40 to Watch: Leaders of the Radical Right

What does the radical right look like after a year of reverses? The future may lie in the personalities still peopling the fringe
Gordon Lee Baum, 62 | BRIDGETON, Mo.

 

After the underlying white supremacy of Gordon Baum's Council of Conservative Citizens was exposed in late 1998 and early 1999, the group that had once boasted 34 members in the Mississippi legislature essentially abandoned its longstanding attempts to portray itself as a mainstream conservative organization.

Baum, who as late as 2001 was telling reporters that the council was "not anti-black" or "anti-anything," now presides over an organization that does not hesitate to call blacks "a retrograde species of humanity" or to post pictures on its Web site of alleged black terrorists over a headline reading, "Is the face of DEATH black after all?"

Initially, after the Intelligence Report detailed the racism of the council in late 1998, Baum seemed to react calmly, defending himself and the council as best he could. But as politicians and the press turned against him, he showed an angry and petulant side, and did not help his cause when he went on national media outlets and talked about black men raping white women and similar racially charged matters.

He also became visibly angry when then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.), who had long been close to the group, first claimed virtually no knowledge of it and then, albeit in weak terms, distanced himself from it. While he did not attack Lott directly, Baum made snide remarks suggesting that he thought the senator had developed a memory problem.

A personal injury lawyer specializing in auto accidents and workmen's compensation claims in St. Louis, Baum formed the organization in 1985 based on the mailing lists of the segregationist White Citizens Councils for whom he had been the Midwest field organizer. It grew to include some 15,000 members, mostly in the deep South, and to have genuine political power — power that could be glimpsed when the group's links to Lott and then-U.S. Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.) were exposed.

That power was strongest in the South, especially Mississippi, where then-Gov. Kirk Fordice defended the council even as the Republican National Committee asked all Republicans associated with the racist group to resign their memberships.

Today, the council has taken on new life as it turns its attention from traditional issues like busing and affirmative action to strident attacks on non-white immigration — a shift that is reflected clearly in its tabloid newspaper, Citizens Informer. The Informer is now edited by former Washington Times columnist Sam Francis (see 'The Stupid Party,') and, despite its racism, has drawn to its editorial advisory board such people as Virginia Abernethy, a professor emeritus at Vanderbilt University.


Rev. Michael D. Bray, 51 | BOWIE, Md.

When alleged abortion clinic bomber and cop-killer Eric Rudolph was arrested this summer after five years on the lam, many Americans were pleased.

Not Michael Bray, the handsome but humorless Reformation Lutheran Church pastor who long has been America's leading advocate of murdering physicians and others associated with abortion. An early signer of an infamous public letter endorsing such violence, Bray spoke of his "sadness" for Rudolph, a hard-line anti-Semite also accused of the fatal 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing.

Raised partly in Germany and reportedly a one-time Naval Academy cadet, Bray was a housepainter and laborer until the early 1980s, when he plunged into the extreme anti-abortion movement.

By 1984, Bray and two friends had formed a three-man cell that bombed seven abortion clinics and the Capitol Hill offices of the American Civil Liberties Union (where a secretary was working at the time), frequently signing their attacks "Army of God." Upon his arrest, Bray claimed he had been framed, but it wasn't long before he was boasting about the attacks for which he ultimately served 46 months.

During that time, Bray's wife Jayne was active in Operation Rescue, a tie that would ultimately result in the couple's 2001 bankruptcy because of a civil suit aimed at clearing clinic entrances of protesters.

In 1994, Bray wrote A Time to Kill, an influential book that uses the Bible to justify the murder of abortionists, who Bray believes should be stoned to death in Old Testament fashion. The same year, he told The Village Voice that he'd acquired an Army sniper manual because "the very presence of sniper-minded people serves to instill fear" in abortionists. An advocate of militias and militia-like ideas, Bray also has recently advocated death for homosexuals.

Since 1996, he has sponsored annual "White Rose Banquets" to honor those who carry out anti-abortion violence, although he canceled the 2003 event to rally instead for doctor-killer James Kopp.


Bruce Alan Breeding, 35 | MANDEVILLE, La.

 

Like many on the racist right, Bruce Breeding — who more commonly goes by his alias, Vincent Breeding, and sometimes calls himself Vincent Edwards — emerged from the hard-edged fringes of the "black metal" music scene.

From 1992 to 1995, Breeding was a studio guitarist for the black metal band Acheron, which, according to a review on deathmetal.com, embodied "the very essence of Satanism." For part of this period, Breeding worked at a Tampa-area strip club and, in 1994, he joined the neo-Nazi National Alliance and helped to build its Tampa unit into one of most active in the country.

As an official of the Tampa unit, Breeding put on events featuring Holocaust denier David Irving and, in May 1997, former Klansman David Duke, with whom Breeding developed a close relationship. At the same time, Breeding was sharing an apartment with Todd Vanbiber, another musician and Alliance member.

On April 23 of that year, Vanbiber was badly injured when the pipe bombs he was building in a storage unit — allegedly for use in a bank robbery plot — blew up in his face. (Vanbiber was sentenced to six years in prison on weapons charges.) Breeding also set up a "cyber-cell" specializing in pushing Alliance ideas on the Internet.

In 1999, after a falling-out with Alliance leader William Pierce, Breeding moved to Louisiana to run Duke's office. In 2000, using many of Breeding's ideas, Duke inaugurated the National Organization for European American Rights, later renamed the European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO).

Breeding was clearly subservient to Duke — even carrying his miniature pet poodle around for him during one 2000 event — and Duke named him to head up EURO.

Since 1998, Breeding has used his computer skills to run the White Nationalist News Agency, and also is behind martinlutherking.org, a Web site which pillories the civil rights leader, and NoWarforIsrael.com. Remarkably, he now also uses those skills to run a porn site and magazine (see Monkey Business).


Boyd D. Cathey, 54 | WENDELL, N.C.

For close to three decades, Boyd Cathey has been a superficially presentable but radical political activist — a man with tight connections to Holocaust denial, far-right Catholicism and racially tinged neo-Confederate causes who nevertheless has helped lead major political campaigns.

In the 1970s, while still in his 20s, Cathey studied in Spain, Switzerland and Argentina at institutions run by the Society of Pius X, a far-right "traditionalist" Catholic sect that rejects modern theological reforms, and Opus Dei, a Catholic organization that long supported Spanish dictator Francisco Franco.

In 1979, according to the society's newsletter, Cathey was ordained and went on to teach at the society's seminary in Ridgefield, Conn. Two years later, he landed a job at the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, where he still works today as an archivist in the Special Collections Branch.

Cathey also worked as an assistant to the late Russell Kirk, a leading neo-Confederate thinker, and Andrew Lytle, one of a group that defended the South in the 1930 compilation I'll Take My Stand.

By 1984, Cathey had taken a public plunge into far-right, neo-Confederate politics, joining Southern Partisan magazine as a contributor, editor and senior adviser until 1999. In 1988, Cathey was named North Carolina co-chair for gay-bashing televangelist Pat Robertson's presidential run.

Four years later, he became state campaign manager for far-right commentator Pat Buchanan's presidential campaign — and was exposed during that campaign as an editorial adviser, since 1989, to the journal of the Holocaust-denying Institute for Historical Review (IHR). (The IHR puts on conferences featuring people like neo-Nazi David Duke and the son of Hitler's deputy, Rudolf Hess.) Cathey claimed in 1996 that he had quit his IHR position, but its leader, Mark Weber, said last year that Cathey was still in the post. Cathey is still listed on the group's Web page today.

Cathey recently also has become a key player in the attempted extremist takeover of the Sons of Confederate Veterans led by Ron Wilson (see Hijacking Heritage) the heritage group's commander in chief since August 2002.

Following his election, Wilson ejected the SCV's North Carolina public information officer as part of a major purge of those who criticized racism within the group, and replaced him with Cathey, whom he had already named to the SCV's executive council.

This June, Cathey wrote an E-mail to SCV members calling for increased activism and bemoaning how, over the last 20 years, "immense numbers of 'Yankees' and 'Latinos'" had moved to the South and "change[d] our society." The SCV's recent formation of a political action committee (see Unfinished Business) shows that Cathey's influence is likely being felt.


Bryant Calvert Cecchini, 32 | ST. PAUL, Minn.

 

Bryant Cecchini, better known by his alias of Byron Calvert, is friendly with key movement activists like former Klan leader David Duke.

Bryant Cecchini, far better known by his alias of Byron Calvert, is one of the most respected racist Skinheads on the neo-Nazi music scene — and one of several key players who recently left powerhouse Resistance Records for a competing racist label.

With roots in the Minnesota Skinhead world, the fit and muscular Cecchini (pictured above right with David Duke) accumulated a lengthy criminal record, including a 1989 felony conviction (at age 18) for stabbing two people, which put him in a state prison for 43 months.

While there, Cecchini also was cited for participating in an apparently racially motivated prison disturbance, disobeying an order, unlawful assembly, and assaulting and harming a prison staffer with a weapon.

Emerging in 1992, Cecchini reportedly was a mercenary in Bosnia and traveled to South Africa during the early 1990s; he also says he briefly joined the French Foreign Legion in 1995. Later that year, Cecchini took a new Nissan 200sx for a test drive in Virginia and didn't stop until he reached Texas, serving six months as a result.

In 1999, Cecchini traveled to the Muldrow, Okla., compound of Elohim City, a radical right-wing community founded by the late Robert Millar. He spent a year there, working for an Arkansas construction company and marrying Emily Lorraine Millar, one of Millar's teenage daughters.

At the same time, he met Billy Roper (see Revolting in Arkansas), an Arkansas teacher who in May 2000 was hired by neo-Nazi leader William Pierce as a key staffer in Pierce's National Alliance. Cecchini and his wife moved to the Alliance's West Virginia compound shortly afterward, with Cecchini assigned to manage the warehouse of Resistance Records, the Alliance's lucrative white power music operation.

Cecchini was a talented manager, starting an effective E-list for customers and streamlining operations, but clashed with Pierce and Erich Gliebe (see Führer of the Titanic), Resistance's manager. Within months, Cecchini, his wife and two children were thrown off the compound and returned to his parents' home town of Fort Lee, Va., where he set up his own Web site, tightrope.cc.

The site sold music and racist paraphernalia and frequently carried articles critical of Resistance and the National Alliance. It also carried racist cartoons by Leo Felton, who in 2002 would be convicted in a plot to blow up Jewish and black targets.

In January 2003, not long after Cecchini testified for Felton, federal agents raided Cecchini's home — seizing large amounts of materials, including his computer — based on the allegation that he had infringed on Nike's copyright by printing T-shirts with a Nike "swoosh" symbol and the word "Nazi."

After the raid, which resulted in no charges, Cecchini returned to Minnesota to manage customer relations for Panzerfaust Records, a racist label run by Anthony Pierpont (see The Well-Tanned Skinhead) that competes directly with Resistance.