The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Two members of a Georgia-based militia group were each sentenced today to serve 10 years in prison for their involvement in an antigovernment plot to make the deadly poison ricin and disperse it in several cities.
Samuel J. Crump, 71, and Ray H. Adams, 58, were convicted by a federal jury last January in Gainesville, Ga., on a pair of charges connected to possession of ricin for use as a weapon. Both men faced possible life terms. Prosecutors recommended they each serve 20 years.
“This is not some laughing old guys talking kind of thing,” U.S. District Judge Richard W. Story told the defendants at the sentencing hearing, The New York Times reports. The judge said the defendants clearly were involved in criminal conduct “that could have hurt innocent people if you had been able to carry it out.”
The pair, along with alleged ringleader Frederick W. Thomas, 73, Emory Dan Roberts, 67, were arrested by the FBI on Nov. 1, 2011, after two informants secretly taped 400 hours of discussions of plans for dispersing ricin powder from speeding cars in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Jacksonville, Fla., and New Orleans.
Roberts and Thomas both pleaded guilty in April 2012 to charges of conspiring to possess explosives and firearms and both were sentenced to five-year prison terms.
Federal investigators say Adams had the key ingredient to make ricin – castor beans – hidden in his Toccoa, Ga., home, and that Crump had provided a sample to an FBI informant during the investigation.
The underlying motivation, beyond the defendants’ sheer antigovernment agenda, was never fully made public. Neither Crump nor Adams took the stand in their own defense during their jury trial. The panel returned its guilty verdicts in just 90 minutes.
Charging documents said Thomas expected some kind of action by the federal government that would require a response from citizen militia groups.
On the recordings, Thomas discusses his “bucket list” of government employees, politicians, corporate leaders and members of the media” he believed needed to be assassinated to save the country, the documents alleged. The secretly made tape recordings revealed that list included U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
Thomas also was fascinated with an antigovernment novel, Absolved, written by longtime Alabama militia leader Mike Vanderboegh. The book describes a small group of Americans who assassinate federal officials.
At sentencing, both men told the court they never really intended to use the deadly poison.
“I would not have hurt anyone,” Adams told the judge, according to the Times report. Adams added, “I get angry at the government sometimes, but no more than anyone else.”
Crump was more defiant and asked the judge for a new trial, claiming the government’s informants had credibility issues. “There were only words, no actions,” he said. “The only thing I did was talk,” Crump told the court, according to the Times.
A judge in Kansas has ordered a mental competency evaluation for Frazier Glenn Miller Jr., a former neo-Nazi and KKK leader accused of assassinating three people last April at two Jewish community facilities in Kansas.
Johnson County District Judge Kelly Ryan ordered the evaluation Wednesday at the request of defense attorneys who filed the motion just before a planned preliminary hearing for Miller, who is also known as Frazier Glenn Cross, the Kansas City Star reported in today’s editions.
The mental exam will attempt to determine if Miller, 73, of Aurora, Mo., is competent to aid in his own defense if the death-penalty case proceeds to a jury trial. If he’s found mentally incompetent, he will be sent to the Larned State Hospital in Kansas and could be held there indefinitely or until he is found competent, the newspaper reports.
The defense request for the competency examination came Wednesday as prosecutors were ready to present probable cause evidence against Miller in an attempt to convince the court there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial.
After postponing that hearing, the judge scheduled a Dec. 18 hearing to discuss results of the competency evaluation. The delay prompted an outburst from Miller who said he wanted a speedy trial, the newspaper reported.
“Too long. Way too long,” Miller said in court. “I don’t want it drawn out.”
Miller is charged with capital murder for the gunshot killings of Terri LaManno, 53, William Lewis Corporon, 69, and Reat Griffin Underwood, 14. If convicted, the 73-year-old life-long racist faces the death penalty.
Miller, an avowed anti-Semite, mistakenly thought he was shooting Jews when, in fact, all three victims were Christians.
After the shootings, the FBI searched Miller’s home and found a copy of Hitler’s autobiography, Mein Kampf, three boxes of ammunition, a red t-shirt with a swastika symbol and a file folder titled, “Going underground and declaring war against the government.”
He also faces three counts of attempted first-degree murder for allegedly shooting at three other people during the gun rampage on April 13 outside the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom care center in Overland Park, Kansas. In addition, he is charged with aggravated assault and discharging a firearm into an occupied building.
Miller reportedly is gravely ill with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Earlier this year he reportedly told fellow racist Craig Cobb that he has “one foot in the grave and one on a banana peel.”
A new report from the federal government predicts that a Nevada rancher’s standoff with federal agents earlier this year will likely embolden and inspire antigovernment violence in the coming months — a finding that echoes several preceding reports.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report, titled “Domestic Violent Extremists Pose Increased Threat to Law Enforcement and Government Officials,” concludes that after years of sporadic violence from domestic extremists motivated by antigovernment ideologies, there has been “a spike within the past year in violence committed by militia extremists and lone offenders who hold violent anti-government beliefs.
“These groups and individuals recognize government authority but facilitate or engage in acts of violence due to their perception that the United States Government is tyrannical and oppressive, coupled to their belief that the government needs to be violently resisted or overthrown,” the report says. It adds that such historical spikes in extremist violence have followed high-profile confrontations, including those at Ruby Ridge and Waco, involving the federal agents. ( continue to full post… )
Five recent killings of police officers in the United States and Canada “highlight a trend of growing violence by far-right extremists that is likely to continue in the near term,” a New York state counterterrorism bulletin warns.
The bulletin, now declassified and publicly accessible, cites the June 4 fatal shooting of three Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. It also lists the wounding of a sheriff’s deputy June 6 at the Forsyth County, Ga., courthouse and the June 8 fatal shootings of two police officers in Las Vegas.
“Based upon reporting it appears all the suspects in these incidents were motivated by elements of a far right anti-government ideology with a particular fixation on law enforcement,” New York State Counter Terrorism Bulletin 14-07 says.
“While it is unknown whether this spike is indicative of a long term increasing trend,” the bulletin says, “it is significant from a near term perspective due to the short time frame and purposeful targeting of law enforcement.”
“The recent attacks serve to highlight a trend of growing violence by far right extremists that is likely to continue in the near term,” it continues.
“While attacks by lone offenders or small groups, common amongst far right extremists, are often difficult to detect and can occur with little or no warning, law enforcement should remain vigilant to any indicators or suspicious activity related to the persistent far right extremist threat,” the bulletin concludes.
All three fatal police shootings cited occurred less than a week after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced he was re-establishing the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee to address the “continued danger we face from individuals within our own borders who may be motivated by a variety of other causes from anti-government animus to racial prejudice.”
The New York bulletin doesn’t mention the decision by the U.S. Department of Justice, but does suggest the suspects in the fatal police shootings shared an antigovernment, anti-police philosophy. ( continue to full post… )
A couple of days before he was arrested and charged with shooting to death three people at two Jewish community facilities in Kansas in April, Frazier Glenn Miller stopped by the Aurora, Mo., home of his friend Geraldine Perry. It was easy to see even then that the health of the 73-year-old neo-Nazi was failing.
“He couldn’t walk from the other side of the street to inside here to the table,” Perry told Hatewatch, “without having to stop and sit 10 minutes so he could breathe.”
After his arrest, Miller called Perry from a Kansas county jail a few times a week, she said, before the calls suddenly stopped. The next time he called, after two weeks of silence, Perry said Miller explained that he had been in the infirmary, too weak to get out of bed, struggling for breath.
Now, it appears the accused killer is dying.
According to a report in the Kansas City Star, Miller, who is also known as Frazier Glenn Cross, is dying of severe lung disease in a county jail infirmary.
Quoting friends and associates in the hate world, including fellow white supremacist Craig Cobb, the paper reported Saturday that Miller, once a heavy smoker, is suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, a progressive disease for which there is no cure.
“He’s dying now, there’s no doubt,” Cobb told the paper, adding, “He told me in January in a letter that he had one foot in the grave and one on a banana peel.”
Maj. Doug Baker, the administrator of the Johnson County Central Booking facility in Olathe, Kan., where Miller is being held on $10 million bond, told the paper he could not discuss details of an inmate’s medical condition. Baker did confirm, however, that Miller has been housed full-time in the center’s infirmary since May 30.
The Star also spoke with Will Williams, a longtime white nationalist from Tennessee, who said he has known Miller for more than 20 years. Williams said Miller had told him earlier this year that he was extremely ill.
“COPD is what he told me,” Williams told the paper. “He told me he could hardly walk to the mailbox.”
In a recent telephone call from jail, Miller told Williams that he had lost nine pounds and his health had only gotten worse behind bars. Miller seemed to blame his deteriorating condition on a black doctor supervising his care, accusing the physician of trying to murder him, Williams told the Star.
“He said this doctor deliberately cut his meds to where he had three near-death experiences,” Williams said.
Williams said Miller told him that he had filed several grievances with the jail and had recently “got his meds and was in lots better spirits.”
Baker, the jail administrator, told the paper that Miller had not filed any formal grievances and was “being provided the necessary medical care that’s provided to all detainees.”
Miller’s next scheduled court appearance is in November.
The man identified by authorities today as the murderer of two police officers and another person in Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas had long ranted against the “fascist” government, but the last comment he posted before the attack was the most chilling.
“The dawn of a new day,” Jerad Miller wrote on his Facebook page Saturday. “May all our coming sacrifices be worth it.”
Late Sunday, law enforcement officials say, Miller and his wife, Amanda Miller, embarked on a shooting spree that included the ambush-murder of two Las Vegas police officers as they ate at a restaurant and the killing of a male shopper at a nearby Walmart. Witnesses said that they shouted “this is a revolution” and draped the officers with a Gadsden flag — a symbol of liberty used by both the antigovernment “Patriot” movement and many Tea Parties — before going on to kill themselves as police closed in.
In the days and weeks before the attack, Miller posted a series of comments on his Facebook page indicating that, in order to restore “freedom” to the United States, the “best men” would strike for “a free and just world with our blood, sweat and tears as pavement,” he said on June 2. “There is no greater cause to die for than liberty,” he wrote on May 2. “I will willingly die for liberty.” On March 25, he wrote: “I stand firm in my convictions and stand prepared to die for them. … Come for me, free me from your slavery. Give me the death a hero deserves.”
Amanda Miller, who married Jerad on Sept. 22, 2012, didn’t sound very different on her own Facebook page in 2011. “[T]o the people of the world… your [sic] lucky i can’t kill you now but remember one day one day i will get you because one day all hell will break lose [sic] and i’ll be standing in the middle of it with a shot gun in one hand and a pistol in the other.”
On May 25, 2014, Miller also said on his page that he had been present at the mid-April standoff, some 60 miles outside Las Vegas, between rancher Cliven Bundy and federal agents trying to seize his cattle for nonpayment of grazing fees. Bundy, who was backed by hundreds of armed militiamen, ultimately won that battle, as law enforcement officers decided to stand down rather than risk a bloodbath after Bundy’s supporters pointed their weapons at a crowd of federal agents. On April 9, shortly before traveling to the Bundy ranch, Jerad Miller wrote that the standoff was “the next Waco,” a reference to a deadly 1993 standoff in Texas. ( continue to full post… )
After letting a special unit devoted to monitoring domestic terrorism fall dormant following the Al Qaeda attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced this week that it was reviving the group. The Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee will focus on extremists motivated by antigovernment and racial hatred, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement Tuesday.
Predictably, pundits from the extreme conspiracist right, particularly antigovernment “Patriot” groups, worked themselves into a frenzy over the announcement, warning their followers that a “war on the white man” was about to come down from the Obama administration. A similar reaction greeted the 2009 leak of a report from the Department of Homeland Security that focused on the domestic radical right, with right-wing groups describing it as an attack on the political conservatives.
In his statement announcing the DOJ committee’s revival, Holder noted that this decision comes after more than a decade of focus on the threat of international terrorists, while a number of recent incidents have underscored that they are not the only threat. “We must also concern ourselves with the continued danger we face from individuals within our own borders who may be motivated by a variety of other causes from anti-government animus to racial prejudice,” Holder said.
Several news accounts noted the move appeared to be in response to such incidents as the April murder of three people at Jewish institutions near Kansas City, Mo., the bombing of the Boston Marathon last year, a neo-Nazi attack on a Sikh temple in 2012, and a number of similar attacks. Non-Islamic domestic terrorist activity has clearly picked up in the years since Barack Obama was first elected in 2008.
“We’ve been pushing DOJ to devote more resources to domestic terrorism for a long time, so we’re delighted that the Attorney General has taken this step,” said SPLC President and CEO Richard Cohen, who recently wrote a column for MSNBC describing how the committee was meant to meet on 9/11 but never did again. ( continue to full post… )
After his arrest for a racially motivated rape and killing spree committed the day after Barack Obama was inaugurated in 2009, white supremacist Keith Luke told police he had planned to end his rampage by killing himself.
It took Luke five years behind bars, Obama’s second inauguration, and at least one other suicide attempt, but the plan has finally been completed. The 28-year-old killer, who was serving two consecutive life sentences in a Massachusetts prison, is dead, apparently by his own hand, the Boston Globe reported today.
Luke was pronounced dead at a hospital Monday afternoon after being on life-support since Saturday, when he was discovered unresponsive in his cell. “We suspect it’s another suicide attempt by Luke,” Massachusetts Department of Correction spokesman Darren Duarte told the Globe.
Luke, who had a history of mental illness, showed up at his first court appearance with a swastika carved into his forehead. He had used a jailhouse razor to cut the bloody symbol into his own flesh, officials said.
He was convicted last May of murdering a man and a woman and raping and critically wounding another woman in Brockton, Mass., the day after Obama was inaugurated, becoming the nation’s first black president. Luke’s victims were immigrants from the West African archipelago Cape Verde.
Luke, who was 22 during the spree, told investigators that he decided to kill blacks, Latinos and Jews after reading about “the demise of the white race” on the white supremacist website, Podblanc. He also told them that had he not been arrested, he planned to go on that same day to kill as many Jews as possible at a local synagogue’s bingo night. ( continue to full post… )
U.S. Army Sergeant Anthony Peden, who served two combat tours in Afghanistan and a third in Iraq before returning home and joining an antigovernment militia called FEAR, was sentenced today in Georgia to life in prison for the murder of two teenage sweethearts in December 2011.
Tiffany York, 17, and her boyfriend, Michael Roark, 19, were shot and killed in the Georgia woods by Peden and three other soldiers, prosecutors charged, in an attempt to keep secret the militia’s plans to overthrow the government through a campaign of sabotage, bombings and political assassinations.
But unlike two of his co-defendants, Pvt. Isaac Aguigui and Pvt. Christopher Salmon, who were sentenced previously to life without the possibility of parole, Peden, 28, could be eligible for parole in 30 years.
“It’s still a long, long time,” Peden’s lawyer, H. Burton Baker of the Office of the Georgia Capital Defenders told Hatewatch today. “But it’s a bad, bad crime.”
Baker said the reason Peden received a bit of mercy and the faint hope of distant freedom was because of his combat experience and the obvious damage it did to his heart and soul.
“What distinguishes Anthony’s case from Aguigui and Salmon,” Baker said, “was Peden did perform heroically in combat. He saved people. These other guys never had to fire their weapons in anger. They never had to soldier in the way Anthony did.” ( continue to full post… )
Nineteen years ago today, evil came to Oklahoma City. Timothy McVeigh, fueled by hatred of the government he saw as an oppressive tyrant, set off a massive truck bomb at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, tearing away the lives of 168 Americans, including 19 small children in a day-care center.
He was one of ours. Although many rushed to declare that the bombing bore all the hallmarks of an attack by foreign Muslim jihadists, they were quickly shown to be completely wrong. McVeigh was a U.S.-born white man, what the Ku Klux Klan of old liked to call a “100 percent American.”
For a moment, it seemed the lesson was learned. Law enforcement officials, many of whom had been skeptical of the whole notion of domestic terrorists, came to see that there was a dangerous underbelly to American society, a world of radical-right activists who were willing to kill. Plot after plot was dismantled as the militia movement coursed through the country. But then came the Al Qaeda attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and it appeared that the lesson had once again been lost.
Six days ago, the nation was served with a grim reminder that the United States faces its own homegrown terrorists. A well-known neo-Nazi named Frazier Glenn Cross (formerly Miller) allegedly stormed on to the grounds of two Jewish institutions in Overland Park, Kan., and shot to death three strangers. As he was led away by police who captured him almost immediately, he shouted “Heil Hitler!”
Although the news coverage implied that this was a uniquely horrific attack, the reality is that it was only the latest in recent years. Other known neo-Nazis murdered a guard at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, killed six Sikhs in a Wisconsin temple, tried to slaughter hundreds in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in Spokane, Wash., and more. According to the New America Foundation, right-wing extremists have slain 34 people in the United States for political reasons since 9/11, while terrorists motivated by Al Qaeda’s ideology have killed 21. That’s not to diminish the jihadist threat, but merely to point out that there are others, too.
Despite that and other compelling evidence of the domestic threat from the radical right, the Department of Homeland Security, tasked with developing intelligence about such perils, seems to have taken its eye off the ball. Since 2009, when then-DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano pulled back a DHS report that soberly assessed the threat because certain conservatives were offended by its perfectly accurate observations, the DHS unit that once handled analysis of domestic non-Islamic terrorism has been gutted. Most members quit the agency, disgusted by Napolitano’s political cowardice and their own shabby treatment.
The work that DHS used to do is needed. As the Southern Poverty Law Center has documented, the last five years have seen an enormous expansion of the radical right, largely driven by the demographic “browning” of the population and predictions of the loss of a white majority in the next 30 years. Anger at the dramatic changes occurring in our society is real, and it is steeped in blood.
One thing DHS might consider examining is the role of the Internet in breeding and facilitating men like Frazier Glenn Cross. As pointed out by Jeffrey Simon, a scholar of so-called “lone wolf” terrorism, all today’s lone terrorists need is provided by the Internet, where both technical information about bombs and other weapons is freely available, and where a chorus of moral support can be found.
A study by the SPLC, two years in the making and released four days after the Kansas murders, probed the role of an enormous racist Web forum called Stormfront that is run by a former Alabama Klan leader. It found that in the last five years alone — since the election of the nation’s first black president — registered members of Stormfront (an incredible 286,000 people, though many are inactive) have been responsible for the murders of close to 100 people. ( continue to full post… )