The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Update: The RNC voted yesterday to censure its member Dave Agema for posting material on social media that is insensitive to gays, Muslims and African Americans. Ironically, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus is working closing with a group, American Family Association, that could be described in the exact same way.
It’s only been a few weeks since we learned that majority whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) had spoken to a white supremacist group in 2002, and again the Republican Party has a scandal about race on its hands.
As the RNC gathers today in San Diego for its annual strategy meeting to draft plans for its future, particularly how it will improve its outreach to minorities, another prominent GOP lawmaker has been discovered to be a fan of white supremacist thinking.
Dave Agema, a member of the Republican National Committee from Michigan, republished an essay by the white nationalist publication American Renaissance in a New Year’s Eve Facebook post. The racist article, par for the course for American Renaissance, said “blacks are different by almost any measure to all other people. They cannot reason as well. They cannot communicate as well. They cannot control their impulses as well. They are a threat to all who cross their paths, black and non-black alike.”
Agema reportedly found it “very enlightening.” Can that possibly be true?
Agema has since pulled the piece down, but he refuses to apologize or resign from the RNC. And this isn’t his first racist rodeo.
According to the National Journal, Agema has a well-documented history of making inflammatory and false remarks, such as that President Obama is a Muslim. The Journal points to another Agema Facebook faux pas. He apparently shared what he called an “eye opening” essay that posed the question: “Have you ever seen a Muslim do anything that contributes positively to the American way of life?”
At least in this case, some in the RNC have reacted appropriately by calling for Agema to resign or be removed. They include RNC head Reince Priebus and Michigan’s entire GOP delegation. That’s all well and very good, but where’s the outrage from Priebus or other prominent Republicans over Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s plan to hold a prayer rally with the American Family Association (AFA)? Emails to Priebus’ and Jindal’s offices asking for comment were not returned.
On Jan. 24, Jindal, with AFA backing, will be praying at Louisiana State University in an event billed as “The Revival.” His partner, AFA, has defamed immigrants, the LGBT community and women. And just like American Renaissance, it has had horrible things to say about black people.
Let’s take a look at Jindal’s prayer partners.
- 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).
Given a track record like that, I have to ask where’s the outrage from Jindal’s fellow Republicans? American Renaissance is clearly racist, but so are these statements about black people and Latinos. Shouldn’t they be condemned as well? And what about blaming gay people for the Holocaust?
So, if Agema is the big Republican elephant in the room stalking the GOP’s efforts to reach out to minorities, isn’t that true as well of any politician who is close to AFA?
Sadly the hypocrisy goes much deeper. As RNC Chair Priebus has berated Agema, rightly saying, “The tone and rhetoric from Agema is consistently offensive and has no place in politics or any rational conversation,” the chairman is also working closely with AFA.
At the end of this month, Priebus is leading an all expenses paid trip to Jerusalem for RNC members. So far, about 60 members (about 36 percent) of the RNC have accepted the offer, according to Haaretz.
And guess who is picking up the tab for this “incredible opportunity” Priebus is offering his fellow RNC members? You guessed right: the AFA.
The recent scandal that erupted over Rep. Steve Scalise’s speaking appearance before David Duke’s white-supremacist organization, the European-American Union and Rights Organization (EURO), inevitably meant that mainstream media would be turning to Duke himself for answers to their questions. And indeed, Duke was interviewed on several media outlets early this month, on CNN and on Fox News.
And as usually occurs when Duke gets airtime, he parlayed the interview into an opportunity to propagandize and sell both his twisted worldview and his books. Most of all, Duke performed his specialty, which is to sell outright falsehoods and self-serving distortions.
Duke appeared first on CNN with Michael Smerconish for his weekly news-interview program on Jan. 3, then on Jan. 5 for an appearance on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” with Bill O’Reilly. On both programs, Duke attempted to make the familiar claim that he isn’t a white supremacist or a racist.
“I have never supported white supremacism,” Duke told Smerconish.
“I was never a white supremacist,” he told O’Reilly. “I’m not a white supremacist at all. In fact the European American Unity and Rights Group was in fact a chartered civil rights organization and I in fact in Louisiana legislature sponsored a bill that forbid racial discrimination and these programs called Affirmative Action which are racial discriminations.” ( continue to full post… )
When an African-American man was assaulted and fatally run over with a pickup truck in Jackson, Miss., in 2011, it looked for a time like the crime may never be solved even though it was caught on surveillance camera and broadcast nationally.
Now, after an extensive 4-year investigation by the FBI, 10 young people have been convicted for their roles in the murder of James Craig Anderson, a 49-year-old auto plant worker, and other similar racial attacks on victims that appeared homeless or intoxicated.
The latest guilty pleas came Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Jackson, Miss.
John Louis Blalack, 20, of Brandon, Miss., pleaded guilty to two counts of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Robert Henry Rice, 24, also from Brandon, pleaded guilty to one count of violating the act.
The statutory maximum sentence for these violations is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing for Blalack is set for April 23 and sentencing for Rice is set for April 30.
The case went all the way to the desk of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who released a statement today about the 10 arrests and convictions, calling it a “landmark case.”
“Justice has been served,” Holder said. “The hate crimes to which these defendants have pleaded guilty were as shocking as they were reprehensible—targeting innocent people for racially-motivated acts of violence that inflicted grievous harm and even claimed a life.”
Holder went on to say the Justice Department “will never rest in our pursuit of those who victimize their fellow citizens.”
“This landmark case should send a clear message: that anyone who commits an act of bias-motivated violence, or who violates the civil rights to which all Americans are entitled, will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” Holder said.
Previously, Deryl Paul Dedmon, 22; John Aaron Rice, 21; Dylan Wade Butler, 23; Jonathan Kyle Gaskamp, 22; and Joseph Paul Dominick, 23, all from Brandon, and William Kirk Montgomery, 25, from Puckett, Miss., Shelbie Brooke Richards, 21, from Pearl, Miss., and Sarah Adelia Graves, 21, from Crystal Springs, Miss., pleaded guilty in connection with their roles in these offenses.
The FBI investigation revealed that beginning in the spring of 2011, Blalack, Robert Rice and others conspired with one another to harass and assault African-American people in and around Jackson.
On various occasions, the racist gang of young people “used dangerous weapons, including beer bottles, sling shots and motor vehicles, to cause, and attempt to cause, bodily injury to African-American people,” the Justice Department statement said.
The attackers “would specifically target African Americans they believed to be homeless or under the influence of alcohol because they believed that such individuals would be less likely to report an assault. The co-conspirators would often boast about these racially motivated assaults,” the statement said.
The attack on Anderson occurred after Blalack and others attended a birthday party and bonfire for a friend in Puckett, Miss. During the party, Blalack and others talked about going to Jackson to harass and assault African-American people, Justice Department officials said.
In the early morning hours of June 26, 2011, Blalack, Montgomery, Dedmon, John Aaron Rice, Butler, Richards and Graves agreed to carry out their plan to find, harass and assault African-American people. Robert Rice did not accompany his friends on that trip to Jackson.
At around 4:15 a.m., Blalack, Montgomery, John Aaron Rice, and Butler drove to Jackson in Montgomery’s white Jeep with the understanding that Dedmon, Richards and Graves would join them a short time later. Blalack and the other three occupants of the Jeep then drove around Jackson and threw beer bottles from the moving vehicle at African-American pedestrians.
At approximately 5:00 a.m., Blalack and the other three occupants in the Jeep spotted Anderson in a motel parking lot. The occupants of the Jeep decided that Anderson would be a good target for an assault because he was African-American and appeared to be visibly intoxicated, the Justice Department statement said.
Blalack and John Aaron Rice decided to get out of the Jeep to distract Anderson while they waited for Dedmon, Richards and Graves to arrive.
After Dedmon, Richards and Graves arrived in Dedmon’s Ford F250 truck, Dedmon and John Aaron Rice physically assaulted Anderson. Rice first punched Anderson in the face, knocking Anderson to the ground, and then Dedmon punched Anderson in the face multiple times while he was on the ground.
After the assault, Blalack, Montgomery, Rice and Butler left the motel parking lot in the Jeep. As they left, one of the occupants of the Jeep yelled, “White Power!” Prior to getting back into his truck, Dedmon responded by also yelling “White Power!”
“Once back in his Ford F250 truck, Dedmon deliberately used his vehicle to run over Anderson, causing injuries which resulted in his death,” the Justice Department statement said. Blalack’s guilty plea includes his role in that offense.
On a previous occasion, the Justice Department said, Blalack, Montgomery, Butler and Dominick drove around west Jackson to find and assault African Americans. Blalack and the other occupants of the vehicle purchased bottles of beer to drink and then threw the beer bottles at African Americans.
The occupants of the vehicle also purchased a sling-shot and used it “to shoot metal ball bearings out of the moving vehicle at African American pedestrians,” the statement said. Blalack pleaded guilty for his role in this offense.
Another racially motivated assault involving members of the gang occurred at or near a golf course in Jackson. On that evening, Robert Rice, Blalack, Montgomery, Gaskamp, Dedmon and John Aaron Rice were in a vehicle again searching for “vulnerable African-American men to assault,” the statement said.
When a potential victim was spotted, Dedmon, John Aaron Rice and Gaskamp got out of their vehicle and chased the victim down. “The three men beat the man to the point that he begged for his life,” the Justice Department said. Investigators did not disclose if that victim was ever located or identified. Robert Rice’s guilty plea included his role in that offense.
In the final moments of a year marked by disorganization, personal attacks, and dramatics on the white nationalist right, leaders of the movement haven’t failed to disappoint with one last public dispute.
Greg Johnson, editor of Counter-Currents, a white nationalist publishing house, penned an article just days before the New Year, titled “Rethinking the White Nationalist Conference.” In that essay, Johnson claims that national conferences have become exercises in self-congratulation and resource squandering for many on the racist right.
“The days when American White Nationalists could court global media attention by holding public conferences at private facilities are over,” wrote Johnson, lamenting the loss of coverage by “major media” like CSPAN and National Public Radio.
And Johnson has a point. White nationalist conferences have become obsolete. As more news sources appear in the Internet age, the message that was once so incendiary that it would attract the attention of major television and newspaper outlets has been drowned out by Internet static. What Johnson recommends in response is an effort to refocus resources on local events to build the base, instead of massive national conferences.
Predictably, other white nationalist organizers, including some writing for Johnson’s own site, disagree.
Matthew Parrott, co-founder of the Traditionalist Youth Network, immediately took issue with Johnson’s claims that national conferences are an inefficient use of what funds are available to white nationalists.
“Greg’s correct that the political backdrop has changed dramatically in the decades since the first conference,” Parrott wrote. “But the mainstream media is much smaller and much less respected than it was then. The past twenty years have been far more kind to AmRen than it’s been to the media weasels set against it.”
The site’s ability to raise money has allowed Johnson to operate as one of the only full-time white nationalist activists. However, the privileged position from which he peddles his brand of pseudo-intellectual extremism has not stifled his complaints that the sums raised at the American Renaissance conference would be more than enough to hire a several full-time staffers to promote white nationalism.
Johnson doesn’t trumpet his successful fundraising while making these points. Neither do Parrott and Brad Griffin of the white nationalist blog Occidental Dissent, who also published a rebuttal. Instead, he takes issue with Johnson’s focus on intellectualizing and abstracting white nationalism.v
“The inevitable result of retreating from the real world into cyberspace will be to rely even more on anonymity,” Griffin wrote. “[It] will strengthen the taboos, generate more fear, cowardice, and conspiratorial paranoia in our ranks, exacerbate points of disagreement, and further impoverish the already low state of social capital in the movement.”
FBI agents and local law enforcement officials are seeking a middle-aged, balding white man this morning in connection with an explosion yesterday outside of the Colorado Springs chapter of the NAACP, the oldest civil rights organization in the country.
In a press statement, the FBI described the man as a “potential person of interest” who may have been driving “a 2000 or older model dirty, white pickup truck with paneling” and “a missing or covered license plate.”
An improvised explosive device (IED) was placed against the wall of the building on the 600 block of El Paso Street and exploded shortly before 11 a.m. Tuesday, according to The Gazette newspaper. There were two NAACP volunteers inside the office at the time of the explosion, which knocked items off the walls. No one was injured.
Gene Southerland, who owns Mr. G’s Hair Design Studio, which shares the building with the NAACP, told The Gazette that “neighbors came out and said they saw a Caucasian gentleman get into a white truck.”
“It was a beautiful day and everything, sunny,” Southerland added. “And in broad daylight, you hear this explosion. It’s frightening.”
The motive for the bombing is unknown at this time.
In a Tweet late Tuesday night, 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.”
There is good reason for the venerable civil rights organization to be vigilant. Here is a list of some earlier attacks on the NAACP:
1965: NAACP leader George Metcalfe is injured in Mississippi car bombing. He was trying to integrate the cafeteria of a local tire plant.
May 1981: Ten people are arrested, including Klan leaders from Maryland and Delaware, who were planning to bomb NAACP offices in Baltimore.
Summer 1989: Shots are fired into NAACP HQ in Baltimore.
August 1989: A tear gas mail bomb is sent to the Atlanta regional NAACP office. It goes off, injuring eight children who are patients of a pediatrician whose offices were located in the same building.
Dec. 18, 1989: Robert Robertson, chairman of the Legal Redress Committee of the Savannah, Ga., NAACP, is killed by a letter bomb in his Savannah office. The attack came two days after another mail bomb killed federal judge Robert Vance. Letter bombs were also sent to the federal courthouse in Atlanta and the Jacksonville, Fla., NAACP office, but were detected and defused. It turned out that the bomber was Walter Leroy Moody, whose main motive was resentment against the court system; his targeting of the NAACP is now believed to have been a diversion. After the killings, Moody sent a letter, signed by the Americans for a Competent Federal Judiciary, claiming they were in reprisal for the rape and murder of Julie Love, a young white woman in Atlanta, allegedly by two black men.,
July 20, 1993: Two neo-Nazis firebomb the NAACP office in Tacoma, Wash., damaging the building but causing no injuries. The main perpetrator, Mark Kowaalski, was a member of both the American Front racist skinhead gang and the neo-Nazi Church of the Creator.
Summer 1993: Arsonists attack the NAACP office in San Francisco.
Summer 1993: The Sacramento, Calif, NAACP office is firebombed.
Whatever the motive for the bombing in Colorado Springs, the NAACP chapter president, Henry Allen Jr., vowed to continue fighting for civil rights.
“We’ll move on,” Allen told The Gazette. “This won’t deter us from doing the job we want to do in the community.”
Think Progress: GOP leaders circle the wagons for House whip Steve Scalise over speech to white supremacists.
Huffington Post: David Duke warns politicians from both parties he might expose their ties to his organization.
Louisiana Voice: As Steve Scalise scandal grows, sordid details emerge about the dark underside of the white supremacist movement.
Right Wing Watch: The five craziest right-wing conspiracy theories of 2014.
The Root: Vandals hit Alabama grandmother’s home with broken windows, racist graffiti: “Move nigger now..”
Helena Independent-Record: Militia-promoting pastor Matthew Trewhella to deliver election sermon at Montana state capitol.
Idaho Statesman: Idaho appeals court overturns conviction of black man after prosecutor recited Confederate anthem.
Athens (GA) Banner-Herald: Georgia Ku Klux Klan group fighting to be able to join highway-cleanup program.
Mediaite: Fox’s Jesse Watters says that if police were really racist, they would just let blacks kill each other.
This time, there is no doubt who put up the latest racially charged billboard in Harrison, Ark., a nearly all-white city in the Ozarks that is struggling for its soul.
The Ku Klux Klan did it.
The sign brought national media attention to the city and its history of racial hostility to African Americans. But no one claimed responsibility for the sign. The man who owned the billboard company declined to say who paid to lease the space.
The Harrison Community Task Force on Race Relations, which has been working mightily for 12 years improve race relations and the city’s reputation, put up two signs of its own: “Love your neighbor.”
In March of 2014, another racially charged billboard was added just below the yellow sign. It featured a picture of a smiling white family and read, “Beautiful Town, Beautiful People, No Wrong Exits, No Bad Neighborhoods.”
The signs stayed up until about four weeks ago when they were replaced by billboards for the local McDonald’s and a Baptist church, saying everybody was welcome.
The Task Force celebrated, figuring – hoping – that the Harrison billboard wars were finally over, “because there are so many good things and great people in Harrison to focus on,” Task Force member Layne Ragsdale told Hatewatch Tuesday.
But on Monday, a new “pro-white” billboard went up in the city in a different spot, “an even better location than the others,” Thomas Robb, the longtime leader of the Knights Party, one of the longer-lived KKK organizations in the country, chortled on the white nationalist Web forum, Stormfront.
The new sign proclaims, “It’s NOT Racist to [HEART] Your People.”
Below those words is a website address that links to KKKRadio.
Billy Roper, a former neo-Nazi-turned-Klansman, wrote on Stormfront Monday that “the Anti-White elites were celebrating the fact that the previous two billboards were removed in town.”
“Haven’t they heard,” he added, “that you can’t keep a good Klan down?”
The Knights Party, also known as the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, has long been associated with Harrison, primarily because it uses a Harrison mailing address, although its headquarters is actually 15 miles outside of the city of 13,000 residents. In his Stormfront posts about the new sign, Robb said he wanted the Task Force “to celebrate and do their Hi-Fives” about the racially charged signs coming down before hitting them with the new billboard.
“We could have put the billboards up the next day,” he smirked, “but it is more fun to allow them to be puffed up and then prick their bubble.”
He added that he is looking to put up another sign on Interstate 40 in Russellville, near Arkansas Tech. “I already have the OK from the billboard company,” Robb wrote, “but we need a little of this stuff $$. Anyone want to help?”
Ragsdale of the Task Force told Hatewatch today that when she first heard about the new billboard going up she hoped it was a joke. “But it’s real,” she sighed. “They’re still trying to smear the community with their opinions. They’re trying to pretend they’re the voice of Harrison. It just gets so old. Move on, already.”
Two young women from Brandon, Miss., have confessed to federal hate crimes related to racially-motivated assaults carried out by them and their associates against African-American people, culminating in the 2011 murder of a man run over with a truck.
James Craig Anderson, a 49-year-old auto plant worker who was African-American, was struck and killed on June 25, 2011, by a Ford F250 driven by a gang of white youths. His brutal murder was captured on surveillance video and broadcast nationally.
The gang of youths essentially had made a sport of looking for disabled, homeless or intoxicated African-Americans to verbally harass and physically assault, and then boasted about their deeds with the belief that such individuals would be less likely to contact law enforcement.
Shelbie Brooke Richards and Sarah Adelia Graves, both 21, each pleaded guilty last week to one count of conspiracy to violate the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the Justice Department said in a news release. Richards also pleaded guilty to an additional count of concealing information about a felony. Sentencing dates have not been set.
The Ku Klux Klan, which in recent years has been a shadow of its once monolithic self, has been trying to make a comeback. From handing out candy to children, appearing in robes on the U.S.-Mexican border to protest President Obama’s executive action on immigration—even raising money for Darren Wilson, the police officer who killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.—it seems Klansman are everywhere.
Is the Klan growing?
This week, Vice published a video report on the Klan experiencing a rise in members, in part fueled by a strategy that targets veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. In it, host Rocco Castoro talks with the SPLC’s Mark Potok about hate group recruitment often being tied to military conflict.
“There is a very high degree of interest on the part of Klan groups in returning military veterans with high end military skills that they think will be useful to them one day,” Potok said. “A lot of these men are coming back traumatized with serious PTSD and other problems. The economy is not good. They’re not getting jobs, so they come home to find a situation that is not very good for them. … What some veterans find in these groups is family.”
Watch the videos.
Editor’s Note: This story will be published in the forthcoming issue of the Intelligence Report magazine, which is scheduled for release in February.
At an age when most men and women choose to retire, 67-year-old William W. Williams went out and got a new job in one of the world’s oldest professions – hate.
He is now the HNIC – Head Nazi in Charge.
Known throughout the white nationalist movement as “White Will” – the fictional hero of a notorious 1990s racist comic book he helped write and draw – Williams is the new chairman of what’s left of the old neo-Nazi National Alliance (NA), once America’s leading hate group. Crafty and smart, the self-described “biological racist” recently out-maneuvered and hustled his bitter rivals in the neo-Nazi movement for the tarnished title, a state of affairs duly registered with the Commonwealth of Virginia State Corporation Commission.
Williams won by stealth and ambush, skills he picked up as a young U.S. Army Special Forces officer during two combat tours in Vietnam. But this time, he did not have to fire a shot to get the job done. He sat back and watched his foes – a band of disgruntled former NA members calling themselves the National Alliance Reform & Restoration Group, or NARRG – do the heavy lifting. As NARRG was spending tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees to seize control of the Alliance with a $2 million civil lawsuit against Erich Josef Gliebe, the much maligned chairman who presided over the last 12 years of the NA’s decline, Williams was secretly negotiating with Gliebe to resign and hand over to him the keys to the crumbling kingdom.
“We managed to keep it pretty close to our chest,” Williams told the Intelligence Report in a recent interview. “We didn’t go out there, bragging and boasting and all that. We just kind of slowly maneuvered around.”
Williams’ power grab clearly caught NARRG off guard. It was a stiff Roman salute to the jaw and NARRG did not take it well, calling Williams, among other things, a “superficial” “racial gadfly” who blends “various reactionary white nationalist ideologies” and is “bent on a path of religious tyranny.”
Herr Kettle, meet Herr Pot.
Needless to say, NARRG rejects Williams as chairman. “The lawsuit,” NARRG announced on its website, “continues to go on, even though the purported wrinkle of Williams may be in the mix.” ( continue to full post… )