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

Bombing Suspect Reportedly Did Not Target NAACP

By Don Terry on February 23, 2015 - 9:10 am, Posted in Crime

Federal authorities arrested a financially troubled 44-year-old carpenter last week in connection with an explosion in Colorado Springs, Colo., last month outside a building that housed an office of the NAACP.

But it appears the venerable civil rights organization was not the target of the blast as some initially feared.

Thaddeus MurphyThe suspect, Thaddeus Murphy of Colorado Springs, reportedly told investigators after he was taken into custody on Feb. 19 that he was targeting a tax preparation business that shared the single-story building with the NAACP at the time of the explosion — around 10:45 in the morning of Jan. 6.

In an affidavit, a federal agent said Murphy confessed to setting off a pipe bomb at the building in a dispute with his accountant over his tax records. “Murphy stated he ‘flipped out,’” the affidavit said, “because of his financial problems.”

On Friday, according to ABC News, a judge ordered Murphy held without bond pending a hearing scheduled for this Wednesday.

The explosion knocked items off the walls of the NAACP office and rattled nerves and churned up imagines and memories of the past. Over the decades, the NAACP has often been a target of violence. In a Tweet hours after the explosion, Cornell Brooks, the president of the NAACP, said, “Thankfully no one was hurt in a suspicious explosion at our Colorado Spring #NAACP office. We remain vigilant.”

Adding to the uncertainty and fear that the NAACP might have been the target immediately following the blast was the description of a suspect seen leaving the scene — a heavyset, middle-aged white man in a white truck.

Murphy told investigators that he placed the small pipe bomb near his accountant’s office as a warning, according to the affidavit. He said his accountant refused to return his tax records from 2006 to the present. He said he had once declared bankruptcy and needed his records “because of his financial issues.”

According to the affidavit, when investigators searched Murphy’s home they discovered a pistol, several rifles, two shotguns, fuse and 3½ pounds of commercially available binary explosives.

This is not Murphy’s first run-in with the law. The affidavit said he has a criminal record that includes felony theft, felony burglary and fraud by check and in 2009 he was sentenced to five years in prison for theft.

Hatewatch Headlines 2-23-15

By Hatewatch Staff on February 23, 2015 - 9:01 am, Posted in Hatewatch Headlines

Salon: In celebrating Lincoln’s death, the hate-filled face of the most demented corners of the far right reveals itself.

JoeMyGod: White supremacists from League of the South join rally in Alabama against marriage equality.

Right Wing Watch: Richard Mack warns that ‘bloodshed’ may be needed if ‘state sovereignty’ is to be preserved.

Talking Points Memo: California mass killer Elliot Rodger researched Nazis, Hitler before embarking on rampage.

Think Progress: Congressman claims immigrants are netting $24,000 each from Obama’s immigration action.

Raw Story: Ax-wielding man who believed he was doing ‘God’s work’ burns down Michigan adult store.

Times-Picayune (New Orleans): Bobby Jindal to travel to Israel next fall with Tony Perkins’ anti-LGBT hate group.

FBI Arrests West Virginia Man Who ‘Hated Government’ for Plotting to Blow Up Courthouse, Other Targets

By David Neiwert on February 20, 2015 - 8:46 am, Posted in Antigovernment, Domestic Terrorism

A West Virginia man who authorities say “regularly espouses venomous anti-government, anti-law enforcement rhetoric” was arrested on Valentine’s Day on charges of possessing stolen explosives that he allegedly intended to use in attacks on a federal courthouse, a local festival, and a bank.

Jonathan Leo Schrader

Jonathan Leo Schrader

Jonathan Leo Schrader, 30, of Elkins, was arrested by FBI agents on Feb. 14 after a search warrant for his home revealed a bomb cache that included C-4 explosive compound and a half-stick of dynamite.

According to the West Virginia MetroNews, the investigation began when a cooperating witness began alerting sheriff’s deputies to Schrader’s activities, which included obtaining C-4 from a juvenile whose father had used the compound on a job. The witness also told deputies that Schrader had blown up a stump with some of the C-4, had altered an AK-47 to fire automatically, and had left a fake pipe bomb near police barracks in order to gauge their response.

Schrader intended to use the C-4 to blow up the Jennings Randolph Federal Center in Elkins, the witness said, as well as to attack the crowd at the local Mountain State Forest Festival, which is held every fall in the town. On another occasion, Schrader told the man he wanted to blow a hole in the wall of a local bank to get at its money, according to the FBI affidavit.

The man also intended to use a sniper rifle to shoot first responders at the scenes of the explosions, according to the witness, who also regularly relayed information about the man’s hatred of the government and law enforcement.

A detention hearing on Friday in Clarksburg was scheduled by U.S. Magistrate Judge John S. Kaull, who ordered Schrader held in the U.S. Marshals’ custody until the hearing. It was not clear if Schrader had an attorney.

Hatewatch Headlines 2-20-15

By Hatewatch Staff on February 20, 2015 - 8:37 am, Posted in Hatewatch Headlines

Slate: White-nationalist National Policy Institute to host confab at D.C.’s National Press Club on same weekend as CPAC.

Wall Street Journal: Then there’s the violent extremism the White House doesn’t want to talk about.

Huffington Post: Conservative gay-rights group excluded from CPAC yet again.

Right Wing Watch: Allen West says he isn’t a conspiracy theorist, he just wants to know why Obama helps America’s enemies.

Miami Herald: Hate messages appear on homes, fences and mailboxes in Miami Gardens.

Media Matters: Fox News gets duped by yet another bogus anti-gay horror tale spun by noted anti-LGBT hate group.

Talking Points Memo: Tucker Carlson blames bizarre ‘Kill All the Jews’ headline on an editor with a hangover.

Think Progress: Washington state judge tells anti-LGBT florist that her religious beliefs are not an excuse to break the law.

League of the South to Celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s Assassination

By Keegan Hankes on February 19, 2015 - 2:31 pm, Posted in Neo-Confederate

Members of the Maryland-Virginia chapter of the League of the South (LOS) are set to host an event celebrating John Wilkes Booth’s assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

Screen shot from the LOS main Facebook page.

Screen shot from the LOS main Facebook page.

The event, organized by Shane Long, the Vice Chairman of the Maryland-Virginia LOS, is scheduled to take place in Baltimore on April 11th.

“The Maryland-Virginia League of the South commemorates the actions of Mr. John Wilkes Booth of Maryland who, motivated by the tyranny his Southern people faced, answered his calling with courage and fortitude,” states the Facebook page for the event.

The event is just one more example of the type of inflammatory rhetoric that has become the norm during the recent evolution of the LOS from a would-be heritage organization to a full-blown bastion of neo-confederate extremism perhaps best exemplified in September of last year, when a Hatewatch investigation revealed that after a year of regular street demonstrations and activism, LOS leadership had authorized the formation of a paramilitary militia known as the “Indomitables.”

The John Wilkes Booth celebration will be the third event held by LOS in 2015, following a recent demonstration held in Gainesville, Fla. and a protest scheduled in Vidalia, Ga. for late March. Both events have been titled “Immigration Hurts Southern Workers,” a strategy repeatedly utilized by LOS in 2014 in order to appeal to more moderate Southerners, though whether the celebration of the murder of a U.S. president is a “traditional conservative value” remains to be seen.

“This 14th of April will mark the 150th anniversary of John Wilkes Booth’s execution of the tyrant Abraham Lincoln,” wrote LOS president Michael Hill. “A century and a half after the fact,” writes Hill, “The League of the South thanks Mr. Booth for his service to the South and to humanity.”

Simcox Seeks to Act As His Own Attorney in Child-Molestation Trial

By David Neiwert on February 19, 2015 - 2:05 pm, Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Nativist Extremist

Onetime Minuteman leader Chris Simcox has filed papers seeking to act as his own attorney in his upcoming trial in Phoenix on child-molestation charges, raising the prospect that he could wind up cross-examining his own alleged young victims on the stand.

Simcox was arrested in July 2013 and accused of molesting his daughter and her friend at his home on two occasions when the girls were ages 6 and 5, respectively. Both are now in their preteens. The charges are all felonies, and if convicted, Simcox could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Chris-Simcox-HatewtachInvoking the 1975 Supreme Court ruling in Faretta v. California, Simcox on Feb. 12 filed a request with Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Jose Padilla saying that, “after conferring with his assigned attorneys in this matter,” he “invokes his right to represent himself for all further proceedings, including the jury trial set in this matter for March 2, 2015.”

Simcox has been in prison since his arrest, and the trial has been delayed multiple times, largely at Simcox’s request, as he has gone through multiple defense attorneys in the case.

Simcox is known nationally for his role as one of the two founders of the Minuteman movement, an array of armed groups that patrolled the southern border looking to apprehend migrants illegally crossing into the United States. Among other things, he became known for ridiculous statements like his claim to have seen Chinese Army soldiers massing at the American border.

Prosecutors had requested another delay in the trial earlier this month, explaining that the lead prosecutor in the case was currently in court with another case. However, Judge Padilla denied that request, so the trial is currently scheduled to begin as scheduled on March 2. However, a pretrial conference on Monday, at which Simcox and Judge Padilla are expected to establish ground rules in his attempt to represent himself, could change that schedule yet again.

According to the documents filed by prosecutors in the case, Simcox “is alleged to have digitally penetrated his biological daughter’s [vagina] on two occasions, penetrated her vagina with an object on [one] occasion and to have fondled the genitals of his daughter’s friend on two occasions.” He has also been charged with providing harmful materials to a minor.

Prosecutors at one time had offered Simcox a generous plea deal that would have given him a 10-year sentence. However, according to Stephen Lemons of the Phoenix New Times, the spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office said the offer had been taken off the table.

Earlier filings made by Simcox’s attorneys suggested that he might attempt a defense based on claims that he was targeted for prosecution because of his high political and media profile. He also appeared to be claiming that the charges against him were based on evidence from a daughter who was subject to “parental alienation” because of a “contentious divorce.” The judge hearing the case at the time warned Simcox that he could not plan an attempting a “grand conspiracy” defense.

As the SPLC reported in 2005, Simcox was accused by his first wife of molesting another daughter when she was a teenager, though no complaint was ever made to police. His second wife also sought custody of their teenage son because, she said, Simcox had become violent and unpredictable. His third wife — the mother of his current accuser — took out a restraining order against Simcox in 2010 when she divorced him.

Hatewatch Headlines 2-19-15

By Hatewatch Staff on February 19, 2015 - 8:38 am, Posted in Hatewatch Headlines

Phoenix New Times: White supremacists target Arizona State professor and his family over his ‘whiteness’ course.

Talking Points Memo: President Obama mentions killing of Muslim students in North Carolina during speech on extremism.

Washington Post: Threatening ‘white power’ letters appear at a Connecticut police department with a history of racial tensions.

USA Today: Parents, students decry appearance of ‘white power’ signs, racial slurs at Texas prep basketball game.

Right Wing Watch: ALIPAC’s William Gheen warns that Obama will give immigrants ‘badges and guns’ to go after ‘Christian, heterosexual male’ populace.

Associated Press: Michigan man at bus stop asks two others if they are Muslim, then assaults them with a knife.

Think Progress: Business community silent as Arkansas bill to allow anti-LGBT discrimination set to become law.

Accused Houston Arsonist May Have Had Anti-Muslim Motive

By Don Terry on February 18, 2015 - 4:45 pm, Posted in Anti-Muslim, Extremist Crime

He hated Muslims.

They got what they deserved.

Things happen for a reason.

Those were the chilling words and sentiments the homeless man charged in the arson fire of a Houston mosque allegedly told a convenience store clerk shortly after part of the house of worship went up in flames Friday morning around 5:30.

The office of the Harris County District Attorney revealed the alleged statement yesterday evening when the suspect, 55-year-old Darryl Ferguson, made his first court appearance in the case, according to KPRC 2.

“He told a nearby convenience store clerk,” a court official said yesterday during Ferguson’s probable cause hearing, “that he hated Muslims, they got what they deserved, and things happen for a reason.”

Despite Ferguson’s alleged statements, the arson that heavily damaged a portion of the Quba Islamic Institute mosque and school in a residential neighborhood of Houston has not been classified as a hate crime. “It’s still under investigation,” Jeff McShan, a spokesman for the Harris County District Attorney, told Hatewatch today. “Who knows if that guy [the store clerk] is telling the truth?”

Ferguson, who has a lengthy criminal record, was arrested Monday evening after he approached arson investigators who were canvassing the neighborhood near the mosque. The authorities said Ferguson had been staying in the area and confessed to setting the fire, claiming it was accidental and he was simply trying to stay warm.

He has been charged with first-degree arson and faces from five to 99 years in prison if convicted. He is being held without bond.

McShan, the district attorney spokesman, said even if it turns out that Ferguson actually said those chilling words of hate to the store clerk he would not be charged with a hate crime because he has already been charged with the highest level of offense. In Texas, McShan said, a hate crime offense adds one degree to a charge “and he’s already at first degree and he wouldn’t be moved up.”

McShan said Ferguson’s alleged words, however, could be used against him at trial to establish guilt.

No one was injured in the blaze that took about two dozen firefighters roughly an hour to knock down. One of the three buildings – primarily used for storage – that comprise the mosque and school complex was gutted.

A telephone call to the mosque for comment today about Ferguson’s alleged statement was not returned.

Illinois Woman With Neo-Nazi Leanings Charged in Canadian Mass Murder Plot

By David Neiwert on February 18, 2015 - 8:28 am, Posted in Domestic Terrorism, Extremist Crime, Neo-Nazi

A young woman from Illinois with an apparent taste for neo-Nazi symbolism and white-supremacist beliefs was one of two people arrested last week in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for plotting to commit a mass murder at a Halifax mall on Valentine’s Day.

Lindsay Kanittha Souvannarath, a 23-year-old from Geneva, Ill., was arrested along with Randall Steven Shepherd, 20, of Halifax, at the local airport after she had flown in to meet him there. According to authorities, she confessed to the plot shortly after her arrest.

Lindsay Kanittha Souvannarath and Randall Shepherd Chicago Sun-Times/Facebook

Lindsay Kanittha Souvannarath and Randall Shepherd
Chicago Sun-Times/Facebook

A young man associated with the plot, James Gamble, 19, of nearby Timberlea, Nova Scotia, shot himself in the head as police surrounded his home on Friday morning. A fourth young man was arrested with Shepherd at the Halifax airport and then released after police determined he had nothing to do with the plot.

Canadian authorities said the trio planned to invade a local mall on Valentine’s Day, armed to the teeth, and begin killing as many people there as they could. However, all of the officials involved insisted that it was not a terrorist act, since there was no “cultural” component to the plotters’ motives.

“The attack does not appear to have been culturally motivated, therefore not linked to terrorism,” Justice Minister Peter Mackay told assembled reporters at a press conference devoted to the case on Saturday.

However, several Canadian media outlets have questioned this, including Halifax blogger Robert Cevet and Derrick O’Keefe at Ricochet Media, noting that several of the would-be perpetrators, notably Souvannarath, had clear ideological affinities that seemed to motivate them — far-right affinities.

The website Political Gates collected a number of Souvannarath’s online postings from over the years, dating back to when she was a teenager, and found a long list of images and posts that made clear that she advocated fascist and neo-Nazi ideologies, and similarly was a fan of mass violence and fantasized about it.

selection_426These images included one that she dubbed “me taking notes in class” that was a classic “White Power” logo complete with a swastika and SS symbol. Another photo shows an arm with the bloody words “White Power” carved into it with a razor. Other images include fascist flags over America and young men posing in a swastika shape with their arms. One features Adolf Hitler surrounded by prancing cartoon ponies.

The Internet sleuths at the site Kiwi Farms, where she had at one time been an active member, further tracked Souvanarrath’s activities and ascertained that she had also been an active member at a forum devoted to fascist ideology called Iron March, which is apparently operated by a man named Alexander Slavros.

Nor was Souvannarath the only member of the trio with such leanings. James Gamble’s online postings also included a fascination with mass killings, and some of his Tumblr blog posts contained admiring references to Hitler and Nazis.

Both Souvannarth and Shepherd were initially charged with conspiracy to commit murder. On Tuesday, additional charges came down against the pair, including conspiracy to commit arson, illegal possession of weapons for a purpose dangerous to the public and making a threat through social media.

Souvannarath graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English and creative writing from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 2014. Her family in Geneva is reportedly cooperating with the investigation.

YouTube Preview Image

A former neighbor, Eva Schooley, recalled the woman as a young girl. “My granddaughters ran around with Lindsay,” she said. “Lindsay was a little strange. I think at one point she went kind of gothic on us for a while. She liked to dress in black, the whole gothic style.”

In his denials that the planned mass murder was a terrorist event, Justice Minister Mackay remarked: “An individual that would so recklessly and with bloody intent plot to do something like this I would suggest would also be susceptible to being motivated by groups like ISIS and others. This is the main concern — that any individual in Canada, whatever their motivation or proclivities might be, would also be susceptible to being recruited or radicalized.”

Clearly, these young people had indeed been radicalized, but not by ISIS.

Hatewatch Headlines 2-18-15

By Hatewatch Staff on February 18, 2015 - 8:14 am, Posted in Hatewatch Headlines

Everett (WA) Herald: Hindus say vandals who hit their temple with swastika, graffiti ‘have no idea what we stand for.’

Idaho Statesman: Boise woman arrested for assaulting Jewish woman, demanding she convert to Christianity.

El Paso Times: Police investigate possible anti-Muslim vandalism after tires slashed on cars.

Daily Beast: Will Obama next be targeting only Muslim extremists, or will he look in our own back yards?

WKOW-TV (Madison, WI): Police chief addresses Jewish community after anti-Semitic, pro-KKK graffiti sprayed on dozens of homes in Madison.

Salon: From nipples to militias to religious zealotry, here are 10 bizarre bills Montana’s Tea-Party legislators are promoting.

Talking Points Memo: Ben Carson says that Obama may be ‘guilty of treason’ if the DHS is shut down.

Raw Story: Texas students flash ‘White Power’ signs during basketball game against mostly black school.