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September 20, 2012

One-Time Domestic Terrorist Now Leads White Supremacist Biker Gang

A wise man once said, “Old extremists never die. They just change uniforms.”

That seems to be the case for long-time Illinois white supremacist Dennis Michael McGiffen.  In the 1990s, McGiffen and other white supremacists (most associated with a Klan group or Aryan Nations) formed a group they dubbed The New Order, after the 1980s terrorist organization known as The Order.  In 1998, McGiffen and five other members were arrested by the FBI on weapons and explosives charges in connection with alleged plots to rob banks and armored cars, poison public water supplies, and to attack blacks, Jews, and civil rights organizations.  Five of the defendants, including McGiffen, pleaded guilty, while a sixth was convicted in court.  McGiffen received a seven-year prison sentence.

Now McGiffen, 50 years old and living in Wood River, Illinois, has once again found a leadership role in the world of white supremacy. McGiffen is president of the Sadistic Souls Motorcycle Club (SS-MC), a white supremacist biker gang that started in 2010. In July 2012, the SS-MC formally merged with the neo-Nazi group Aryan Nations, with which McGiffen has had past ties. 

The Sadistic Souls are a small Illinois-based gang with approximately two dozen members and associates.  The bulk of the membership comes from small towns outside of East Saint Louis, such as Wood River, Edwardsville, Brighton, Godfrey, Alton, and Jerseyville.  The gang’s “colors” (i.e., the emblems they put on their vests and jackets) include a Totenkopf death’s head and SS lightning bolts.  Most members have added an Aryan Nations patch to their colors. 

Since the merger, Aryan Nations has heavily promoted McGiffen and the SS-MC, even “donating” one of its registered Web sites for the use of SS-MC. On that site, the SS-MC dubs the relationship “a new beginning.”  The site sells SS-MC merchandise and also promotes the McGiffen-owned Peckerwoods Gym and Fight Club.  Morris Gulett, the current leader of Aryan Nations, is clearly staking much on this relationship, perhaps because of recent defections.

In April of this year, McGiffen and fellow Sadistic Soul Ryan R. Duckett were arrested by the Madison County Sheriff’s Department and charged with felony mob action for an alleged assault at a bar in Godfrey, Illinois.  Both posted bond and were released.

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August 8, 2012

Girlfriend of Suspected Sikh Temple Shooter Arrested

On Tuesday, authorities investigating the Wisconsin Sikh Temple shooting arrested the former girlfriend of Wade Page, the suspected shooter, on a weapons charge. Misty Cook (whose formal name may be Brenda Misty Cook), 31, was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm after police allegedly found a weapon in the house she shared with Page.

Misty Cook (on right) with Volksfront members, circa 2007-2008

According to court records, Cook had a felony conviction in 2005 for fleeing and eluding police in Milwaukee County. She received a sentence of 18 months’ probation and served 97 days in jail. Cook was not involved in the deadly shooting, but like Page, was a white supremacist.

Cook’s connections to the white supremacist movement date back a number of years. According to a posting she made on April 18, 2012, to an on-line forum for supporters of the Hammerskins, a racist skinhead group, she “heard Pastor Butler speak 8 years ago and it was very inspiring.”  “Pastor Butler” is Richard Butler, the deceased founder of the notorious neo-Nazi group Aryan Nations. 

In the mid-2000s, Cook had a strong association with the hardcore white supremacist group Volksfront, which has a presence in the Chicago area, where she lived at the time. A Volksfront spokesperson even admitted to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that she had dated several Volksfront members. However, for unknown reasons, she broke with that group around 2008.

By 2009, she had become an active supporter of the Hammerskins, joining Crew 38. Like other hardcore racist skinhead groups, the Hammerskins do not allow women to become members.  Crew 38 (the 38 stands for “Crossed Hammers”) is a “support group” they started for women, hangers-on, and people who wished to become Hammerskins someday.

Cook posted frequently to the Crew 38 site, authoring over 850 messages in a three-year period. In many postings, Cook expressed support for the Hammerskins, stating in one post, for example, “I have a lot of respect for what the Hammers do. I just tend to enjoy brothers who are local and I see them all the time.” On her screen avatar for that forum, she identifies herself as “Crew38 Wisconsin.”

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May 31, 2012

Virginia White Supremacist Arrested On Weapons Charge

Douglas Story at 2010 Aryan Nations
rally in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Agents from the Washington, D.C., Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested a Virginia white supremacist, Douglas Howard Story, 48, on May 29, 2012, on charges that he had illegally attempted to obtain an automatic AK-47.

According to authorities, Story met with undercover informants and requested them to convert an AK-47 assault rifle to full-auto for $125. Story reportedly said that he knew it was against the law, but that he could “claim mental issues because of a motorcycle injury.” Law enforcement officers arrested Story after he accepted delivery of the ostensibly modified gun.

Story, who used to work for the Virginia Safety Service Patrol, a state agency that helps stranded motorists and removes debris from the highways, is a long-time white supremacist. “Now,” he wrote in 2007 on a white supremacist message forum, “if I see an accident involving a negro or other kind of brown filth, I just drive on by. Screw ‘em, let ‘em die.” According to his Facebook page, Story is still employed by the Virginia Department of Transportation.

In 2010, Story received a brief flurry of publicity after Virginia authorities revoked his personalized license plates, which read “14CV88.” While the “CV” stood for “Confederate Veterans,” the “14” stood for a white supremacist slogan, the so-called “14 Words” (“We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children”), and the 88 stood for “Heil Hitler” (H being the 8th letter of the alphabet). For several years, Story has been a member of the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations and he participated in a 2010 Aryan Nations rally in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Story has often combined his racist and anti-Semitic beliefs with conspiratorial anti-government beliefs stemming from the anti-government “patriot” movement. In 2007, Story wrote that housing subdivisions existed so that the “powers that be” could easily herd people to “jew controlled concentration camps.” These feelings intensified as it became clear that Barack Obama would be elected president. He urged other white supremacists to stock up on ammo, food, and supplies, and often referred to his AK-47 as his “homeland defense rifle.” According to the criminal complaint, Story believed that martial law would be enacted in the United States, and that if this happened, he would ambush any law enforcement officer who stopped him on the street. His views were disturbingly close to those of another white supremacist and anti-government conspiracy theorist, Richard Poplawski, who ambushed and killed three Pittsburgh police officers in April 2009.

Story also frequently wrote about Obama, whom he loathed, being assassinated, often adopting a coy tone, such as one November 2008 posting in which he claimed that “I’m not advocating violence against him, I’m just saying there are White folks out there that are none to[o] happy with his ‘election.’”

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