Like most hate groups, the National Socialist Movement (NSM) conducts virtually all its business in secret. So leaders of America’s largest neo-Nazi group couldn’t have been happy last week when hundreds of its private E-mails appeared on the Internet.
The messages — more than 600 of them dated between July 2007 and August 2009 — are posted to the website wikileaks.org, which publishes leaked documents. They were sent to a hotmail account maintained by an NSM member identified as William Herring, a self-described ex-con who handled correspondence for the group. They provide a glimpse into the inner world of the NSM, whose members seem to spend almost as much time at each other’s throats as they do standing up for the white race.
Among the highlights was a major dust-up in fall 2007 that featured claims of Jewish collaboration and led to the ouster or resignation of several key members, including the group’s 2008 presidential candidate. On Oct. 3, 2007, NSM leader Jeff Schoep wrote an “internal party memo” urging members to stop squabbling. “When Col. Bishop and I have to play babysitter, and talk to people about drama, it makes us, all of you, and our Party look foolish,” he wrote. “America is being overrun with Mexicans and other invaders, instead of expelling certain people, these members and the Party are better served if the drama is saved for the playground, and we all get back to work.” Two weeks later, he adopted a harder line in another E-mail to NSM members. “The NSM does not operate as a Democracy, your pledge of Loyalty is to the Party and its Leadership. Honor your Oath, and your Pledge of Loyalty to the Party, or get out of our Ranks now while you still can!”
In mid-October 2007, Schoep took aim at former NSM regional leader Jim Ramm, an alias for Matthew Ramsey, in a flurry of E-mails. “Jim Ramm is collaborating with the ADL [Anti-Defamation League],” Schoep declared in a message dated Oct. 18. He also forwarded an E-mail titled “giving it to the jews” in which Ramm, who served as webmaster for NSM’s nukeisrael website, supposedly threatened to give the site to the ADL. Ramm later asserted that the E-mail was a fake and denied contact with “the Jews.” He attacked Schoep in a rambling Oct. 21 E-Mail, alleging that Schoep had covered up for an associate who was coming on to Ramm’s then-girlfriend. He complained that in 2006, NSM records grossed over $110,000 in sales, yet wasn’t required to report profits to members. “NSM members are expected to just smile and just hope Commander is spending the money wisely,” he said. “NSM members make no mistake: Jeff Schoep is in this just for the money and he really doesn’t give a damn about the White Race.”
Even the group’s presidential candidate wasn’t spared. Schoep gave the boot to John Taylor Bowles after Bowles stated on his website that NSM was in disarray. “As a Party veteran, You above all people should never waiver [sic] in the face of any drama, much less feed into the drama and make a false claim that the Party is in disarray,” Schoep wrote in an Oct. 18, 2007, E-mail.
Bowles responded with an E-mail to his “fellow National Socialists” complaining that Schoep was refusing to rein in his web team, despite “their tyrannical and unjust ways of banning people and cussing at people.” Bowles also accused Schoep of doing little to help his presidential campaign and complained that Schoep’s E-mail about loyalty sounded as if it had been penned by a Marxist. “Has the NSM Commander been honest with you and told you his reckless character got him a DUI and dues are paying the increased auto insurance premium along with the high price of his Mustang,” he wrote. “Must be nice to live high on the hog on your dues money and you see little in return.”
Contributing to the brouhaha was an E-mail supposedly from former NSM chairman Clifford Herrington. It lambasted Christianity and announced his return as party commander in place of Schoep. “All Praise the Hairy Horned God from Hell!” proclaimed the E-mail in an apparent reference to Herrington’s wife, who had earlier triggered a scandal when anti-racists discovered she was priestess of the Joy of Satan Ministries. Schoep promptly declared the E-mail a fake.
Even Herring, who appears to be utterly devoted to NSM, occasionally needed to be talked off a cliff. In a June 29, 2008, E-mail to Schoep, he was furious about a rumor that he was about to be expelled from NSM for being a drunk. “I have been faithfully doing all I could for the NSM on a ‘budget’ that is laughable at best,” he wrote. “I have been down to washing my clothing in the bathtub and using coffee filters for toilet paper – just so I could keep my internet and phone on and continue helping you with these emails. Am I to be discarded because I had a drinking problem? Am I nothing more than some ex-con piece of shit to be thrown away when I am no longer useful?”
But there’s more to NSM than feuding. Amid reports of cross-lightings and a book-burning, Herring suggested that NSM set up a scholarship fund for those who couldn’t afford to attend the group’s national rally. Schoep recommended keeping it on the down low. “We need to be carefull [sic] about making this known” because “our enemies will say we are paying people to attend events,” he wrote in a Dec. 1, 2007, E-mail.
In a March 29, 2008, E-mail, Schoep’s wife asked Herring, who subscribes to the neo-Pagan religion called Odinism, for help on a class essay comparing mythical heroes. “I have to have a 5,000 word paper wrote [sic] to answer this question,” Joanna Schoep E-mailed. He complied, and she thanked him in a follow-up E-mail. “I just need to get an A in the class, so I can get into Law school someday down the road,” she wrote. Schoep later reported that his wife got an A- on the paper.