40 to Watch: Leaders of the Radical Right
A corporate attorney from Albany, N.Y., Victor Gerhard plunged into the radical right in early 1999, when he joined the neo-Nazi National Alliance after a period of studying the group's literature.
Intelligent, tough and sometimes very amusing, Gerhard left what he calls "a high-paying job" and bought an A-frame cabin just outside the group's rural West Virginia compound in early 2000. He was named general counsel and chief of staff, and in fact did help some members and supporters with legal problems.
(He also wrote a sarcastic song at the time, "On the cover of the Intelligence Report," sung to the tune of Dr. Hook's "On the Cover of the Rolling Stone," asking what he needed to do to get his picture featured in this magazine.)
But when he tried to sort out a number of the National Alliance's internal problems, he clashed with the late Alliance boss William Pierce and his soon-to-be successor, Erich Gliebe (see Führer of the Titanic), and was fired in May 2001 for insubordination.
Remaining in the area, Gerhard contained his anger until the day after Pierce's death on July 23, 2002, when he got into a fistfight with Alliance member Dr. Charles Ellis, resulting in his arrest for battery. (He later pleaded no contest and was fined $100.)
During this period, Gliebe was orchestrating a whisper campaign against Gerhard, accusing him of being mentally unstable. Days after Pierce's death, Gerhard sent an E-mail to friends viciously attacking Pierce and the Alliance, which he described as "two badly run businesses [the Alliance's Resistance Records and National Vanguard Books operations] and a membership con-game."
He accused Pierce of lies, "siphoning off all the cash into his pocket," surrounding himself with "toadies, lickspittles and ass-kissers," covering up for rapists, and being "a sexual pervert" who relentlessly pursued female staffers and Internet porn despite being married.
Not long after these events, Gerhard moved to Wilmington, N.C., where he incorporated Condor Legion Ordnance, Inc., "a new, growing, pro-White corporation" that has several Web sites (most notably, whitepowerrecords.com) and started selling racist T-shirts, music and pins from a warehouse in Wilmington.
Later in 2002, Gerhard joined forces with the neo-Nazi White Revolution, a group formed by key former Alliance staffer Billy Roper (see Revolting in Arkansas) after Roper was ejected by Gliebe. Today, all Condor Legion stock is held by White Revolution members.
Early this year, Gerhard added two E-Bay "stores" and 14 Words Press* to the Condor Legion family of firms. (14 Words Press is a publisher of racist neo-Pagan materials that was founded by the legendary David Lane (see Preaching from Prison), now serving a 190-year sentence in connection with a 1984 murder by the terrorist group The Order.) In July, Gerhard began producing a nightly Web-based "news" program.
Six days after the July 2002 death of National Alliance founder and leader William Pierce, the Alliance board named Erich Gliebe to head what up to that point had been the best organized and most effective neo-Nazi group in America — a title the Alliance can hardly lay claim to a year later, as it struggles to survive a series of splits and other problems under Gliebe (see Against the Wall).
That Gliebe was selected was not much of a surprise. Pierce had regarded the long-time Cleveland unit leader as a son, and Gliebe had earned great respect by making the Alliance's racist music operation, Resistance Records, profitable and by pioneering the use of "European American cultural festivals" to recruit ethnic whites. Gliebe was also close to racist bands, and was a good enough organizer to be able to bring as many as 500 people to their concerts.
In the event, however, Gliebe, a former tool-and-die maker and boxer who fought as "The Aryan Barbarian," was no Pierce, a man who once taught physics at an Oregon university. He almost immediately ran into trouble when the Intelligence Report published details of a secret speech he made three months before Pierce's death, attacking members of other hate groups as "morons" and "hobbyists" who belonged to "the make-believe world otherwise known as 'the movement.'"
Angry white supremacists responded by attacking the Alliance and, in many cases, refusing to purchase its Resistance Record products. Gliebe reacted poorly, attempting to shut down criticism by censoring Internet postings both on Alliance sites and others that he could influence.
The main result was that the criticism heated up, but was posted anonymously on sites the Alliance could not control. Gliebe even shut down the Alliance's main private E-group, but was forced to revive it in July when it became clear that members were drifting away due to a loss of contact.
Today, the Alliance has lost members and staffers, including several key players who have joined competing racist music operations. Twisting the words of praise offered by one admirer, many Alliance members and others on the radical right now mock "the highly intelligent Erich Gliebe" as a matter of course.
Vietnam veteran Mo Gulett has been associated with the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations for many years, almost all of them as a lieutenant of Ray Redfeairn (see The Cop-Shooter), the long-time Ohio state leader who became famous in the movement for shooting a police officer repeatedly but failing to kill him (see At Death's Door). Gulett had his own violent run-in with police on March 2, 1997, when officers spotted him heading his van the wrong way down a one-way street.
In a 12-mile chase that finally ended in the Dayton suburb of Beavercreek, Gulett crashed his vehicle into a police cruiser, tried to run one officer off the road and attempted to run down another officer. In the end, he crashed and his van landed in a creek. Later, Gulett would say he fled because he didn't have a driver's license and, anyway, he "was just in one of those moods." He pleaded guilty to aggravated assault on a police officer.
Once imprisoned, Gulett found himself on the receiving end of a severe beating by black prisoners that left him with a broken nose, ruptured eardrum and busted lip. After threatening a lawsuit against Montgomery County officials, he settled out of court for $30,000.
Gulett was out of prison by 2000, when the Aryan Nations was forced to sell off its compound after a successful lawsuit brought by the Southern Poverty Law Center. In 2001, the aging Aryan leader Richard Butler named Gulett's patron Redfeairn as his designated successor, with August Kreis of Pennsylvania as minister of information.
But he rescinded the offer when Redfeairn and Kreis attempted a coup, kicking Butler out of the group he had founded a quarter-century earlier. Butler responded by saying it was Redfeairn and Kreis who had been ejected. In turn, Kreis named himself Aryan Nations national director and created a ruling council composed of Gulett, Joshua Sutter and Charles Juba (see Of Aryans and Area Codes). In May 2002, Redfeairn backed away from Kreis, saying Butler was the real Aryan leader, and took Gulett with him.
The two men then founded the Church of the Sons of Yhvh, which explicitly supports "white racial supremacy" and the creation of a class of violent "warriors for God." Not long after, Redfeairn and Gulett returned to Butler's fold, but it is unclear if Gulett has remained. He missed a key Aryan event in June, and his name has disappeared from Butler's Web site.
Throughout the 1990s and right up to the present, Paul Hall Jr., has been a key editor on the radical right, bringing together some of the hardest-line anti-Semites and white supremacists in America and providing a forum for their ideas. And it has been a family affair.
In 1988, Hall's father, Paul Hall Sr., founded The Jubilee, a tabloid based in Midpines, Calif., because, as his son wrote recently, he wanted to create "a fast-paced publication that would not only inform readers of blacked out news but go that 'step farther' in educating folks as to 'how' and 'why' we are in the mess we're in."
The Halls' answer, it turns out, lay in Christian Identity, a violently anti-Semitic theology that describes whites as the real Hebrews of the Bible and Jews as cursed, race-mixing imposters.
With the younger Hall as managing editor, the newspaper has defended Nazi Germany, denied the Holocaust, glorified the Klan, and attacked Jews at every turn. Its reporters have included:
- Louis Beam, a leading Klansman and neo-Nazi who once topped the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List;
- Chris Temple, author of a stream of anti-Semitic articles;
- Ronald David Cole, who later went to federal prison on weapons charges; and
- Roger Roots, who also served time on weapons charges.
The Jubilee has published articles by militia leaders, racist killers and even, in 1995, sympathetically republished letters sent by Tim McVeigh and his sister Jennifer to other newspapers. It runs a prison ministry for "incarcerated saints in tribulation."
For years, it hosted a radio show, "News Light," hosted by Hall and featuring men like Identity minister Pete Peters (whose remarks, attacking "spear-chucking, big, sun-worshipping heathen," among others, Hall endorsed). It operated "Politically Incorrect Cruises" that attracted the usual racists and anti-Semites along with politicians like then-U.S. Rep. Linda Smith (R-Wash.).
And, through much of the 1990s, The Jubilee hosted annual "Jubilation" events that drew together some of the most frightening extremists in America. (Hall responded to bad publicity about the yearly event by vowing he would not "bow to homosexual or Zionist pressure.")
In 1994, Hall and Beam, the former chief Klan leader in Texas, bought (under their wives' names) property near Sandpoint, Idaho, that they still own. In January 2002, Hall teamed up with Chris Temple to buy Media Bypass, a magazine formerly devoted to militia-like ideas but now expounding anti-Semitic and Identity themes and publishing stories by the likes of neo-Nazi leader Kevin Alfred Strom.
Hall's father, who had written a religious column about Identity for years, died last Sept. 6, but it is now clear that his son will continue the older Hall's extremist mission.
The man who has done more than any other to create a new, racially tinged Southern secession movement wears a white beard that gives him the unmistakable look of a Confederate Army officer — and taught during an academic career lasting decades at historically black Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Michael Hill was always on oddity at the school, roaming the campus wearing a Confederate flag pin and waxing nostalgic to his mostly black students about the so-called "War Between the States." He began to develop his ideas in the 1970s, while studying under neo-Confederate ideologue Grady McWhiney at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa.
Expanding on his old professor's controversial view that the South was different from the North because its population was "Celtic," Hill published two books on Celtic history in the early 1990s. Finally, in 1994, he went public, creating the Southern League (the name was a takeoff on the separatist Northern League of Italy, but had to be changed after a baseball league of the same name threatened to sue).
Started with 40 people, what would be renamed the League of the South* included four men with Ph.D.s on its board, along with Jack Kershaw, who was once active in the segregationist White Citizens Council in Nashville and who remains on the board today.
Hill's league started out complaining about the media treatment of white Southerners, but quickly developed into a racist group calling for secession, attacking egalitarianism, calling antebellum slavery "God-ordained," opposing racial intermarriage, and defending segregation as a policy designed to protect the integrity of both races.
An early sign of the league's racism came in 1995, when Hill set up a student chapter at his alma mater. Within months, its members began to verbally attack gays and its president, Thomas Stedman, wrote to the student newspaper to say "blacks did not invent ... anything of note anywhere in the world" — a sentiment often offered up by the Klan.
In 1998, Hill finally left Stillman, which had been badly embarrassed by his efforts. Still, the league grew quickly, as racist white Southerners sought the respectability of a group led by a professor, and today claims 15,000 members.
Hill has praised anti-Semitic extremists like the immigrant-bashing Jean Marie Le Pen of France, calling for "others like Le Pen to arise." The "ravages of multiculturalism and so-called diversity" are anathema to him. Last year, Hill described the Pledge of Allegiance as "nationalist propaganda [meant] to indoctrinate" children with socialist ideas about government.
In 2003, he led an attempt to resuscitate the Southern Party, another neo-Confederate organization. And he attacked the Supreme Court after its ruling this July striking down anti-gay sodomy laws, saying the court was helping to advance what he called the "sodomite and civil rights agendas."