The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Mint Press: White supremacy and homegrown terrorism pose a growing threat to United States.
Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Miss.): Sentencing set for 10 white people in racial beatings that left a black man dead.
Inside Higher Ed: Vanderbilt’s Carol Swain wades into the swamps of anti-Muslim hate with column on Paris attacks.
Medium: Texas anti-Islamic event brings out the crazies.
Courthouse News: ‘Hutaree’ militiamen appear unlikely to secure approval to revive civil-rights claims against administration.
Salon: Frank Schaeffer recalls how he helped found the religious right’s home school conspiracy, and start a religious war.
Raw Story: Drunk ex-Navy SEAL who faked attack by ‘three black men,’ posts bizarre video of Obama ‘choke-out.’
Advocate: American Family Association wants two liberal Supreme Court justices removed from same-sex marriage case.
Crooks and Liars: At South Carolina Tea Party convention, Rick Santorum lashes out at legal immigrants.
Last week, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) faxed and sent letters to every member of the Republican National Committee (RNC) regarding an upcoming trip to Jerusalem being organized by RNC Chair Reince Priebus.
The letters expressed concern about the organization paying for the trip, the American Family Association (AFA), which the SPLC has listed as an anti-LGBT hate group since 2010.
In particular, the letters asked RNC members not to lend their good offices to an organization with a long track record of making anti-LGBT, anti-Muslim and other hateful statements. An email to Priebus’ director of communications about this matter was not responded to.
As a follow up to our letters, SPLC staff also called all of the RNC state offices for comment about the trip. In particular, we wanted to ask if members were aware of AFA’s extremism. Here are some notable examples:
- An AFA leader has said, “Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and 6 million dead Jews.”
- The same staffer said African Americans “rut like rabbits” and women have no place in politics or the military.
- Another has argued that Hispanics are “socialists by nature” and come to the United States to “plunder” our country.
- And the group has repeatedly made the point that non-Christians are second-class citizens—“we are a Christian nation, and not a Jewish or Muslim one.” (Find a comprehensive look at AFA’s extremist statements and positions here).
In early December, Time reported that 60 members, or about a third, of the RNC had decided to travel to Israel. But you wouldn’t know that from the calls we made. We left dozens of voicemails and sent many, many emails, none of which were replied to.
In Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Oklahoma and Tennessee, communications directors were unaware of the trip and promised to speak with RNC members and get back to us. They did not. Other state communications directors, like those in Maryland and Louisiana, said they knew nothing of the trip and could not answer questions. In Idaho, a communications staffer told us she had no idea what we were talking about, but that she would have known about a trip if there was one.
The communications director in New Mexico had not heard of the trip, but was shocked at AFA’s views. And the communications director in Utah was quite surprised about AFA’s views, but knew nothing about the trip. A communications staffer in Mississippi verified that none of his members would be traveling with AFA. No one from Massachusetts will be attending, nor will the chair of the Connecticut RNC.
The bulk of the states simply ignored our requests for comment, but in some cases, our calls were met with hostility. That happened in Wyoming, where a woman who answered the office phone refused twice to identify herself. She did say that no one from Wyoming was going on the trip and that she had “no idea who that group [AFA] is,” nor did she seem to care. Then she said “your argument [about AFA’s extremism] is kind of moot since no one is going” and hung up on me.
Meanwhile, AFA staffers continue to put out a stream of extremist propaganda. Just in the last few weeks, AFA’s Director of Issues Analysis for Government and Public Policy Bryan Fischer has said you can’t support gay rights and call yourself a Christian, railed about a Muslim congressman being appointed to the House Intelligence Committee and claimed that Duke University is “inviting the Demons of the Abyss” onto its campus by planning a Muslim prayer rally. And those comments are only from the second half of January. Imagine what is to come in the rest of 2015.
A Minnesota man who had been making an independent film depicting the coming of a “New World Order” in America was found dead with his family over the weekend in what investigators have said appears to be a murder-suicide.
But the man’s supporters have quickly spun a conspiracy theory pointing to the federal government as malicious actors trying to silence the truth.
Crowley, 29, was found dead, along with his wife Komel, 28, and daughter Rani, 5, in their suburban Apple Valley home south of Minneapolis. Investigators said it appeared that the bodies had been there for several weeks—probably since before Christmas—and deemed it a probable murder-suicide, with Crowley the apparent perpetrator.
However, in the conspiracy theory industry in which Crowley operated his home-based filmmaking business, the deaths were immediately assumed to be assassinations carried out by nefarious “New World Order” agents.
At Alex Jones’ InfoWars site, the news story reporting on the deaths described the “suspicious circumstances surrounding the deaths,” namely, “the controversial nature of Crowley’s latest project, entitled Gray State, a highly-anticipated independent film envisioning a brutal police state, martial law crackdown, complete with biometric identification, a ubiquitous surveillance state and FEMA stormtroopers rounding dissidents up into camps.”
Indeed, a look at the trailer Crowley created for Gray State reveals it to be an attempt to film nearly every fever-dream conspiracy theory about the New World Order of the past ten years:
Crowley successfully raised over $60,000 in 2012 in an Indiegogo campaign to make the film, and a number of scenes were filmed on sets with professional actors. These included scenes involving roundups and executions of American citizens, home surveillance and forcing children to have chips implanted in their bodies.
Crowley’s project was enthusiastically supported by members of the antigovernment movement, where most of these conspiracy theories originate, and Crowley was interviewed by Alex Jones for his radio show. He was also apparently well connected to the far-right “Oath Keepers” movement, frequently posting their material on the film’s Facebook page.
In one Facebook photo posted in January 2014, Crowley can be seen conferring with Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and far right Constitutionalist pastor Chuck Baldwin, among others. Another Facebook photo meme lionizes “III Percent” movement founder Mike Vanderboegh. That was one of Crowley’s last posts.
Crowley was an Army veteran who had served in Iraq. ON his LinkedIn profile, he explained: “After five years I had enough and left to pursue filmmaking.”
Crowley’s wife was a dietitian who ran a business called Mind Body Dietitian. She and her daughter Rani can be seen in a video that Crowley shot to promote a “documentary” he also planned in support of his feature film, to be titled Gray State: The Rise. The video shows him at home devising lighting for specific shots he had planned.
On the Facebook page for Gray State: The Rise, the administrator posted a notice about the deaths, saying: “Gray State founder, director and screenwriter David Crowley and his family have passed away. Please pray for their families and friends of which they had many. … We will try and keep you all posted, but this page will go dark for awhile as the future of Gray State is uncertain.”
Stewart Rhodes chimed in, saying: “I was honored to know David, to see him work, and to help, in a small way, with this project. This is a great and tragic loss, and comes as such a shock.” Others across the Web were not so measured. One site reporting on the case asked: “Who really murdered them?”
Commenters at the Gray State Facebook page were far more certain that the family had been “suicided” – a term popular with conspiracy theorists who believe that nefarious New World Order assassins frequently kill the people who try to expose them by staging their deaths and making it appear to be suicide.
“The Creator of Gray State was killed by our Gov’t… watch the Concept trailer,” wrote one. “This will shine some light on what this movie was about and will have you know why he was murdered by our Gov’t. Everyone knows except those who haven’t seen this yet.”
“DEMAND JUSTICE FOR DAVID CROWLEY! We must not allow his good name to be soiled. He did not kill anyone, this was an assassination!” wrote another, who was especially persistent in pursuing this claim. In another post, he wrote: “DAVID CROWLEY WAS ASSASSINATED!! No doubts. He is not part of a psyop but a real person, one of the major players behind exposing the horror of the upcoming police state.”
He then apparently set up a Facebook page dedicated to the concept. “David Crowley and his family were murdered by those who want to shut down the Gray State project,” it says. “Help expose what really happened and demand justice.”
One of his admirers posted a video of Crowley speaking at a “Ron Paul Festival” held in Tampa, Fla., in 2012, while he was raising funds for the film:
“This man did NOT kill himself. He was SUICIDED,” wrote the post’s author.
For some Americans, there is a boogeyman rampaging through the land. His name is “Demographics.”
By 2050, experts predict the United States will be a majority-minority country, a rainbow nation. Most of the rainbow, however, will still be white. According to Pew Research, by 2050 “non-Hispanic whites, who made up 67 percent of the population in 2005 will be 47 percent in 2050.” Hispanics will go from 14 percent to 29 percent, blacks will hold steady at about 13 percent by the time 2050 and Asians will go from 5 percent to 9 percent.
On the eve of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, someone calling him/herself “Steve Goode” responded by email to an interview request and explained his reasons for the billboard.
“We started the site because we wanted to voice our concern about the trends towards a White minority across dozens of White majority countries,” Goode wrote. “If trends towards a White minority status were isolated to just one or two countries, we would be less inclined to believe it was about getting rid of White people as a race.”
Goode said the group was started in January 2013, and the way he described its operations, WGP sounds like it may have well adopted the “leaderless resistance” approach made popular by Louis Beam, an iconic figure of the radical right who helped guide the white supremacist movement into the computer age.
“In our movement there are no bosses telling employees what they should do,” Goode wrote. “Much of our activity is by individuals who agree with us and want to help spread the message in their own way. In other words, everyone is their own boss.”
Goode said the members of the group are anonymous out of fear of being fired or beaten up, “because many bad things can come of publicly being pro-White.”
“Several people have written to me that they support us,” Goode said, “but say they are afraid of what will happen to them if they go public.”
It is a bizarre position for something that is so glaringly public.
On Jan. 9, the small city of Springville, Al., about a 30-minute drive from Birmingham, discovered a new and unsettling billboard along I-59. It read, “Diversity Means Chasing Down The Last White Person.” Goode said the phrase was first featured in a blog post on Bob Whitaker’s site devoted to “fighting white genocide.” Whether Whitaker came up with it or someone else, Goode said he did not know.
Whitaker, a longtime segregationist, is the author of a piece called “The Mantra,” which includes the phrase “Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white” and has become a touchstone for nearly all manner of white supremacist.
The phrase has appeared on several billboards across the country; it has been written on sheets hung from highway overpasses; for a time it even appeared on white supremacist Craig Cobb’s house in Leith, N.D. The phrase also was used on a billboard recently near Leeds, Al., before the sign was taken down after a few weeks of considerable protest and pressure from city officials. Goode said his group of online segregationists had nothing to do with that billboard.
The owners of the billboard personally took it down and refunded the money, several thousand dollars. The owners told a television station from Birmingham that they were not racist and had been bombarded with angry telephone calls, including some threats.
“We have no plans for any projects like this at the moment,” Goode wrote in a separate email, “but we will offer our support to any people who agree with us and want to spread our message.”
In The New York Times on Martin Luther King Jr. Day yesterday, Jelani Cobb, an associate professor of history and director of the Institute for African-American Studies at the University of Connecticut, wrote about how the “growing fears of struggling whites” could impede civil rights advances.
“A democracy in which the traditionally empowered class is outnumbered is traditionally a less liberal place, not more…” he wrote, adding. “…It’s no coincidence that the super-heated opposition to immigration reform coincides with the evisceration of the Voting Rights Act, and with public opinion polls in which a substantial number of whites say they believe they are the primary victims of racism in the United States. If anything, demographic trends will intensify these dynamics.”
Editors’ Note: This article will appear in our forthcoming Intelligence Report.
It was two years ago today that President Obama was sworn in for a second term.
My, how the world has changed.
The economy is purring like a kitten after years of growling like a sour tummy. Jobs are coming back, wages are beginning to rise. The stock market is way, way up.
The war in Afghanistan is finally over. Finally.
More than 10 million previously uninsured Americans now have health insurance.
Did I mention the price of gas? I could go on. But I won’t, because this isn’t an article extolling the policies and virtues of our commander in chief.
No, this is a look back at what, two years ago, we called the paranoid prophecies of the right’s most rabid Obamaphobes — the most frightening predictions of the doom that awaited all of us if Obama were to be reelected in 2012. You remember: real end-of-the-world stuff.
Just for fun, let’s review.
Joseph Farah, the proprietor of WorldNetDaily, the supermarket tabloid of the black helicopter crowd, seemed to have a firm grasp of his fate in a second Obama term. The scribe had already reported drones surveilling his Northern Virginia property. “If [Obama is] re-elected, it’s gonna be war,” he said. “We will be hunted down like dogs.”
Anyone seen signs of war on American soil? Nope. Not real war, anyway.
We believe that if Obama wanted to round up Farah, he could find him. And if, say for dramatic effect, he wanted to send in the hounds to chase him like a fox, he would do just that. Perhaps he’s just waiting for the right moment.
Let’s move on. A motivational speaker and self-help author named Robert Ringer (it’s OK if you haven’t heard of him) predicted the “Marxmeister” would quickly unleash the “dictatorial full monty”: instant citizenship for all Third World immigrants, a new sedition act criminalizing criticism of the government, forced equalization of income, suspension of habeas corpus, the end of fossil fuel production, and more.
Not yet — though Obama has been exercising his executive powers. We don’t know where that will lead!
Next up: Wayne LaPierre, the NRA chieftain who makes nearly $1 million a year scaring the bejesus out of gun lovers, claimed Obama would take away our firearms and “erase” the Second Amendment. His first term was, of course, a clever ruse “to ensure re-election by lulling gun owners to sleep.”
We don’t know if Obama’s veto pen has an Amendment eraser on it, but he still has two more years. So, we’ll see. For now, guns abound!
Not to be outdone (which would make him irrelevant), the former Clinton aide Dick Morris prophesied to Fox’s Sean Hannity that the president’s “big focus” would be to make the U.S. a “vassal state to a globalist entity.” To make it even worse, he would sign a treaty so that we’d need permission from Russia and China just to launch a new war. (But what if we wanted to attack Russia and China? They’d probably say no.)
We’ll put this one in the too-soon-to-tell category, though if vassal-ness (vassalitude?) is the president’s “big focus,” we’ve seen no sign of it. Yet.
In Texas, some county judge named Tom Head called for a property tax INCREASE to help defend his county during the coming civil unrest.
Here’s what he told a TV station: “He’s going to send in U.N. troops. I don’t want ‘em in Lubbock County, OK? So I’m gonna stand in front of their armored personnel carrier and say, ‘You’re not coming in here.’”
Two years later, we’ve seen no sign of UN troops invading Lubbock County. Or any other of Texas’ proud (but militarily vulnerable) counties.
Finally, we reach our favorite prediction.
The actor Chuck Norris and his wife, Gena, posted a video on YouTube warning of “socialism or much worse.”
All right. That’s fair. You could argue we have all sorts of socialism built into our system: Social Security, the Post Office, etc.
But then Gena quoted a 1964 speech by Ronald Reagan: “We will preserve for our children this last best hope for man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into 1,000 years of darkness [emphasis ours].”
A full millennium. Of darkness!
Now that would take an act of Congress.
Crooks and Liars: Bill O’Reilly’s history lesson on the Ku Klux Klan lacking in facts.
Talking Points Memo: White survivalist shoots small-town Oklahoma police chief, then released from custody.
Dallas Morning News: Amid barrage of hateful messages and protesters, Islamic conference on tolerance proceeds anyway.
Raw Story: KKK group in Pennsylvania celebrates Martin Luther King Day by distributing flyer bearing his mug shot.
U.K. Progressive: A conversation with the leader of the reconstituted version of the Michigan Militia.
Montana Cowgirl: Anti-tribal landowners’ group getting advice from extremist ‘birther’ on demands for water pact.
Right Wing Watch: CIS official wonders why ‘Black Lives Matter’ protesters aren’t protesting immigrants.
Spokesman Review: Restaurant’s ‘Shorty Can’t Breathe Either’ sign evokes racial comparisons.
The small city of Springville, Al., got an early Martin Luther King Jr. Day present this week.
On Wednesday, an anti-diversity billboard, apparently paid for by a group of anonymous segregationists calling themselves the White Genocide Project, was removed just five days after it went went up along I-59.
Talking Points Memo: No, sorry, you’re not a ‘constitutional conservative’ – you’re pretty much the opposite.
Omaha World-Herald: Nebraska governor condemns school-board member’s blog post describing President Obama as a ‘half breed.’
Right Wing Watch: Tony Perkins doesn’t want any religion in government, unless it’s his religion.
Warren Throckmorton: Far-right Institute on the Constitution to share stage with Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Rick Santorum.
Media Matters: The Daily Caller tries to smear Bill Clinton based on the word of a Holocaust denier, and it all falls apart.
Imagine 2050: Texas lawmaker kicks off new year with a whole slate of anti-Muslim legislation.
Birmingham News (AL): ‘White genocide’ billboard comes down, Springville mayor denounces message.
Pacific Standard: Don’t believe the FBI’s latest hate-crime numbers – they’re far too low.
It’s been a bad couple of weeks for homegrown domestic terrorism suspects, who can’t seem to get it into their troubled heads that plotting murderous mayhem on the Internet is not the best way to stay out of jail.
On Wednesday, federal agents swooped in and arrested a 20-year-old Ohio man in connection with a plot to attack the U.S. Capitol in an apparent act of jihad he allegedly discussed and planned with an informant on an instant messaging platform.
Last week in an unrelated case in Georgia, three alleged antigovernment militia members pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, according to the Rome News-Tribune. During several online conversations last winter, the men allegedly discussed using guerilla war tactics and bombings, targeting government buildings and offices, hoping to trigger an uprising of other militia groups and the overthrow of the government.
In the Ohio case, Christopher Lee Cornell and the informant first made contact with each other, according a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Ohio Wednesday, on Twitter in August 2014. The informant, seeking leniency in an unrelated criminal case, contacted the FBI in the fall of 2014 and told the authorities that Cornell had “posted comments and information supportive” of the Islamic State on Twitter.
On the Twitter accounts, Cornell used the name Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah, and, according to the complaint, “voiced his support for violent jihad, as well as support for violent attacks committed by others in North America and elsewhere.”
Cornell allegedly wrote to the informant on a separate messaging platform in late August that he had been in contact with people overseas but did not think he would receive the green light to conduct a terrorist attack in the United States. Nevertheless, he allegedly told the informant he wanted to “go forward with violent jihad and opined that this would be their way of supporting” the Islamic State.
During a meeting with the informant in November, Cornell allegedly said that he “considered members of Congress as enemies” and his plan was to “detonate pipe bombs at and near the U.S. Capitol, then use firearms to shoot and kill employees and officials” there.
Cornell, who lived with his parents in an apartment in Green Township, was arrested Wednesday as he was loading into a car two rifles and 600 rounds of ammunition he had just purchased from a gun shop near Cincinnati. He was charged with attempting to kill a federal officer and with possession of a firearm with the intent to commit a violent crime.
His father, John Cornell, told the Cincinnati Enquirer that he was skeptical of the charges against his son, a “momma’s boy who never left the house.”
“Everything you’re hearing in the media right now, they’re already painted him as some kind of terrorist,” the father told the paper. “They’ve painted him as some kind of jihadist. …(Christopher) is one of the most peace-loving people I know.”
The father said his son was a practicing Muslim and his son’s long beard and traditional Muslim dress made him a target for harassment. The father said once as his son was crossing a street “people driving by threw (objects) at him.”
In the Georgia case, which has not gotten much national attention, Brian Cannon, Cory Williamson and Terry Peace were arrested last winter. According to a nine-page federal criminal complaint, their goal was to force a declaration of martial law and spark a national uprising of militia groups by conducting a coordinated terror campaign that would create mass hysteria.
The men were originally arraigned last March on a charge of conspiracy to receive and possess a destructive device, according to the paper. But they have now been hit with a new indictment and a much more serious charge of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction as well as charges of conspiring to defraud the government. The new indictment and charges supersedes the previous indictment, the News-Tribune reports, adding that the weapons of mass destruction charge can carry up to a life term in prison.
The trio, the original complaint alleged, hatched much of the plot “in online chat discussions, which were monitored by [the] FBI, during which they chatted about carrying out an operation against the government.”
Police in the small northeastern Oregon city of Pendleton have arrested three suspected members of a nascent white supremacist gang believed to be responsible for a string of violence, including drive-by shootings and a bombing.
Jeremiah Jerome Mauer, 30, who is believed to be the founder of United Aryan Empire, was arrested last weekend on multiple charges of being a felon in possession of weapons, Pendleton Police Chief Stuart Roberts told Hatewatch today.
Steven Ray Grangood, 22, was arrested at the same time and booked into the Umatilla County Jail on charges of illegally buying firearms and providing them to fellow gang members who are felons.
A third suspected member of the racist gang, Gregory Charles Tinnell, 43, was arrested Tuesday on charges of being a felon in possession of firearms.
The Pendleton police chief said an ongoing investigation suggests the United Aryan Empire is the brainchild of Mauer, a felon who was unsuccessful in his attempt to join European Kindred, a neo-Nazi skinhead gang with multiple members in Portland and others in the state’s prison system.
“We believe United Aryan Empire is a hybrid he (Mauer) created,” Stuart told Hatewatch. “I think it goes back to his desire to be somebody.”
The gang has been linked to at least three violent crimes. Now, with the three arrests gaining media attention, victims of other crimes linked to the group are coming forward and reporting other unknown incidents, Roberts said.
“We are now learning of other incidents that went unreported because the victims feared retaliation if they contacted police,” Stuart said. “This thing is big, quite frankly, in terms of what’s out there.”
Police became aware of the United Aryan Empire when members of the group, including Mauer, were involved in a large gang fight last October at a residence in Pendleton, Stuart said. Mauer sustained a serious head wound in that fight, while a member of a Hispanic gang suffered a severe knife wound in the abdomen.
On Nov. 23, members of UAE detonated an improvised explosive device outside another residence in north Pendleton before firing multiple rounds from a .45 caliber handgun into the occupied home, Stuart said. The home’s occupant was reluctant to cooperate with police, but officers did recover expended bullets from the walls of residence.
Then, on Christmas Eve, in another drive-by shooting, rounds from a .45 caliber handgun were fired into a third residence occupied by an excommunicated UAE who had refused to carry out an order from leaders of the gang, the police chief said.
No one was injured in that incident. Responding officers stopped and arrested Tinnell five blocks away from the shooting. He was carrying a .45 caliber bullet, a handgun ammunition clip and a holster, but he did not have a weapon. He was arrested on a weapons violation because he was carrying an illegal switchblade knife, Stuart said.
The investigation culminated with the serving of a search warrant last Saturday at Mauer’s residence in Pendleton, where police found five weapons, including a sawed-off shotgun and assorted “gang-related literature,” the chief said.
In recruiting members, the United Aryan Empire has said its goal is to rid the community of 17,000 of methamphetamine dealers. “They said, “We’re not about violence. We’re not about racism,’ but that is a total contradiction of the activities the group has carried out,” Stuart said.
The police chief said additional charges are possible after the Umatilla County District Attorney reviews the case and presents it to a county grand jury. Federal authorities, meanwhile, are aware of the investigation and monitoring developments, Stuart said.