great is that!” ( continue to full post… )
What’s in a highway? It depends, it turns out, on who you’re listening to.
For years, nativist fearmongers and assorted conspiracy theorists have asserted that Interstate 35 — the highway that traverses the U.S. in a 1,568-mile path from Laredo, Texas, to Duluth, Minn. — is a part of a secret government plan that spells national ruin and an invasion of illegal immigrants. In the words of Jerome Corsi, the architect of the Swift boat attacks on John Kerry and a general conspiracy nut, the Bush Administration and various evil allies are “quietly but systematically” moving forward on “this key piece of the coming ‘North American Union’.” I-35, groups like the conspiracy-minded John Birch Society add, will soon be transformed into a 10-lane corridor designed expressly to bring in workers and products that will destroy American workers’ livelihoods and bring the much-feared union of Mexico, the United States and Canada one grim step closer to reality.
But wait! Now comes a whole new set of people with their own unusual ideas, and they say that I-35 isn’t evil after all — on the contrary, it’s the “Highway of Holiness,” the very same one prophesied in Isaiah 35:8: “And a highway will be there; it will be called the way of holiness.” This amazing news comes courtesy of CBN’s “The 700 Club,” the Christian Right television show hosted by Pat Robertson, who once blamed 9/11 on gays, feminists, abortionists and sundry liberals.
As recounted by 700 Club “reporter” Paul Strand (a tip of the hat to the folks at Pam’s House Blend for capturing this), a group of Texas-based Christian Right churches, “because of recent prophesies, dreams and visions,” are staging “purity sieges” up and down the highway at gay bars, abortion clinics, strip clubs and adult bookstores. Cindy Jacobs, one of the pastors behind the sieges, said she had received instructions from God to “[g]o to these cities and cry out for holiness and purity, and [then] I’ll come down and I’ll invade.” ( continue to full post… )
Movie director Ronald Maxwell (below, right) — the writer, director and producer of the god-awful 2003 movie “Gods and Generals,” a wildly pro-Confederate and ahistorical take on the Civil War — has adopted a new cause: the threat allegedly posed to right-thinking Americans by undocumented Mexican immigrants. In a Sept. 17 interview with Jeff Mellott of the Daily News Record of Harrisonburg, Va., Maxwell declared that Mexican immigrants’ ultimate goal was “outright annexation” of the Southwestern United States. Adopting the so-called reconquista conspiracy theory widely touted by the radical right, Maxwell explained to Mellot that “they [Mexican politicians and intellectuals] see it as a re-conquering.” “The American people are funding their own suicide,” Maxwell said. “If we stop paying taxes, this craziness stops.”
Maxwell also last month stumped for anti-immigrant hard-liners running for Republican offices in Virginia. The Washington Post reported on Sept. 23 that Maxwell wrote in to the Loudoun Times-Mirror, which covers the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., to ask: “Why on earth would we want to create the conditions in the American Southwest, or for that matter all across America, for future civil strife, or in a worst case scenario, civil war?” Similarly, in an open letter to President Bush last year, Maxwell referred to immigration as an “invasion masquerading as immigration.” He told Bush that his legacy would be described “as the President who saved (or lost) the South-West of the United States.” ( continue to full post… )
Scott Suchman, an accomplished photographer hired by the Intelligence Report to photograph a press conference put on Wednesday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., by the hate group The Social Contract Press, was thrown out of the event by its organizers. The Press Club is considered the “sanctum sanctorum of American journalists” and is dedicated to “the promotion of free expression.”
When Suchman arrived at the Club’s Lisagor Room with camera in hand, he was questioned about who he was free-lancing for. He was told by Diana Hull, head of the press conference’s co-sponsor Californians for Population Stabilization, that because he was shooting photographs for the Southern Poverty Law Center, which publishes the Report, he could not attend.
Club House Manager David King told Hatewatch that the Club doesn’t censor or discriminate against those who rent their facilities. “Those crazy folks have the full right to say that they don’t want a [particular] photographer in their event,” he explained. The press conference’s organizer, Fran Griffin of Griffin Communications, held another event that featured speeches by several hate group members at the Club in March. One speech, by “radical traditionalist Catholic” E. Michael Jones, consisted of an anti-Semitic rant about the evil “revolutionary Jew,” which was so rabid it caused C-SPAN to cancel its planned coverage of the event.