Border Guardians Founder Laine Lawless Calls for Violence
A prominent anti-immigration leader has secretly urged the nation's largest neo-Nazi group to launch a campaign of violence and harassment against undocumented workers in the United States.
Laine Lawless, who started a group called Border Guardians last year, sent an April 3 e-mail to Mark Martin, "SS commander" of the Western Ohio unit of the National Socialist Movement, which has 59 chapters in 30 states. It was titled, "How to GET RID OF THEM!"
The e-mail from Lawless, who was also an original member of Chris Simcox's vigilante militia before it morphed into the Minuteman Project in early 2005, detailed 11 suggestions for ways to harass and terrorize undocumented immigrants, including robbery and "beating up illegals" as they leave their workplace.
"Maybe some of your warriors for the race would be the kind of people willing to implement some of these ideas," Lawless wrote. "I'm not ready to come out on this. ... Please don't use my name. THANKS."
At the request of Lawless, who declined to respond to questions from the Intelligence Report, Martin posted her suggestions to a number of neo-Nazi bulletin boards. Those suggestions included:
"Steal the money from any illegal walking into a bank or check cashing place."
"Make every illegal alien feel the heat of being a person without status. ... I hear the rednecks in the South are beating up illegals as the textile mills have closed. Use your imagination."
"Discourage Spanish-speaking children from going to school. Be creative."
"Create an anonymous propaganda campaign warning that any further illegal immigrants will be shot, maimed or seriously messed-up upon crossing the border. This should be fairly easy to do, considering the hysteria of the Spanish language press, and how they view the Minutemen as 'racists & vigilantes.'"
The Report contacted Lawless for comment, sending her copies of her own e-mails that included their original headers, as she requested. But after receiving the copies, Lawless refused to talk.
Lawless, the former high priestess of Sisterhood of the Moon, a lesbian pagan organization, has been heavily involved in anti-immigration extremism since 2004, when she joined Simcox's Civil Homeland Defense outfit, as it was then called. That same year, she invited militia members to her private ranch in Cochise County, Ariz. "I coordinate with Chris [Simcox], so anyone who wants to come is welcome," she wrote in a post to an online user group, "Border War" which was reposted on sites such as "A Well Regulated Militia."
Lawless was featured in numerous media reports on the first Minuteman Project campaign in April 2005, and has patrolled side-by-side with Minuteman vice-president Carmen Mercer. Lawless also traveled to Texas to join the Texas Minutemen in October, when she was quoted in The Austin Chronicle saying she gets an "intellectual and political orgasm" from spying on pro-immigration groups. In that interview, she accused one pro-immigration activist of inserting chants of "White Power!" into an audiotape of Minuteman rallies to discredit the movement.
This March 29 and 30, Lawless was quoted on CNN attacking a humanitarian group that leaves food and water for people crossing the Sonora Desert to illegally enter the United States.
In April, just six days after Lawless e-mailed her suggestions to neo-Nazi Mark Martin, Border Guardians made national news when Lawless and other members burned a Mexican flag in front of the Mexican Consulate in Tucson, where Lawless's group is based. Before the flag was set aflame, Lawless held a press conference.
"As always, Border Guardians remains committed to only lawful actions to combat illegal immigration," she said. "We are committed to practice only peaceful, lawful action in defense of our country."
Her e-mail the prior week to the National Socialist Movement, however, clearly revealed a darker agenda. "There are several tactics, some legal and some not-so," she wrote. "Sabotage the things they like: entertainment, food, beer... . BRAVO to the person who cut down the Spanish language radio station towers just North of Phoenix! Now that sends a message!"
That April 3 E-mail was not the only contact between Lawless and the NSM. In that e-mail, she writes of leaving a voicemail message on the NSM's hotline. And, in an earlier e-mail to NSM commander Martin dated March 6, she congratulated the NSM on provoking a riot in Toledo, Ohio, in October 2005. "I still think those riots were wonderful!" Lawless wrote.
The contact between Lawless and the NSM is not the first evidence to emerge of overlapping Minuteman and neo-Nazi membership. A few members of the National Alliance and Aryan Nations signed up with the original Minuteman Project in April 2005, and at least two frequent contributors to the white supremacist website Stormfront volunteered for Minuteman co-founder Jim Gilchrist's failed Congressional campaign.
Like Lawless, Martin would not comment for this story. But he did offer this tagline when he forwarded Lawless's suggested tactics to other neo-Nazis: "The information contained in this email is Racially and Religiously privileged and confidential. It is intended for specific Aryan recipients only."
Anthony Griggs contributed to this report.