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

Political Right Reacts With Fury to Obama Immigration Plan

Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Latino by Mark Potok on November 21, 2014 - 10:53 am

Broad swaths of the far right reacted with outrage and accusations of looming dictatorship to President Obama’s announcement last night of unilateral moves to allow some 5 million undocumented immigrants to remain in this country — and some of the most inflammatory rhetoric came from the political “mainstream.”

Even before the Thursday night speech, people like Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) — a conservative, but known as a personal friend of the president — were sounding apoplectic as details of Obama’s planned executive actions leaked out. Coburn warned that they could lead to “anarchy” and “violence” in the streets. U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) said the actions might warrant a “jail penalty” for the president, and U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann said they would legalize millions of “illiterate” people — the same Latinos many GOP leaders have said they want to reach out to.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, another Republican well known for his strident opposition to immigration and efforts to suppress minority votes, agreed with a caller to a radio show that Obama’s plan might amount to “ethnic cleansing,” presumably of white people, adding that it appeared to be an effort to “replac[e] American voters with newly legalized aliens” to create a “locked in vote for socialism.”

It wasn’t that Obama’s moves didn’t anger the radical right along with many of those in the ostensible polirical mainstream. Stewart Rhodes, leader of the radical antigovernment group Oath Keepers, said that if Republicans do not impeach the president for his actions, then people would seek out “other options” to take on the man who “violated his oath, grossly.” Television extremist Glenn Beck warned that Obama’s executive actions, along with a possible decision to not indict Ferguson, Mo., officer Darren Wilson, would lead to a “race war.” And Larry Klayman, leader of the extremist Judicial Watch organization, filed a suit within hours of Obama’s announcement on behalf of Arizona’s infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio, claiming that the executive actions were unconstitutional and would cause “irreparable harm.”

But most of the fury did seem to come from politicians and others closer to the political center. For instance, Mark Krikorian, the head of the Washington-based anti-immigration Center for Immigration Studies, likened Obama to Richard Nixon and said he saw himself as the nation’s “ultimate ruler.” U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Penn.) said that the president’s actions would lead to a national “internal crisis” comparable to the period just before the Civil War. And House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) accused Obama of “acting like” a king or an emperor.

It’s not clear if all the sturm und drang will continue to heat up as awareness of the president’s new initiative spreads. But there are real signs that the nativist extremist movement, which swept the country between 2005 and 2011 with Minuteman and other radical “citizen border patrol” groups, may be roaring back to life. Today, the Southern Poverty Law Center released a major new report examining how the anti-immigrant movement has swelled in recent months, beginning with the blocking of buses carrying undocumented children in Murrieta, Calif., in early July. President Obama’s new moves may well exacerbate that apparent rebirth.

As Fury Mounts Over Obama Actions on Immigration, SPLC Releases Major Report on Nativist Movement Rebirth

Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Latino, Anti-LGBT, Anti-Muslim, Intelligence Report, Neo-Confederate by Hatewatch Staff on November 21, 2014 - 8:39 am

Just a day after President Obama announced a series of executive actions meant to allow millions of undocumented residents to remain in the United States, the Southern Poverty Law Center is releasing a major report on the apparent rebirth of the nativist extremist movement that swept the country between 2005 and 2011.

ir156_coverToday’s release of “Back to the Border,” the cover story of the new issue of the SPLC’s Intelligence Report, comes amid a rising din of anti-immigrant fury from both the mainstream and the radical right about Obama’s moves, unilateral actions that an array of enraged nativists claim could set political violence. The new report traces the resurgence of the movement to early July, when a furious mob turned back buses carrying undocumented and unaccompanied minor immigrants to a Border Patrol facility in Murrieta, Calif. The new edition of the quarterly investigative journal carrying the story can be read at www.splcenter.org.

The confrontation in Murrieta led to a series of similar nativist outbursts around the country and the massing of antigovernment militias and other radical groups on the U.S.-Mexican border in the months that followed. The movement grew large enough that it sparked worries about the return the Minuteman and other nativist groups that harassed undocumented immigrants in recent years. Now, with Obama’s Thursday night speech on immigration already setting off a renewed round of enraged attacks on the president, the threat of a major nativist resurgence seems strong.

“The success of a howling mob in turning back buses filled with undocumented immigrant children bound for a shelter was the first spark to reignite the nativist extremist movement,” said Mark Potok, senior fellow at the SPLC and author of the new report. “Now, with the new executive action initiative announced last night by President Obama, that spark may turn into a conflagration.’

This issue of the Intelligence Report also examines another radical movement experiencing a revival — the racist music industry. Racist bands are using iTunes, the world’s largest music vendor, to distribute their music following the collapse of several racist music labels and distributors. Although its terms of service appear to make iTunes off limits to these groups, the Report found that the music of at least 54 well-known racist bands was being sold by the music service this fall.

“The racist music industry, long a major source of money and new recruits for the white power movement, had been in decline in recent years,” Potok said. “But the discovery of iTunes by racist bands, and the fact that iTunes seems unwilling to move against them, has helped this industry find new hope and profits.”

Also in this issue of the Intelligence Report:

  • “Warrior for God” profiles retired three-star general William “Jerry” Boykin, a longtime anti-Muslim activist now serving as executive vice president of the Family Research Council.
  • “War Dreams” investigates how the neo-Confederate League of the South is forming a secret paramilitary unit called “The Indomitables,” another step in its continuing radicalization. The group now appears to include white supremacists, former Klan members and neo-Nazis.
  • “East of Eden” examines how a small group of racists are promoting the Orthodox Church as a home for fascism. Although the church has its share of extreme-right officials, it vigorously rejects any association with such groups.
  • “Redeemed” is an interview with Yvette Cantu Schneider, a woman who worked in religious-right “ex-gay” ministries for years, but recently joined other former activists in renouncing the movement.

Judge Tells Simcox He Can’t Rely on ‘Grand Conspiracy’ Defense in Molestation Trial

Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Nativist Extremist, Trial Updates by David Neiwert on November 18, 2014 - 2:29 pm
Chris Simcox.

Chris Simcox.

Chris Simcox, the erstwhile border vigilante Minuteman movement leader, has been sitting in the Maricopa County Jail for over a year as he awaits trial on two counts of child molestation, one involving his own preteen daughter. But, judging from a recent court appearance, he is confident that he will win his freedom.

How? Apparently Simcox has some secret evidence.

According to a report from Stephen Lemons at Phoenix New Times, Simcox indicated during a recent court hearing on a possible plea agreement that there is previously unknown reasons for his arrest.

Documents filed by Simcox’s attorneys suggest he will attempt a defense based on claims that he was targeted for prosecution because of his high political profile, and that the charges against him are built on evidence from two daughters who were subject to “parental alienation” because of a “contentious divorce.”

However, Judge Joseph Welty of Maricopa County Superior Court apparently was not buying. Saying that Simcox was suggesting “some grand conspiracy at play,” he reminded Simcox, 53, that the evidence against him also involved victims who were not his daughters, and that the charges he faced were not political crimes.

The purpose of the hearing last week was to review the plea bargain that prosecutors had offered to Simcox earlier this year that would limit his prison time to seven years in exchange for a guilty plea. However, Simcox adamantly continued to refuse the deal, saying he intended to prove his innocence in court.

Simcox’s refusal ensures that the two victims in the case—one of them his now-teenage daughter, the second being a friend of hers who Simcox was supposed to be babysitting at the time—will be required to testify on the stand. The trial is scheduled to begin Dec. 17, but Simcox’s decision on the plea bargain probably means it will be pushed forward to January.

According to Lemons, a previous judge in the case ensured that so-called “propensity evidence”—involving previous incidents that suggest the defendant’s crime is part of a behavior pattern—would also be admitted.

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.

If convicted, Simcox could face up to life in prison.

Border Militiaman Claims Explosive Found In Hotel Room Was Legal

Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Nativist Extremist by David Neiwert on November 10, 2014 - 3:25 pm
K.C. Massey (YouTube)

K.C. Massey (YouTube)

Kevin “K.C.” Massey III contacted Hatewatch this weekend to explain that the explosive found among his belongings when he was arrested at the “Camp LoneStar” hotel room on federal weapons charges, thought to be ammonium nitrate, was in fact a legal form of explosive.

Massey said in an email that the explosive, which was found inside an ammo can and listed in the inventory filed by the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents after his arrest Oct. 20 in Brownsville, Texas, was in fact a completely legal explosive called “Tannerite.”

Unlike the version of the explosive used by domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh in his bomb-truck attack on the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in April 1995, Tannerite is a legal form that uses an aluminum powder, instead of diesel oil, as the fuel that creates an explosion. It requires mixing in order to become an explosive, and in its unmixed form, it is legal to transport it anywhere. However, when mixed, it becomes an explosive and is subject to strict regulation.

After Hatewatch’s original post noted that the ingredients for a bomb were found in his belongings, Massey wrote and explained:

The “ammonium nitrate” and “fuel” is Tannerite a legal product sold in almost every sporting goods store in the USA. It was not mixed and is COMPLETELY legal in all 50 states. Second, the Tannerite was NOT in my/Camp Lonestars [sic] room, it was in my truck in an ammo can to keep it dry and to stop from someone having access to “misuse” it.

Massey went on to explain that Tannerite is a favorite target device for people practicing with long-range weapons, since it lets a shooter know from a distance if he or she has hit their target.

It is for long range target shooting which we did not have at Camp. I had it since I went to the border four months ago, and never had a place or reason to use it for its intended purpose.

He then went on to explain that his arrest for weapons possession stems from a felony committed in 1988.

I am no terrorist and my felony conviction was when I was 22 years old. I am now 48. Are you the same man at your age as you were at 22? I have proven by my actions and all who know me, KNOW I am not a racist. Nor am I a member of any militia OR hate group. I love all Americans no matter their color or creed.

Ask the people who really know me and you will see I am telling you the truth. My grandson is half black, and I have a lot of Hispanics in my family. I have NEVER been in any HATE group. I don’t like racists of ANY color.

Massey is currently awaiting trial on two counts of being a felon in possession of weapon.

Makings of Ammonium Nitrate Bomb Found in Border Militiaman’s Hotel Room

Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Antigovernment, Extremist Crime by David Neiwert on October 31, 2014 - 1:57 pm
K.C. Massey (YouTube)

K.C. Massey (YouTube)

When ATF agents arrested Kevin “K.C.” Massey III at a Brownsville-area hotel last week on charges that he had been illegally carrying weapons while leading border-militia patrols in Texas, they found more in his hotel room than just guns and ammo. There was also a container of ammonium nitrate and fuel—a potent bomb in the making.

According to an inventory of items taken during Massey’s arrest, an “ammo box filled with ammonium nitrate (suspected) and fuel” was found in the room, which participants at Camp LoneStar—the border-militia operation at which Massey had been dubbed a “commander”—had described as a place rented out by the camp as “a place to take a shower and get a good night’s rest.”

As the San Antonio Express-News noted in a report on the arrest, ammonium nitrate, which can be purchased as a farm fertilizer, can make a potent explosion when mixed with diesel fuel and detonated. It was the explosive Timothy McVeigh used in his 1995 terrorist attack on the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

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Camp LoneStar Arrests Result From Earlier Encounter With Border Patrol Officer

Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Antigovernment, Extremist Crime, Patriot Groups by David Neiwert on October 24, 2014 - 12:58 pm

A chance encounter earlier this summer with a Border Patrol officer along the Rio Grande has become a disastrous event for the vigilantes prowling the Texas border at the militia encampment dubbed Camp LoneStar.

John Frederick Foerster Source: Screen grab from Camp LoneStar video

John Frederick Foerster
Source: Screen grab from Camp LoneStar video

Two of the militiamen, including camp leader Kevin “K.C.” Massey III, now face federal felony weapons charges as a result of the encounter. Massey was arrested on Monday, while a second militiaman, John Frederick Foerster, was arrested on Tuesday. Both are charged with being felons in possession of a weapon.

A group of Border Patrol officers were in pursuit of several illegal border crossers in the early morning hours of Aug. 29 when one of the officers, having lost sight of the fugitives, came upon Foerster, who was standing in the brush holding a weapon. According to the criminal complaint, the agent fired four shots at Foerster and missed; Foerster threw down his gun and surrendered.

While the officers were processing information with Foerster, Massey and another Camp LoneStar participant arrived to vouch for Foerster, carrying weapons. Massey had an AK-47 rifle and a .45 caliber handgun.

According to Massey’s account of the incident on Facebook, Border Patrol officers asked the men to store their guns (as well as a GoPro video camera) in a Patrol vehicle. But when the officers wrapped up their work, they insisted on keeping the guns and the camera as part of their investigation.

The encounter occurred on the private property owned by Cuban “Rusty” Monsees where the Camp LoneStar encampment is set up, and so no arrests were made at the time. However, it shortly emerged that Foerster was in fact a felon; Massey, as federal agents would later report, also had been convicted of a felony in 1988.

On Monday, ATF agents swooped in and arrested Massey at a hotel in Brownsville, and then arrested Foerster on Tuesday.

The arrests set off a round of paranoia among their fellow militiamen. Massey’s “superior” at Camp LoneStar, Archie Seals, ranted on Facebook about how the arrests represent government oppression of their citizen-vigilante efforts:

Ok, I had been thinking for a while, “Are we doing any good here”? Now I know we are, and we are stepping on someone toes. Listen up all Feds that are monitoring, you have put my #2 in a cell illegally thinking it would shut us up and down. Guess what??? It didn’t work. We are still open for business, because, “This is what we do”. If anything, you made us stronger and more determined. When you take me in on some bs, another has been chosen to take over, then another, and another. We are Camp LoneStar and we are going no where. Now, I need every possible BOG immediately. Let’s show these feds that we only will grow stronger. Who will now join me and who will send support for the camp and for KC??? We need supplies here and KC needs funds for bond and lawyer.

Fellow “Patriot” Gary Hunt, evidently familiar with the details of Massey’s arrest, posted angrily at his blog:

These occurrences … should provide adequate warning to patriots, especially those who have a felony record, that there is a concerted effort on the part of government to find cause to bring charges against you and take your guns away. They also provide insight into the tactics that the government is using to cull the patriot community of as many as they can, reducing the remaining numbers, and intimidating those who remain.

 Massey’s friends at the Secure Our Border organization changed the cover photo of their Facebook page to one featuring Massey’s portrait, accompanied by the legend: “Taken by the ATF for the crime of proving that the border can be secured by a few American Patriots.”

Child Sex Abuse Charges Dropped Against Longtime FAIR Attorney

Posted in Anti-Immigrant by Don Terry on October 7, 2014 - 8:58 am

Child sex assault charges have been dropped against Michael M. Hethmon, a senior counsel for the legal arm of the anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Washington Post reported.

Hethmon, who was running for a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates, representing part of Prince George’s County, Md., was arrested on Labor Day after a nurse told local enforcement authorities that the lawyer had assaulted her 8-year-old daughter on his property.

The mother of the child, according to WUSA9, was a nurse caring for Hethmon’s 88-year-old father, who lives with him in Upper Marlboro. The nurse reportedly told police that her daughter and Hethmon were outside near a barn on the property in August when he offered to brush hay off her.

The child alleged Hethmon then put his hands inside her pants and touched her sexually. Then he attempted, according to court records, to put the child’s hand inside his pants.

Hethmon was arrested and, although he was free on bail, suspended his campaign against veteran Democratic Maryland state lawmaker, Del. Joseph F. Vallario. Hethmon was running as a Republican in the newly drawn 23rd district.

But last week, according to the Post, a Maryland grand jury moved to dismiss the case.

“I feel like I’ve gotten my life back,” the Post quoted Hethmon as saying.

Hethmon has resumed his long-shot campaign. In a letter to his supporters after the charges were dropped, Hethmon said, “The suspension and horrific publicity has been devastating to what was always a modest effort to provide citizens a choice on the ballot other than the incumbent machine candidates.”

Hethmon has been instrumental to FAIR’s legal arm, the Washington-based Immigration Reform Law Institute, and its efforts to pass harsh anti-immigrant legislation across the country. He has cynically said in the past that he didn’t care if these laws turned out to be unconstitutional or if fighting for them in the courts were to be financially disastrous for states and localities, which they have been.

Key bridge-building conference for U.S. and European Racists Slated for Hungary Oct. 3-5

Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Muslim, Anti-Semitic, Europe, White Nationalism by Heidi Beirich on September 29, 2014 - 10:01 am

Editor’s Note: This weekend, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced that his government would “use all legal means” to prevent the Budapest white nationalist gathering explored below from occurring, presumably by banning foreign visitors from entering the country. According to the Hungarian blog HungarianAmbience.com, officials at the planned venue for the conference also have cancelled their contract with conference organizers, saying they were not aware of the nature of the gathering. Still, chief organizer Richard Spencer is reassuring those planning to attend that the conference will go on as scheduled, even if meeting will be a “little more inconvenient” than it would have been.

One of the most polished American racists of recent years is Richard Bertrand Spencer, a 36-year-old Ph.D. program dropout who, in his khakis and oxfords, looks more like some ambitious young Capitol Hill staffer than a white supremacist. Indeed, with a master’s degree from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s from the University of Virginia, Spencer’s resumé reads a lot like that of a well-heeled, up-and-coming politico.

Richard Spencer

Richard Spencer

But several years ago, when he was in his early thirties, Spencer left mainstream conservatism for what he calls “a life of thought crime.” Since then, he has established racist websites and ascended to the top spot at the National Policy Institute (NPI), a white nationalist nonprofit he runs from his home in Whitefish, Mont., along with two affiliated publishing outfits. After holding a series of highbrow-racist conferences on such topics as the future of white people, Spencer has now set his sights on bigger things — building bridges to the organized European racist right.

Though past NPI conferences have featured leading European racists, Spencer is moving beyond one-off presentations from these folks in order to connect with two newly important radical-right strains on the continent: the Movement Identitaire, a pro-white, anti-Muslim and anti-globalist movement that started in France in the early 2000s and has been growing rapidly since, and Jobbik, the anti-Semitic and racist organization that became Hungary’s third-largest political party this spring, when it polled more than 1 million votes.

“We hope that our budding society will act as a forum for a number of different traditionalist groups in Europe, including Identitarians,” Spencer told Hatewatch. “We are eager to involve Europeans who seek to connect with community and tradition, and thus preserve true diversity against the flattening of globalism.” His interest, Spencer added, is to reach “any European who seeks to develop racial identity and consciousness.”

A key upcoming moment in this effort comes at a planned Oct. 3-5 conference NPI organized in Budapest, Hungary. Co-hosted by Jobbik, the Inaugural Identitarian Congress is slated to feature prominent European nationalists of various types and several leading American racist ideologues (see biographies below).

Little is known about Spencer’s new allies in the U.S., but across the Atlantic they are seen as serious threats to European democracy. Members of the European Union, the European Jewish Congress and other prominent human rights defenders have warned of the dangers posed by Jobbik, which has been widely described as fascist, is patently anti-Semitic, and yet has grown rapidly. Similarly, the Movement Identitaire, which started small but made a name for itself with the 2012 invasion of a French mosque, is deeply worrying to European officials. ( continue to full post… )

Antigovernment Group Tries to Organize Mass Shutdown of Ports of Entry on U.S.-Mexico Border

Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Latino, Antigovernment, Militias by David Neiwert on September 15, 2014 - 4:10 pm

A self-described coalition of antigovernment groups is hoping to organize yet another attempt at shutting down the U.S.-Mexico border at major commercial crossings this weekend, calling the event “Shut Down All Ports of Entry”.

Previous attempts at shutting down traffic at key border crossings this spring have ended in spectacular failure—notably radio host Pete Santilli’s attempt to shut down the crossing in Tijuana with bikers, as well as the “Border Convoy” last month, which culminated in a only a brief interruption at Brownsville, Texas.

But this particular attempt, scheduled to take place Saturday, has set off warnings among law enforcement personnel, including a local sheriff’s office in Texas and Border Patrol officials, who say they are prepared for just such an attempt

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Michael Hethmon, longtime FAIR attorney, Charged with Child Sex Abuse

Posted in Anti-Immigrant by Heidi Beirich on September 5, 2014 - 4:23 pm

Michael Hethmon, a senior counsel for the legal arm of the anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), has been charged with child sex abuse. Hethmon is also running for a Maryland delegate seat that would represent a part of Prince George’s County, Md.

According to WUSA9, court records show that the mother of the girl who reported the abuse is a nurse practitioner helping Hethmon care for his elderly father. Investigators claim Hethmon was with the 8-year-old outside a barn on his property when he offered to brush hay off her. The child alleged Hethmon put his hands inside her pants and touched her sexually. Hethmon then attempted to put the victim’s hand inside his pants, court records say.

He’s currently free on bail.

Hethmon has been instrumental to FAIR’s legal arm, Immigration Reform Law Institute, and its efforts to pass harsh anti-immigrant legislation in various states and localities. Hethmon has cynically said in the past that he didn’t care if these laws turned out to be unconstitutional or if fighting for them in the courts were to be financially disastrous for states and localities, which they have been.

“Sink or swim, these new laws are forcing Congress to confront the need for enforcement-based reform,” he wrote in a 2010 op-ed for CNN. More important is that they “provoke sustainable immigration reform.” At another time, Hethmon called the laws “field tests”—experiments aimed at testing the legality of various approaches to immigration.

Hethmon did not respond to requests for comment.