The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
A veteran sheriff’s deputy who, until a couple of days ago, investigated property crimes in Bibb County, Ga., was arrested and fired Wednesday for allegedly trying to commit a property crime of his own that came straight out of the antigovernment “sovereign citizen” handbook of scams and schemes.
The deputy, Albert Gordon Murray, 53, was seen last week, according to The Telegraph, changing the locks on a vacant $140,000 house he did not own after allegedly filing false liens and possession affidavits for the property – standard operating procedure for sovereign citizen real estate hustles. Sovereigns generally believe the government has no authority over them, and they are given to a variety of financial schemes including the seizure of homes that don’t belong to them.
A real estate agent with a prospective buyer in tow arrived at the house while Murray was still there, fiddling with the locks. Murray showed the agent a document. He said it was an “affidavit of possession,” Bibb County Sheriff David Davis told Hatewatch Friday afternoon, adding the agent was immediately suspicious, saying to himself, “Wait a minute, this ain’t right.”
The sheriff said as the agent was studying the bogus document, Murray pulled the client to the side and brazenly offered to sell him the house for $60,000 – a real steal, in more ways than one. As Murray drove away, the agent jotted down the plate number on the deputy’s unmarked government vehicle and notified authorities. “He’s out there in an unmarked sheriff’s car, conducting this business,” Davis said. “It’s disheartening.”
A few days later, Murray and three associates – Dimitrious Brown, 33, Clifford Greene, 58 and Lemroyal James, 51 – were in handcuffs, charged with making false statements and writings. Murray was also charged with violating his oath as a lawman and was fired.
When they were arrested, the sheriff said, “they all professed these sovereign citizen ideals about they’re not part of this government, they’re not bound by our laws.”
One of the men even refused to sign his fingerprint card, declaring, “I don’t do this. I’m not part of your laws.”
Davis’ former deputy did not go nearly as far in his sovereign citizen pronouncements. “The other three were pretty resolute in what they were saying,” the sheriff said. “But I think they were all more in it for the scam and the houses than the ideology.”
Davis told The Telegraph that one of the men was arrested while “filing a lien at the courthouse” and authorities have reportedly found at least four other houses in the area that the men allegedly claimed as their own in a similar fraudulent fashion.
Investigators, Davis told Hatewatch, suspect the men may have filed phony liens on upward of two dozen properties in Bibb and in two adjoining counties. “It was sort of a big operation,” he said.
Murray had been in law enforcement for years before his colleagues locked him up. He joined the police force in Macon, Ga., in 2001 and became a Bibb County deputy sheriff in 2014, when the departments merged.
Davis said that during his days in the Macon police department, Murray had ties to the Nuwaubian Nation of Moors. That group was originally a putatively Muslim organization from Brooklyn, N.Y., that evolved into a cult, preaching not a “theology” but “factology,” mixing black supremacist ideas with worship of the Egyptians and their pyramids and a belief in UFOs.
In 1993, a large group of true believers moved from New York to a 476-acre spread in Putnam County, Ga., northeast of Bibb County. The Moors were led by an ex-con named Dwight York, who lived in a mansion on the property while his followers lived in cheap trailers. He charged them $25 a year for Nuwaubian “passports” that allowed them to get on and off the property.
As many as 400 other followers – also Nuwaubians – lived in the surrounding area. The group set up a network of chapters and bookstores called All Eyes on Egipt and members raised money through begging and holding jobs, including in the post office and in area fire and police departments.
The former deputy, the sheriff said, “was a member of the sect.”
In 2004, York was sentenced to 135 years in prison for molesting a huge number of children, among other crimes. That same year, according to The Telegraph, seven Macon police officers, supporters of York, resigned, saying police and government officials were ignoring new evidence of York’s innocence.
The police chief at the time, Rodney Monroe, told the paper that he did not want the officers to resign and each one had “served the department and city well.”
Davis said Murray and one other officer associated with the Moors refused to join the mass resignation and “the other guys got mad at them and kicked them out of the club so to speak.”
The year before, three suspected Nuwaubians were taken into custody after allegedly filing a bogus $283 million lien against U.S. Postal Service bank accounts and property. The police said the men then created fake checks – they called them “certified tender of payment certificates” – and tried to use them to buy two luxury houses in Decatur.
Authorities said the men, two of whom worked for the postal service, intended to sell the homes and use the cash to purchase land in Bibb County to establish a new home for the cult.
While their numbers have dwindled dramatically since the cult leader went to prison, Davis said there are still Nuwaubians in the area. “And,” he said, “they still believe in some of that ideology.”
The League of the South (LOS) appears to be having an identity crisis. As the two-year anniversary of the neo-Confederate hate group’s abrupt tactical shift towards well-dressed and well-mannered street demonstrations approaches, LOS President Michael Hill’s latest column marks one more chapter in the collapse of what quickly revealed itself to be a laughably transparent façade of respectability.
The time has come, at least in Hill’s mind, to ponder what he believes is the real possibility of a race war. Apparently, he likes his odds.
“We Southern nationalists do not want a race war (or any sort of war). But if one is forced on us, we’ll participate,” wrote Hill on the LOS website. “Southern whites are geared up and armed to the teeth.”
Such statements may come as a shock, given the fact that the LOS has spent much of the last two years attempting to promote its message to “regular” southerners through the use of mainstream, conservative messaging on issues such as “traditional marriage” and the “demographic displacement of southerners.” Of course, that was never a very honest presentation. After all, Hill is the same man who at a Georgia LOS meeting in 2011 urged his constituents to begin stocking up on AK-47s, hollow-point bullets, and, most remarkably, tools to derail trains.
Then, last year, Hatewatch revealed that the LOS was actively — and secretly — training a uniformed, paramilitary unit to be called the ‘Indomitables’ that was tasked with advancing a second southern secession.
Hill’s latest piece, which appeared in the wake of nearly a week of demonstrations and rioting in the Baltimore area following the death of Freddie Gray in police custody, focuses on the myriad advantages of the angry white man in a potential race war. The reason, asserts Hill, is the white man’s innate superiority.
“Negroes are more impulsive than whites,” says Hill, who once taught at a historically black university in Alabama. “Tenacity and organization are not the negroes [sic] strong suits. If the war could be won by ferocity alone, he might have a chance. But like the adrenaline rush that sparks it, ferocity is short lived. And it can be countered by cool discipline, an historic white trait, and all that stems from it.”
The race war Hill imagines is nothing more than fear-mongering in the style of the late neo-Nazi William Pierce’s novel The Turner Diaries. That book depicted a race war in which whites murder Jews, black people, “race-mixers” and a host of others in order to build an “Aryan” state. Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was carrying photocopied pages from the dystopian novel when he was arrested, apparently to explain his motives in case he were to be killed by police.
Hill seems to revel in the details of the bloodshed he thinks may be imminent.
“Things would begin to get interesting once the widespread terror spread out to the suburbs,” he writes in his new essay. “The most likely flashpoints would be white owned suburban businesses or neighborhoods where armed men and women stood ready to defend themselves. At this point white discipline, resources, and firepower would start to become a factor; however, would American suburbanites, after decades of PC brainwashing, have the will to fight back in sufficient number to quell the black tide?”
Hill also throws in a little of his increasingly apparent anti-Semitism. Following his recent posting of an essay by the disgraced former professor and anti-Semitic ideologue Kevin MacDonald in a LOS Facebook group, Hill now suggests that one of the South’s main problems is “Jewry” and what he depicts as the Jewish-controlled media. “ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and other largely Jewish-Progressive owned media would doubtless fan the flames, justifying black behavior while conversely condemning white reaction,” Hill writes as he contemplates the difficulties that will face the white man.
Hill goes on to fantasize about the end of “white guilt,” a common theme among neo-Nazis and others on the radical right. “American negroes, and those Jew/Gentile Progressives who supported their lawless behavior for decades, would have used up whatever ‘civil rights’ capital they may have accumulated with average white Americans (and perhaps many Asians and Hispanics),” he writes as he describes what is pictured as the ultimate victory of whites in the South.
When reached by telephone, Hill declined to comment.
Hill ends his essay with a warning that sounds very much like a threat: “So if negroes think a ‘race war’ in modern America would be to their advantage, they had better prepare themselves for a very rude awakening. White people may be patient, but our patience does have a limit. You do not want to test that limit.”
New York Times: Conspiracy theories over Jade Helm training exercise get some traction in Texas.
Right Wing Watch: Rep. Louie Gohmert blames President Obama for those Jade Helm conspiracy theories.
Detroit Free Press: Farmington man charged with ethnic intimidation for threatening Muslim 7-Eleven clerk.
Salon: Texas lawmakers literally can’t clear all the anti-LGBT, anti-woman measures off their desks this session.
Broward-Palm Beach New Times (FL): Republicans hire noted anti-Muslim speaker Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician, for Boca Raton event.
Buzzfeed: Marco Rubio headlines fundraiser for policy group that supports gay ‘conversion’ therapy.
Gawker: Reddit, the home of ‘Coontown,’ promises to celebrate diversity, too.
The ten-minute “debate” descended into little more than a shouting match between Hannity and Choudary – a man who has praised the 9/11 attackers and claims he would renounce his British citizenship to live under ISIS rule. Over the past decade, Choudary’s Al-Muhajiroun network (also known under different names) is responsible for radicalizing countless Muslims in the UK. A 2013 report by the anti-racist organization HOPE not hate, identified over seventy people linked with Choudary’s network who have been convicted of terrorism charges or who have participated in suicide attacks. The report also found that “al-Muhajiroun-connected groups across Europe have sent between 200-300 people to Syria, making it the largest single recruiting network in Europe.”
Choudary told Hannity that he believes Muslims who leave their faith should be subject to capital punishment, and restated his belief that gays and lesbians who “do the act publicly” in front of witnesses should also be subjected to the death penalty.
Geller, the founder of a number of organizations listed by the SPLC as hate groups, used the debate to continue playing the victim – blaming “jihadis” for making the attack at Geller’s Mohammed cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, a “flashpoint.” Geller also claimed she has had to increase her security because President Obama “created an environment that raised the stakes on this” – before citing a previous anti-Muslim event she hosted in 2012 that took place without incident. On a previous appearance on Fox earlier this week, Geller absurdly compared herself to civil rights activist Rosa Parks.
Hannity’s debate not only gave a platform to two extremists, but it also, more disturbingly, succeeded in making Pamela Geller sound rational when compared to Choudary’s rants. The mainstreaming of hate is a very dangerous thing that has very real consequences and Hannity and Fox News should be taken to task for this move. No matter how either figure fared on prime time last night, the fact remains that both Geller and Choudary represent two sides of the same racist coin and giving these figures a platform to express their bigoted views tarnishes efforts to build a more inclusive democracy.
Media Matters: Fox’s Sean Hannity provides a platform for two extremists – Pamela Gellar and Anjem Choudary – to debate.
WTVD-TV (Chapel Hill, NC): Students upset that fellow high-schoolers posted Instagram shot featuring Confederate flag.
Raw Story: Cell phone video captures vicious LGBT-bashing assault of gay couple in New York eatery.
Talking Points Memo: Ben Carson theorizes that the president wouldn’t have to follow Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage.
AlterNet: Garland, Texas, is a hotbed for anti-Muslim bigotry.
San Bernardino Sun (CA): Rialto grandfather dies from baseball-bat attack in apparent black-on-white hate crime.
Right Wing Watch: AFA’s Bryan Fischer demands that Town Hall editor step down after revelation that he’s gay.
FiveThirtyEight: A small handful of people run the majority of anti-Muslim groups in the U.S.
Ian Smith is really, really upset –– or at least he wants us to think so.
A blogger for the conservative National Review, Smith wrote a piece in the wake of last week’s House Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee hearing on birthright citizenship entitled, “How Congressional Democrats Try to Control the Immigration Debate.” In the piece, he bizarrely alleged that Democrats controlled the panel and went on to charge that they had “launched a barrage of personal attacks on an 85-year-old law professor testifying that birthright citizenship is unconstitutional.”
The idea that Democrats controlled the panel is frankly ridiculous. The subcommittee, like the House itself, is controlled by Republicans. And it was the panel’s leadership that stacked last week’s hearing with three out of four witnesses who openly advocate removing the birthright citizenship clause in the 14th Amendment. One of those witnesses, Jon Feere, is a fellow with the anti-immigrant group Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), a “think tank” that puts out hundreds of reports blaming immigrants for America’s ills.
This isn’t the first time the debate has been weighted heavily toward a conservative perspective. At previous hearings on immigration in the House and Senate this year — both of them controlled by the GOP — no fewer than 11 witnesses active in the organized anti-immigrant movement have testified.
And this is not some unforeseen happenstance. Stacking both the House and Senate Judiciary Subcommittees on Immigration has been an objective for the modern anti-immigrant movement and its founder, white nationalist John Tanton, for decades.
In 1986, Tanton distributed a series of secret memos outlining his grand strategy for creating a viable and impactful anti-immigrant movement. In them, he warned of a coming “Latin onslaught” and complained about Latinos’ allegedly low “educability,” as well as discussing his “long-range project” for advancing nativist immigration policies.
“We should make every effort to get legislators sympathetic to our point of view appointed to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, and their Immigration Sub-Committees. Think how much different our prospects would be if someone espousing our ideas had the chairmanship! If we secure the appointment of our people as freshmen members of the committee, we will eventually secure the chairmanship. Remember: we’re in this for the long haul,” Tanton wrote in the first memo in the series, under a section titled “Infiltrate the Judiciary Committees.”
Following the 2014 mid-term elections, Tanton (not for the first time) got his wish. The Senate Judiciary Committee tipped in favor of the Republicans, many of whom were sympathetic to the nativist cause and willing to work with anti-immigrant groups.
That’s what makes Smith’s outrage so absurd.
While Smith accused the subcommittee’s Democrats of unfairly attacking University of Texas law professor Lino Graglia, he also alleged that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) “had heavy input in the Democrats’ smear campaign.” He was apparently referring to the fact that the one witness advocating leaving the 14th Amendment intact was SPLC President Richard Cohen.
If anyone really merited criticism, it was the Republicans who invited Graglia, a man with a history of racist statements, to testify. In 1997, Graglia told a press conference that black and Latino students were “not academically competitive.”
In his article, Smith went on to attack Sheila Jackson Lee, a black Democratic member of the committee from Texas. Smith claimed Lee’s sympathetic questioning of Cohen “no doubt sent Barbara Jordan, the late true immigration reformer and fellow Texas Democrat rolling in her grave.” For years, the anti-immigrant movement has used Jordan, an African-American woman who believed in limiting immigration, as a cover to veil their racist beliefs.
Perhaps it is no surprise that Smith would come out swinging — his biography at the National Review identifies him as an attorney at the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), the legal arm the Tanton-founded Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which is listed by the SPLC as an anti-immigrant hate group.
The current leader of FAIR is Dan Stein, who used to head up Smith’s IRLI, where he remains on the board today, before making the shift to FAIR in the 1980s. In 1997, in a fairly typical FAIR statement, Stein warned: “Immigrants don’t come all church-loving, freedom-loving, God-fearing. Many of them hate America, hate everything that the United States stands for. Talk to some of these Central Americans.”
Smith may have been genuinely angry that not every witness in the hearing parroted his own point of view. But the fact is that we live in a democracy, and even though Smith and his party now control both houses of Congress, they will still have to listen to a little dissent.
A federal appeals court this week upheld a lower court’s dismissal of a civil damages lawsuit brought against the FBI by three members of a southern Michigan militia group arrested on criminal charges in 2010.
The courts held that three members of the Hutaree Militia, also known as the Hutaree Christian Warriors, had failed to timely file administrative claims for damages and that there was insufficient legal jurisdiction for the civil suit.
Nine members of the Hutaree Militia were indicted on federal charges in March 2010 in a high-profile case that drew worldwide attention. The militia group, which formed in 2006 and conducted live-fire military exercise in southern Michigan and northwestern Indiana, was accused of planning a revolution against the U.S. government and plotting to kill law enforcement officers.
A grand jury indicted the nine on charges of seditious conspiracy, attempted use of weapons of mass destruction, teaching the use of explosive materials and possessing a firearm during a crime of violence.
But after federal prosecutors presented their case to a jury in March 2012, U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts dismissed all charges against seven of the defendants, declaring the government’s case was “built largely of circumstantial evidence.” Federal firearms charges against two of the defendants weren’t dismissed.
The case centered on whether the heavily armed Christian militia group was really embarking on an armed confrontation with the federal government or merely living in a fantasy world of “recreation” and protected free speech.
In dismissing the criminal charges before the case went to a jury, the judge said while it appeared that “something fishy was going on,” the government had failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that defendants “reached a concrete agreement to forcibly oppose the United States Government.”
Only two members of the group, David Brian Stone, also known as “Captain Hutaree,” and one of his sons, Joshua Matthew Stone, were both found guilty of possession of a machine gun. They both were sentenced in August 2012 to 24 months in prison, with credit for time they had served after their arrests in 2010.
Meanwhile, in 2013, Hutaree members Mike Meeks, Thomas Piatek and David Stone Jr. filed a civil damages suit in the Eastern District of Michigan, claiming FBI agents violated their constitutional rights during the investigation.
The plaintiffs claimed the FBI search warrants used to seize a large cache of weapons were defective and lacked probable cause, which violated each plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment rights. They also argued the seizure of their firearms constituted a Second Amendment violation, that seizure of their Bibles was a First Amendment violation, and the initiation of criminal proceedings violated their Fifth Amendment rights.
But in February 2014, U.S. District Judge Gershwin A. Drain of Detroit tossed out the civil suit, ruling that the three militia members had failed to come forward with “substantial evidence,” such as proof of perjured grand jury testimony, to rebut the presumption of probable cause established by the indictment.
The judge overseeing the civil case also ruled the plaintiffs’ contention that the search warrant used in their arrests was defective and they were targets of “malicious prosecution” were ruled on in the criminal case and, therefore, couldn’t be re-litigated.
Those rulings were essentially upheld this week when the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied the appeal from the three men.
Right Wing Watch: Michael Savage warns listeners that Obama will arm the Crips and Bloods in the coming race war.
Omaha.com: Nebraska woman files suit in federal court against all homosexuals.
Sacramento Bee: California assembly passes legislation to ban the use of ‘Redskins’ as a team nickname.
WLS-TV (Chicago): Hutaree Militia members lose their final battle in appeal over lawsuit stemming from FBI probe.
DiversityInc: New polling finds white Americans’ attitudes about race are rapidly shifting.
KDVR-TV (Denver): Prom photo with Confederate flags and guns stirs controversy in small Colorado town.
CNN: Larry Klayman heads to court for yet another round in Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s lawsuit against Obama immigration action.
Ars Technica: Failed Christian shoe promoter tries his hand at selling anti-LGBT first-person shooter game.
The Daily Beast: Muslims defend Pamela Geller’s right to hate.
Salon: Donald Trump slams Geller for ‘taunting’ Muslims with cartoon contest: ‘What the hell was she doing?’
Right Wing Watch: Oath Keepers’ Stewart Rhodes explains that ‘Jade Helm’ is just a setup for a future takeover.
Talking Points Memo: Chuck Norris warns readers not to believe what the government says about that Jade Helm exercise.
Courier-News (Russellville, AR): Mayor condemns pro-Ku Klux Klan ‘white pride’ billboard alongside freeway.
Raw Story: Texas Senate panel hears testimony that it would be a ‘hate crime’ to keep people from discriminating against same-sex marriage.
Politichicks: Extremist land grab in Colorado as ‘sovereign citizen’ declares ownership of tourist attraction.
Think Progress: The seven most insane things that presidential candidate Ben Carson has said.
An Arizona man once charged with trying to travel overseas to wage violent jihad and his roommate have been identified as the gunmen killed Sunday evening in Texas after they opened fire outside a contest that was being held to crown the best cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad.
The event, which was attended by about 200 people in the Dallas suburb of Garland, was sponsored by Pamela Geller, the anti-Muslim movement’s most visible and flamboyant figurehead. When the gunfire erupted shortly before 7 p.m., security guards whisked Geller to safety in the inner reaches of the building.
Extra security, including several off-duty Garland police officers, had been hired for what the organizers must have known was a potentially incendiary event, the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest. Under most interpretations of Islamic law, it is expressly forbidden to depict the prophet visually, and Muslims have historically reacted with violence when newspapers and magazines have done so.
In January, two French Muslim brothers killed 12 people during an attack in Paris at the offices of the satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which had occasionally published cartoons depicting the prophet.
Before they were killed, the gunmen in Texas, who did not make it past the parking lot of the Curtis Culwell Center, shot and wounded a security guard. The guard was treated and released. No one else was injured in the short-lived attack.
One of the fallen suspects, according to ABC’s “Good Morning America” (GMA), was identified as Elton Simpson, 30, who had previously been the subject of an FBI terror investigation. GMA quoted a senior FBI official saying investigators believed Simpson, of North Phoenix, is the person who sent out several Twitter messages prior to the failed Sunday attack.
The last message, sent about half an hour before the shooting, the official said, used the hashtag #TexasAttack.
The Guardian described one tweet as saying that “the user and his ‘bro’ had pledged allegiance to Amirul Mu’mineen, Arabic for ‘commander of the faithful,’ and possibly a reference to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”
The New York Times reports that in 2010 federal prosecutors charged Simpson with plotting to travel to Somalia “for the purpose of engaging in violent jihad” and then lying about his plans to federal agents. The Times said a judge found Simpson guilty of lying but ruled the government did not prove the rest of its case. Simpson was sentenced to three years’ probation.
Simpson’s 34-year-old roommate, Nadir Soofi, was identified as the second gunmen as FBI agents combed the Phoenix area apartment complex where it is believed the men lived, according to The Washington Post.
Appearing on CNN this morning, Geller said the attack “will wake up the American people” to the realization that the “war is here.”
Geller, the president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-Muslim group, also told CNN that her organization had to spend upwards of $50,000 for added security for the contest that offered a top prize of $10,000.
Weeks earlier, in justifying putting on the controversial cartoon competition, Geller said: “After the Charlie Hebdo massacre – and after the violent Muhammad cartoon riots a few years ago – there should have been cartoon exhibits all over the free world, to show jihadists and their stealth groups … that we will not kowtow to violent intimidation.”
Dutch politician Geert Wilders, best known for his criticism of Islam, delivered the keynote address. A cartoonist who calls himself “a recovered Muslim” won the $10,000 prize.
The event was almost over when the gunmen drove up to near the entrance of the parking lot, jumped out of their car and shot the security guard in the ankle.
That’s as far as they got. They were shot and killed by a police officer in a brief exchange of gunfire. Their bodies lay where they fell next to their car throughout the night and into Monday morning as police, using a robot, slowly examined the vehicle for booby-traps and bombs. None were found.
Geller has been a verbal bomber thrower for years, relentlessly shrill and coarse in her broad-brush denunciations of Islam. She also makes preposterous claims, such as the assertion that President Obama is the “love child” of Malcolm X.
Geller uses her website to publish insults of Muslims. She posted (and later removed) a video implying that Muslims practice bestiality with goats and a cartoon depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad with a pigs’ face (observant Muslims do not eat pork).
After the shooting at Geller’s event in Garland Sunday night, Alia Salem, head of the Dallas chapter of the Council on Islamic Relations, told The Daily Beast that she had for weeks “passionately urged” Muslims to ignore Geller and her provocative contest.
On her Facebook page on April 25, Salem said Geller’s goal was “to incite our community and rile us up and I do not want to give her the satisfaction or media attention she thrives on. Without our reaction she has no story at all and no draw for the media which is what keeps her going and allows her to get publicity.”
Salem asked, “Let’s not fall for it. Please.”
At least two men did not heed her plea.
Post updated at 4:07 pm CST, May 4, 2015.