The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Leader in Georgia Antigovernment Terror Plot Pleads, Gets Life in Prison

Posted in Antigovernment, Domestic Terrorism, Extremists in the Military, Patriot Groups by Don Terry on July 19, 2013 - 1:21 pm

LUDOWICI, Ga. – The suspected leader of a murderous militia of military men was the last to be interrogated that mild Georgia winter evening 18 months ago. Although he was only 20 at the time, United States Army Pvt. Isaac Aguigui played it cool and defiant. “You can go to hell,” he told an agent from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI). His tough-guy act didn’t last long. Within 20 minutes, Aguigui deserted his rigid military discipline and whimpered, “I’m just going to end up in a jail cell alone for the rest of my life.”

Today, his tearful prophecy came true.

The now 22-year-old soldier was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after pleading guilty to the murder of Tiffany York, 17, and her boyfriend, Michael Roark, 19, a former soldier who served with Aguigui at the Fort Stewart Army base in Hinesville. Georgia state prosecutors say the young sweethearts were shot to death in the woods not far from the sprawling military facility to keep secret Aguigui’s video-game inspired militia and its delusional plans to overthrow the government of the United States through a torrent of bombings, kidnappings and political assassinations. ( continue to full post… )

Oath Keepers ‘Patriot’ Group May Sponsor NASCAR Prince

Posted in Patriot Groups by Don Terry on April 29, 2013 - 3:20 pm

Jeffrey Earnhardt, a young prince of one of NASCAR’s royal families, and the Oath Keepers, a conspiracy-spinning “Constitutionalist” group, are joining forces for an upcoming race that “could help make Oath Keepers a household name.”

At least that’s the pitch – and the hope – of the Oath Keepers founder, Stewart Rhodes, as he tries to raise $30,000 in time to get a car on the track for a June 1 NASCAR-sanctioned second-tier race at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Del. ( continue to full post… )

‘Conservatives’ Who Gathered in Colorado a Different Breed

Posted in Anti-LGBT, Anti-Muslim, Conspiracies, Patriot Groups by Hatewatch Staff on March 25, 2013 - 11:25 am

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — You might have thought that a conference with the title “Conservative Call to Action” would feature lots of talk of small government, of Ronald Reagan, of the need to defend traditional values and a capitalist economy. But that would be yesterday’s conservatives.

Instead, at the event held Saturday in this famously conservative town that is home to the nation’s biggest concentration of Christian Right organizations, rabid Florida pastor Terry Jones, whose televised burning of Korans set off riots overseas that left several people dead, claimed that he didn’t hate Muslims at all — and then went on to rant that Islam “makes Nazism, fascism look like charity.” He was joined by other “conservatives” who warned that the universities are brimming with “commies,” that all liberals are evil, that President Obama only won re-election through “massive voter fraud,” and that the president’s health care plan is “Marxism to the core.”

Symptomatic of the shift of a broad swath of the conservative movement to outright paranoid fantasy was the appearance of Dinesh D’Souza, who was once a respected commentator on the right. D’Souza began to run off the rails with a 2010 Forbes magazine article that he expanded into a book and then into a 2012 film, “2016: Obama’s America.” The article was pilloried by more old-fashioned conservatives, including Daniel Larison, who described it in The American Conservative as “the most ridiculous piece of Obama analysis yet written.” The article, book and film argue that Obama is motivated by a dream of undermining Western power. ( continue to full post… )

New SPLC Report: ‘Patriot’ Movement Swells for Fourth Year

Posted in Editor's Pick, Hate Crime, Intelligence Report, Patriot Groups by Mark Potok on March 5, 2013 - 9:28 am

The number of antigovernment “Patriot” groups on the American radical right hit an all-time high in 2012, the fourth straight year of explosive growth, according to a report released today by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). As the new year began, serious talk of gun control, prompted by a Connecticut school massacre in December, fueled even more rage on the right, and the threat of violence loomed .

The new report, contained in the latest issue of the quarterly investigative journal Intelligence Report, found that the conspiracy-minded Patriot groups, which numbered only 149 in 2008, soared over the first four years of Barack Obama’s presidency to 1,360 in 2012 — an astounding 813% increase. At the same time, it found that hate groups remained at near-record levels of over 1,000 (see interactive map and state-by-state lists of 2012 hate groups here).

The resurgence of militias and other Patriot groups and an uptick over recent years in non-Islamic domestic terrorism caused SPLC President Richard Cohen today to write (letter pdf) U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to request the creation of a new interagency task force to assess the adequacy of federal resources devoted to the threat. “As in the period before the [1995] Oklahoma City bombing,” Cohen wrote, “we are now seeing ominous threats from those who believe that the government is poised to take their guns.” ( continue to full post… )

Convicted Extortionist a Key Figure in Idaho Citadel ‘Patriot’ Project

Posted in Antigovernment, Patriot Groups, Sovereign Citizens by Bill Morlin on January 18, 2013 - 3:33 pm

If you’re a band of antigovernment “Patriots” pitching a plan to build a walled city in North Idaho and manufacture handguns and assault rifles there, you might expect raised eyebrows, a little criticism. But potshots from other Patriots?

Potshots, indeed, are flying at III Arms Co. and its sister land development company, Citadel Land Development, the firms behind a proposed 2,000- to 3,000-acre III Citadel complex for as many as 7,000 “Patriot” families near St. Maries, in Idaho’s sparsely populated Benewah County.

The criticism is sparked by the fact that one of the key players linked to the unlikely-sounding venture is three-time convicted felon Christian Allen Kerodin, a Maryland contractor who has apparently used various aliases and whose birth name was Christian Hyman. His wife or partner, Holly Ann Kerodin, has been involved in questionable charity, counseling, publishing and other ventures that have failed, various critics say. ( continue to full post… )

Texas ‘Sovereign’ Charged in Murder-for-Hire Scheme Targeting Judge

Posted in Extremist Crime, Patriot Groups, Sovereign Citizens by Don Terry on October 2, 2012 - 4:04 pm

If you can’t beat them in court, kill them in the street.

At least that seems to have been the legal strategy of an elderly Texas tax protester and suspected “sovereign citizen,” who authorities charged Monday with trying to hire a hit man to kill the federal judge presiding over his upcoming trial for filing false tax returns.

Phillip Monroe Ballard, 71, was already in federal custody, awaiting trial, when, authorities say, he offered to pay an assassin $100,000 cash – presumably tax-free – to shoot or blow up U.S. District Judge John McBryde of the Northern District of Texas. ( continue to full post… )

Sovereign Citizen ‘President’ Indicted for Tax Crimes

Posted in Antigovernment, Extremist Crime, Patriot Groups, Sovereign Citizens, Tax Protesters by Ryan Lenz on September 18, 2012 - 4:33 pm

James Timothy Turner, the self-styled “president” of the Republic for the united States of America (RuSA), was indicted today on charges of conspiracy to defraud the federal government and several other tax charges, including attempting to pay taxes with a fictitious financial instrument and attempting to obstruct an Internal Revenue Service investigation.

Based in the southeast Alabama town of Ozark, Turner heads what is likely the largest and most organized group of antigovernment “sovereign citizens” in the country. ( continue to full post… )

Conspiracists Say Recent Shootings ‘False Flag’ Attacks by Government

Posted in Antigovernment, Conspiracies, Patriot Groups by Leah Nelson on August 27, 2012 - 2:27 pm

Kurt Nimmo says that there is no problem with violent white supremacists in the military.

His boss, Alex Jones, says that there is no problem with gun violence in America – at least, no problem that’s not a result of government-sponsored “mind-control” experiments.

Jones and Nimmo, who are among the biggest spinners of conspiracy theories in the United States, are revered within the antigovernment “Patriot” movement, which is always eager to ascribe malevolent plots to the government. Their fantastical allegations appeared recently on Infowars and PrisonPlanet, Jones-run websites that warn obsessively of a supposed government conspiracy to surrender national sovereignty to the forces of a fascistic “New World Order.” ( continue to full post… )

Antigovernment ‘Patriot’ Movement Takes Up Delaware Sheriff’s Crusade

Posted in Patriot Groups by Leah Nelson on April 26, 2012 - 7:31 am

Update: Proposed legislation clarifying that Delaware sheriffs do not have powers of arrest was withdrawn yesterday by its sponsor, WGMD News reports. State Rep. Daniel Short, who sponsored the bill, said he struck it over concerns that the issue had become too politicized. As an alternative, he is reportedly working on a House resolution to ask the state Supreme Court for a ruling on whether the state constitution grants sheriffs the authority to make arrests.

Sheriff Jeff Christopher of Sussex County, Del., believes county sheriffs are the last defense against lawmakers who plan to bulldoze the Constitution, establish a police state, and implement a dark “agenda” (whose details are not entirely clear).

That’s why, in defiance of longstanding state laws that allocate powers of arrest and most other law enforcement duties to state and city police officers – and not to county sheriffs – he’s launched a crusade to turn back the clock to a time when the local sheriff was the county’s top law enforcement official. ( continue to full post… )

New SPLC Report: ‘Patriot’ Movement Explodes

Posted in Hate Groups, Intelligence Report, Patriot Groups, Year-End by Mark Potok on March 8, 2012 - 7:28 am

The number of antigovernment “Patriot” groups grew at an astounding pace last year, as it has in all three years of the Obama presidency, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) annual count of extremist groups, released today. The number of these groups rose from 824 in 2010 to 1,274 last year.

This dramatic expansion of the radical right was driven by fears related to economic dislocation, the country’s changing racial makeup, and the prospect of four more years under our first black president. The campaign season, with its vitriolic rhetoric, has also contributed to the overheated atmosphere that is fostering these groups. In addition, many politicians and other public figures increasingly have been pushing conspiracy theories and demonizing rhetoric into the political mainstream.

The report on SPLC’s annual count and review of the last year in American extremism may be found here. The table of contents for the entire new issue of the SPLC’s Intelligence Report is here. What follows are synopses of the major stories found in the new edition. ( continue to full post… )