The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
LAS VEGAS – A former “skinhead girl” now nearing middle-age, wearing sensible shoes and jailhouse shackles was the star witness in a federal courtroom here Wednesday, the first day of testimony in a racially charged double murder trial 16 years in the making.
Mandie Abels, who has the words “skinhead girl” tattooed across her back, was escorted by U. S. Marshals into courtroom 7C from a prison cell where she is serving a 15-year sentence for her role in what she called “a vile deed”—leading two anti-racist skinheads to their deaths in the desert just outside of Las Vegas.
In the early morning hours of July 4, 1998 Lin Newborn, 24, and Daniel Shersty, 21 were ambushed and shot to death, prosecutors say, by four white supremacists. “They despised what the victims stood for,” federal prosecutor Patricia Sumner told the jury during opening arguments Wednesday.
The killings were a shocking escalation in the violent—but until then rarely deadly—nationwide conflict between racist skinheads and their anti-racist rivals. Newborn, who was black and worked at a popular Las Vegas body piercing shop, and Shersty, who was a white U.S Air Force airman stationed at the nearby Nellis Air Force Base, were leaders of a fledging group called Las Vegas Unity Skins. ( continue to full post… )
The annual neo-Nazi skinhead rock concert known as Hammerfest will be held this Saturday in or near Boise, Idaho, where authorities say they are worried about the potential for violence at or after the event.
Hammerskin Nation, one of the largest and most-dangerous neo-Nazi skinhead groups in the United States, is sponsoring the 25th annual gathering after patching up differences with a former rival, the equally violent Vinlanders Social Club. ( continue to full post… )
Editor’s Note: This essay by Hatewatch Editor Mark Potok was originally posted Sunday night in The New York Times online opinion section as part of a “Room for Debate” feature that also included articles from four other contributors. The essays were meant to address the question, “Is the Threat From Hate Groups Overlooked?”
One of the most troubling aspects of the mass murder of Sikhs near Milwaukee last week is that the man who carried it out was well known to groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center that monitor the radical right. The shooter, Wade Michael Page, had long been a fixture on the white supremacist music scene and was associated with seriously violent skinhead groups like the Hammerskin Nation.
But the almost certain reality is that there was little that law enforcement officials or others could have done to foresee or forestall the racist attack. Page does not seem to have done anything to suggest that he was planning a slaughter, and his views, fully protected by the First Amendment, were no different from those of thousands of other angry white nationalists.
Still, the attack occurred in the context of a sharp rise in the number of hate groups and antigovernment “patriot” organizations, mostly spurred by the changing racial demographics of our country, which are personified in our first black president. Domestic, non-Muslim terrorism has been on the rise since Barack Obama took office in 2009. Given that reality, is there something more that law enforcement should be doing? ( continue to full post… )
Wade Michael Page, the racist skinhead who killed six people last weekend at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin before turning the gun on himself, was a “patched” member of the Northern Hammerskins, a regional chapter of the larger Hammerskin Nation, the Southern Poverty Law Center has learned.
Page became a full, or patched, member of the Hammerskin chapter last October and appeared to be rising quickly in the organization, according to postings on Crew 38, the online forum for Hammerskin Nation (HSN). This year, in fact, his girlfriend, using the name “LuluRoman” on the forum, directed all regional inquiries regarding Northern Hammerskin events to Page. ( continue to full post… )
Lynx and Lamb Gaede were twin pop sensations for all the wrong reasons. Their songs dealt with overt white nationalist themes, and even their band – Prussian Blue – was a reference to the distinctive color of Zyclon B residue in the Nazi gas chambers. In one of the most infamous photos from their childhood, the twins posed wearing white T-shirts with a smiley face adorned with Hitler’s toothbrush mustache and neatly parted, jet-black hair.
That’s all over, the girls say now. In an exclusive interview with The Daily, Lynx and Lamb – once described as the “new face of hate” – say they’ve abandoned the racism hoisted on them by their mother April Gaede and instead settled into “a place of love and light.”
“I’m glad we were in the band,” Lynx said. “But I think we should have been pushed toward something a little more mainstream and easier for us to handle than being front-men for a belief system that we didn’t completely understand.” Lamb put their transformation more bluntly. “I’m not a white nationalist anymore.” ( continue to full post… )
Charity Pendergraft has responded to our earlier post about her white-power sister act.
Pendergraft’s verdict: “I found the article very amusing.”
She didn’t intend it as a compliment. Pendergraft, 18, and sister Shelby, 16, singing as Heritage Connection, have released two CDs and perform at white nationalist events. Among other things, Charity Pendergraft took umbrage at our description of the sisters’ “thin, quavering voices.” “[T]hose who have heard us sing live would agree that our music, lyrics and vocals are anything but ‘quavering,’” she wrote on the sisters’ blog.
She also didn’t like the way we poked fun at her fondness for Mexican cuisine. (Charity had written in an earlier blog post that she’d eaten enchiladas for dinner and loved “Spanish” food.) “Doesn’t she [the author] know the difference between Mexican food and Spanish food?” she sniffed. “Or for that matter the difference between Mexicans and Spaniards? First Spaniards are white and second Mexicans are a mix of indian, white, and negro. I believe she needs to do more research. True native food in Mexico was a mixture of roasted and/or boiled lizard, rat, and boiled root vegetables. No, I’m not trying to be mean, just telling the truth. It took the creativity of the white Spaniards to make the food of ‘Mexico’ edible.”
We took Pendergraft up on her suggestion that we do more research and contacted Jeffrey Pilcher, a history professor at the University of Minnesota and the author of ¡Que vivan los tamales! Food and the Making of Mexican Identity. ( continue to full post… )
“Let’s see out the Fuhrer’s dream/To break the back of the eternal jew/Rid the world of the evil we’ve seen/Make it safe for me and you.”
— From “Under the Hammer” by Brutal Attack
“When the battle is over and the victory is won/And the White man’s lands are owned by true white people/the traitors will all be gone.”
— From “White Warriors” by Skrewdriver
If you thought such unabashedly bigoted music was available only from underground sources, you’d be wrong. With a few clicks at Apple’s iTunes website, Internet users can buy albums and songs from white supremacist groups such as Bully Boys, Final War, Stormtroop 16 and H8Machine.
But what has one iTunes customer particularly incensed is that the website has apparently removed homophobic songs by reggae artists, but left the white supremacist music. Galen Andrews, who lives outside Des Moines, Iowa, told Hatewatch that he thinks all hate music should be pulled from iTunes. “It made me sick,” he said of the white supremacist music. “I think it’s irresponsible of iTunes to offer that kind of music. I don’t like the fact that they’re selling racism for profit.”
Among the anti-gay songs no longer available on iTunes are Buju Banton’s “Boom Bye-Bye” and T.O.K.’s “Chi-Chi Man,” Andrews said. ITunes, which bills itself as “the world’s most popular digital media player,” did not respond to several phones messages and E-mails seeking comment. However, it’s not the only mainstream music distributor selling racist and offensive tracks. ( continue to full post… )
Do you miss Prussian Blue, the pop-singing twin sisters who entertained neo-Nazi crowds with their off-key odes to white power a few years back? Then you might want to check out another sister act: Eighteen-year-old Charity and 16-year-old Shelby Pendergraft, who form a group called Heritage Connection.
Prussian Blue, you may recall, consisted of Lynx and Lamb Gaede, who (with a little help from stage mom April Gaede) sieg-heiled their way to international stardom in white power circles. They haven’t been heard from in awhile and have apparently moved on to other things.
The Pendergraft sisters have not yet received the media attention that the Gaede bunch drew in their heyday, but they claim to have performed at white nationalist events nationwide since they started performing as Heritage Connection in 2003. They’ve also released two CDs, “Aryan Awakening” and “Standing Our Ground,” and have shared the stage with a guitar-playing Derek Black, best known for the brouhaha that followed his election to the Palm Beach County Republican Executive Committee. ( continue to full post… )
Four years after a neo-Nazi record label provoked a nationwide outcry by distributing hate rock to middle and high school students, one of the men behind that ambitious recruitment drive is at it again.
White power music broker Bryant Cecchini, who uses the alias Byron Calvert, recently announced on his website that he had begun distribution last week of 30,000 CDs. The campaign is dubbed “Project Schoolyard Volume II” and targets teenagers with a 25-song sampler that features tracks such as “White Power” and “Some Niggers Never Die.” “Remember,” he wrote, “we don’t just entertain racist kids, we create them.”
The CDs are on sale for 30 cents each, but Cecchini is including several free with each order from Tightrope, his Arkansas-based website that offers hate music and other racist merchandise. Cecchini’s website features a fist clasping a noose and the motto, “It’s not illegal to be White … yet!”
Cecchini told the Intelligence Report that he has already shipped a few thousand of the CDs in batches of 50 to longtime acquaintances who, he says, will hand them out to children at malls, concerts, skate parks and schools. He said the CDs he’s mailed in bulk have gone to at least seven states — Alaska, Arkansas, California, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri and Pennsylvania — while the ones he’s packaged with customer orders have been sent nationwide. Cecchini said he also uses multiple MySpace accounts that are not overtly racist to reach white students at schools where racially charged incidents have occurred. ( continue to full post… )