The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Hatewatch Under Construction

By Hatewatch Staff on July 24, 2015 - 12:26 pm, Posted in Uncategorized

Construction on a new Hatewatch site is well underway and will launch in early August. In the meantime, please continue to follow our work on Twitter and Medium, where we’re continuing to post in-depth stories exposing the radical right.

If you’re trying to access older stories, please be patient and refresh until the page populates. Alternatively, use CachedView and paste in the desired URL.

Thank you for your patience, and stay tuned.

Hatewatch Headlines 7/23/15

By Hatewatch Staff on July 23, 2015 - 2:39 pm, Posted in Hatewatch Headlines

Right Wing Watch: GOP Presidential Candidates Will Appear Alongside Disgraced Conspiracy Theorist John Guandolo

The Post and Courier: Bullet holes found in second black church near Charleston, South Carolina

Daily Mail: Italian judge indicts 25 far-right suspects

The New York Times: Dylann Roof, Charleston Shooting Suspect, Is Indicted on Federal Hate Crime Charges

Daily Journal Online: Oath Keepers and militia ‘guarding’ local Armed Forces Career Center

AP: Concord, NH, inmate with ties to white supremacist group challenges new law that reduces sentences

Hatewatch Headlines 7/13/15

By Hatewatch Staff on July 13, 2015 - 8:03 am, Posted in Hatewatch Headlines

Talking Points Memo: Hundreds of civilians plan to monitor what they fear will be a military takeover of Texas.

Right Wing Watch: AFA’s Tony Perkins says we should stop saying ‘God Bless America’ after marriage equality ruling.

USA Today: Cincinnati police chief pursues hate crime charges in beating of white man.

Wisconsin State Journal: Man with ‘antigovernment’ views, mental issues intended to assassinate Obama with slingshot and ball bearings.

Wonkette: ‘Fitness and Liberty’ gun lovers hawking rainbow flags to use as targets.

Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN): Alleged white supremacist faces weapons-possession charges.

Media Matters: Rush Limbaugh attacks civil rights legend John Lewis for ‘living in the past’ by celebrating removal of Confederate flag.

Associated Press: South Carolina’s Confederate flag is gone, but the symbol remains woven into many other displays.

Hypocrisy From the League of the South on the Confederate Battle Flag

By Hatewatch Staff on July 10, 2015 - 8:59 am, Posted in Neo-Confederate

With the South Carolina House of Representatives voting to remove the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the Statehouse this morning, further outrage from the League of the South (LOS), a neo-Confederate hate group, can be expected.

Since the announcement that South Carolina would be taking that vote and the news that Alabama had decided to remove the flag from its own Capitol grounds, the neo-secessionist group has been making a show of feeling sorry for itself. Complaining that Southern whites and their symbols are suffering a “cultural genocide,” the LOS has even drawn comparisons between criticism of the flag and ISIS’s destruction of historical landmarks in Iraq and Syria.

So why were leaders from the LOS calling for the Confederate battle flag to be confined to museums more than a year ago?

“The Confederate Battle Flag IS a traditional symbol of the Southern people. It belongs in a museum alongside other relics and artifacts of the Confederacy,” wrote Brad Griffin, founder of the white nationalist blog Occidental Dissent and a major LOS organizer, last year. “It should only be displayed at ceremonial occasions or at heritage related events.”

“In the last fifty years, the Confederate Battle Flag has been debauched as a symbol and has taken on a negative meaning which it didn’t have half a century ago,” Griffin continued. “It has become a ‘redneck pride’ symbol. It is worn on tacky bikinis by tasteless women.”

The hate group even suspended the use of that “redneck pride symbol” at its events nearly two years ago in a calculated attempt to make the LOS’s public face less extreme and more approachable to potential recruits. To the chagrin of many of its members, the organization also switched to a new white flag with a black St. Andrew’s cross of its own design, deemed the Southern Nationalist flag.

But with the controversy that erupted around moving the Confederate battle flag to a museum, as was suggested by Griffin, the hypocrites at the LOS have wasted no time pulling a 180 into full victim mode.

In the words of Michael Hill, president of the LOS, on the group’s website, “The Confederate battle flag, along with our other cultural icons, is not merely an historical banner that represents the South. It is a shorthand symbol of our very ethnic identity as a distinct people-Southerners.”

That “redneck pride symbol” adorning the bikinis of “tasteless women” all across the South has, apparently, become the immutable core of Southern identity once again.

Threats Over Confederate Flag Even as it Comes Down in SC

By Don Terry on July 9, 2015 - 11:01 am, Posted in Neo-Confederate

Early this morning, after weeks of public protest and more than 10 hours of emotional debate that began Wednesday, the South Carolina House of Representatives voted to permanently remove the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the Statehouse.

But elsewhere, the civil war over the flags carried by the armies and night riders defending slavery, Jim Crow and current-day forms of white nationalism is far from over — and it’s turning ugly.

In Danville, the small Virginia city known as the last capital of the Confederacy, an African-American member of the City Council says that an anonymous would-be blackmailer threatened Tuesday “to destroy my character if I continue” calling for the removal of the Confederate flag that has flown on city-owned property since the mid-1990s.

The councilman, Lawrence Campbell Jr., says the FBI is investigating the threat and local authorities have offered to provide police protection to his family.

Campbell says there is a “hit list” that includes the names of two other black elected officials and “I’m number one on the list.”

“But there’s no way in the world,” Campbell told Hatewatch Wednesday afternoon, “that I’m going to let any 21st century, masked night riders intimidate me through cyber-terrorism. They can kiss my black Bible.

“There’s no way in the world,” he continued, “that I will back down.”

The Danville Register & Bee reports that the group threatening to discredit Campbell and “two other men in Virginia with repercussions if they continue to seek the removal of Confederate flags” is called “Anonymous CSA.”

CSA usually stands for Confederate States of America. The Danville Chief of police, Phillip Broadfoot, did not immediately respond to Hatewatch seeking comment.

Campbell learned of the blackmail threat late Tuesday afternoon. He says he was notified by Chief Broadfoot just three hours before a City Council meeting that a “package that could damage my career” had arrived at the station. While the fate of the flag was not on the official council agenda for Tuesday, everyone in the city of about 45,000 residents along the banks of the Dan River knew it would be a hot topic and that Campbell would undoubtedly have something to say about it.

“They [the alleged blackmailer] knew if they could shut me up,” Campbell says, “they would have more clout. They were saying to me Tuesday night that they would do a number on me and my family. It hurt me. I’m not perfect. I shed a few tears and then I turned to Scripture: ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.’”

Bringing down the Confederate flag has been a years-long struggle in Danville. Last year, Campbell, the son of prominent and longtime Danville civil rights activists, was part of the effort to have the flag taken down and placed, not in a dustbin where many believe it belongs, but inside the local history museum where it currently flies out front.

Campbell says he spoke for an hour on the council floor, urging his colleagues to order the flag down. It was a lost cause. The city council voted 7-to-2 to do nothing.

But the battle cry to lower once and for all what is perhaps the most blatant symbol of the nation’s ongoing struggle with white supremacy and racial injustice was renewed in Danville and across the South after the Charleston church massacre in June and the discovery of photographs of the alleged gunman, Dylann Storm Roof, posing with a pistol and a Confederate battle flag.

“The old system still in place,” Campbell told Hatewatch, “wants to keep the Confederate flag flying as a symbol of racism, as a symbol of white supremacy, as a symbol of women and blacks not having the right to vote.

“And we’re saying no.”

Campbell spoke at the Tuesday night council meeting, advocating that the flag be removed. He also told the audience of about 70 people, some wearing Confederate battle flag patches on the back of their jackets, that he was being threatened and blackmailed.

The council took no action on the flag Tuesday and the city say there is nothing local officials can do because taking it down would require a change in state law.

The flag that flies on government property in Danville and insults and hurts so many of the city’s black – and white – residents is not the well-known battle flag. It is the Third National flag of the Confederate States of America and waves from a pole attached to a simple cement monument to the Confederate dead.

The Danville chapter of the Heritage Preservation Association (HPA), which, in the words of ThinkProgress, “ardently supports the Confederate flag as a supposed symbol of cultural heritage,” pushed hard to have monument and flag installed in 1995 in front of the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History. The HPA is the organization that coined the phrase “Heritage not Hate,” a sign of seeming moderation. But several years ago, in a revealing moment, its then-Alabama leader Linda Sewell was photographed accepting a certificate of appreciation from the leader of the Aryan Nations Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. ( continue to full post… )

Hatewatch Headlines 7/9/15

By Hatewatch Staff on July 9, 2015 - 9:41 am, Posted in Hatewatch Headlines

Salon: Why the ‘paranoid style’ of Alex Jones and his Jade Helm fantasies aren’t going away – and why that’s scary.

Tulsa World: Feds wrap up Aryan Brotherhood methamphetamine case with 11 plea deals.

Talking Points Memo: White supremacist Don Black starts legal defense fund after FBI visit related to Dylann Roof.

Mashable: Muslim groups raise $300,000 and counting to help rebuild black Christian churches.

Media Matters: NRA claims ‘race-baiting’ mainstream media puts on a ‘modern-day minstrel show’ that push negative stereotypes of black gun owners.

Right Wing Watch: Ann Coulter tells Republicans to ‘drive up the white vote; that’s your base.’

AlterNet: Why dropping the Confederate flag is an existential threat to a large bloc of the conservative movement.

Hatewatch Headlines 7/8/15

By Hatewatch Staff on July 8, 2015 - 8:46 am, Posted in Hatewatch Headlines

Right Wing Watch: Oath Keepers’ Stewart Rhodes warns that government is planning to unleash ISIS attacks and race war, impose martial law.

The Trace: Guns are now the weapons of choice for white supremacists.

Raw Story: How the League of the South’s white supremacist leader became the go-to expert on defending the Confederate flag.

Arizona Republic: Ex-Minuteman leader Chris Simcox defends his desire to cross-examine young victims in child molestation trial.

Salon: How the plague of angry white men with guns was fueled by the toxic culture of white nationalism.

Talking Points Memo: Protesters at Arizona Wal-Mart clash over Confederate flag.

Miami Herald: Infamous Internet hatemonger Don Black has an unlikely suburban South Florida address.

Two South Carolina Senators Who Voted Against Removing the Flag Have Long History of Racist Ties

By Hatewatch Staff on July 7, 2015 - 3:40 pm, Posted in Neo-Confederate, Racism, White Nationalism

In the wake of the church massacre that left nine dead in South Carolina, the state Senate voted by an overwhelming majority to remove the Confederate Battle flag from the Capitol.

And while a swell of opponents to that decision have held rallies in support of the Confederate flag across the South, some leading to violent clashes, support for the flag in the halls of political power has always run deep.

On the eve of the South Carolina House of Representatives taking up the bill on Wednesday, a look at Sens. Lee Bright and Danny Verdin III, two of the three senators who voted against removing the Confederate battle flag from the South Carolina Statehouse, shows why the change is so hard for some.

For them, it’s not heritage. It’s a deep and abiding association with the radical right. And after examining both Verdin and Bright’s past, it’s not difficult to see why both voted against removing the Confederate flag.

Sen. Lee Bright 

Lee BrightElected in 2008, Senator Bright has a deep history of ties to racists and neo-Confederate southern nationalists.

In May, 2009, Bright spoke at a “Rally for Sovereignty” held at the state house, where he shared the dais with Roan Garcia-Quintana, a white nationalist. A year before he shared the stage with Bright, Garcia-Quintana spoke at the national conference of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), the group responsible for inspiring Dylann Roof, according to the gunman’s assumed manifesto posted online just before the shootings.

At a 2012 “Day of Resistance Rally” in Greenville, Bright claimed that the U.S. Supreme Court could dissolve the states if it desired. He has said immigrants should “self-deport,” asserted that able-bodied people who rely on food stamps “shouldn’t eat,” and accused U.S. Sen. Lindsay Graham of being a community organizer for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Bright also advocated abolishing the Internal Revenue Service, which he claims President Obama has trained as “Brown Shirts” to enforce the Affordable Care Act. Spurred on by such ideas, he has promoted the idea of reigniting the Civil War, wisecracking at one point, “If at first you don’t secede, try again.”

Bright’s perennial campaign manager, Christopher Sullivan, is very active in neo-Confederate circles, too. A former national commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), a Confederate heritage organization, whose ranks have been infiltrated by racists for a number of years, Sullivan is also the former editor of the now defunct Southern Partisan, a controversial neo-Confederate magazine that once depicted antebellum slaves as happy and slave traders as benevolent.

Danny Verdin IIISen. Danny Verdin III

Verdin has served in the South Carolina Senate since 2001, but his defense of the Confederate flag and his associations with hate groups predates his time in office.

In 2000, Verdin was one of the main speakers at a huge “Heritage Celebration” in Columbia, S.C., to defend the flag. At that celebration, Verdin shared the podium with several prominent neo-Confederate hate group leaders as well as white supremacist Kirk Lyons, a white supremacist lawyer who co-founded and serves as “the chief trial counsel” for the Southern Legal Resource Center. More than 6,000 people attended, many in period dress. Activists also unfurled on the Statehouse steps what is said to be the largest Confederate battle flag in existence — a huge piece of cloth owned by the CCC.

That same year, Verdin spoke at a large neo-Confederate gathering in Montgomery, Ala., sharing the event with Michael Hill, longtime president of the hate group League of the South (LOS) who was the opening speaker.

Despite the repeated reports of his ties to extremist groups, all of which he denied, Verdin was elected to the South Carolina Senate in 2000. But shortly after, an email written by Christopher Sullivan appeared on the LOS website asking for donations for Verdin’s campaign. Despite those attempts to distance himself from his extremist ties, the LOS supported Verdin.

Verdin also has promoted an anti-immigrant agenda during his time in office. He served as a member of State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI), a coalition of anti-immigrant state lawmakers brought together by the anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

FAIR’s legal arm helped to draft anti-immigrant legislation and the lawmakers in the SLLI coalition, then introduced it in their states. At an SLLI event at the National Press Club, Verdin attacked undocumented immigrants, stating, “It’s just to be poisoned over time or to be sick over a long period of time or to have a sudden lethal dose of poison or something that brings on a calamity. In this case the malady can be cured. It’s not too late.”

Las Vegas Man Threatens President, Members of Congress While Inquiring About Fertilizer Bombs

By Bill Morlin on July 7, 2015 - 1:55 pm, Posted in Antigovernment, Extremist Crime, Patriot
Tyrone Paul Ponthieux. (Facebook)

Tyrone Paul Ponthieux. (Facebook)

A Las Vegas man who apparently posted dire warnings about a forthcoming U.S. military exercise is in federal custody, charged with threatening to kill President Obama and members of Congress.

Tyrone Paul Ponthieux, 55, of Las Vegas, was arrested by agents assigned to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force after he allegedly made inquiries about obtaining a quantity of ammonium nitrate – a chemical fertilizer used for the deadly 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City.

“Ponthieux also made a statement that he may be killed, but not before he takes out a few of them first,” according to a federal complaint unsealed Friday in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas.

Ponthieux is charged with making threats against Obama, possession with the intent to distribute marijuana and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

He is being held without bond and is scheduled to return to court later this week for a preliminary hearing, but that was postponed under a court-filed agreement between prosecutors and a court-appointed public defender.

“The parties are engaged in plea negotiations and require additional time to try to resolve the case in lieu of indictment or a preliminary hearing,” a court filing says.

Charging documents show that the FBI became aware of Ponthieux last November after a series of posting to Facebook.

“I think we all need to get our guns and shoot all of these out of control congressmen and senators and Obama!” Ponthieux wrote. “Any survivors, hang them, then try their dead bodies for High treason! … Then after they hang in the streets for a week, run over them, then to the tree chipper to finish the job and use them for fertilizer for Monsanto’s GMO bullshits, then feed it to Monsanto fucktards …”

When the FBI later interviewed Ponthieux, he “admitted to posting several death threats” directed at members of Congress and the President over the past few months, court documents say.

“Ponthieux said he made the threats because he was very angry and frustrated with the United States government” which he believes “no longer supports the American people and feels that it is President Obama’s fault,” the charging document said.

Ponthieux also told agents he “used methamphetamine approximately once a week” and that he had a supply of marijuana in his home. No explosives were found in a search of the residence, but agents did seize two pistols and five rifles, including an AR-15 military-style assault rifle that Ponthieux was holding while posing with a Humvee in a Facebook photo.

In another Facebook posting two days before he was interviewed by the FBI, Ponthieux ranted about Jade Helm, and linked to an antigovernment conspiracy site.

Its headline read: “Military Lied! Jade Helm is Training to Kill Patriots, Gun Owners, Dissidents! National Guard Labels Americans as ‘Enemy’ or ‘Adversaries!’ The Biggest Build up of Military on U.S. Soil!”

The training exercise, scheduled to start July 15 across seven states, is the latest hot-button topic for antigovernment conspiracy mongers who are advancing a plethora of wild-eyed theories about the “real reasons” for the operation.

Hatewatch Headlines 7/7/15

By Hatewatch Staff on July 7, 2015 - 10:50 am, Posted in Hatewatch Headlines


New York Times: White supremacists extend their reach through websites such as Don Black’s Stormfront.

Think Progress: Why white Americans don’t think the Charleston massacre qualifies as a case of domestic terrorism.

The Hill: Six prominent Senate Democrats want an investigation of the state of domestic terrorism in America.

Right Wing Watch: Ted Cruz and Glenn Beck totally agree that America is facing imminent destruction.

Talking Points Memo: South Carolina state senator’s crazy floor speech defending the Confederate flag covers it all.

Anniston Star: Community activist says he complained two years ago about police officer recently fired for KKK ties.

NewsMic: Arkansas KKK chapter is planning a Labor Day rally complete with a nursery for infants and toddlers.

Salon: Jim Crow and the Ku Klux Klan don’t even merit mention in conservative Texans’ new version of history.