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November 10, 2015

Virginia White Supremacists Arrested; Plot Against Jews Alleged

Ronald Chaney from Facebook

Ronald Chaney (Facebook)

FBI agents have arrested three eastern Virginia men on weapons and robbery conspiracy charges in connection with an alleged terrorist plot to attack Jewish and African-American religious institutions and conduct “acts of violence against persons of the Jewish faith.”

The three men, Robert Curtis Doyle and Ronald Beasley Chaney III, charged with conspiracy to possess firearms despite felony convictions, and Charles Daniel Halderman, charged with conspiracy to commit robbery, are white supremacists with past criminal records. They all are from the greater Richmond area.

According to criminal complaints, a meeting took place at Doyle’s house in September “to discuss…shooting or bombing the occupants of black churches and Jewish synagogues.” Doyle allegedly discussed criminal acts they could employ for getting money with which to carry out their plans, including robbing and killing a jewelry dealer, committing an armored car robbery, and attacking a gun store owner. The proceeds would allegedly be used to buy land and weapons and to train “for the coming race war.”

The following month, Doyle and Chaney allegedly met with an undercover FBI agent to purchase weapons and explosives from the agent. FBI agents arrested the three at their homes on November 8.

All three suspects have lengthy criminal histories, including crimes of violence. Chaney, for example, pleaded guilty in 2006 to a number of charges related to an attempted robbery and subsequent shootout with the intended victims. He was released from his most recent prison stay in the spring of 2015.

The men may have met in prison, where all were designated by prison officials as white supremacists while in custody. According to the FBI, the suspects were adherents of a white supremacist variety of Asatruism. Asatru is the most common name given to the modern revival of ancient Norse paganism. Most Asatruists are not white supremacists, but a minority are, often referring to themselves by terms such as Odinists or Wotanists.

Halderman and Doyle both have Asatru tattoos, as well as white supremacist tattoos, while Chaney identifies himself as Asatruist on his Facebook profile.

White supremacists have been involved in many of the right-wing terrorist conspiracies and acts in recent decades.   Many white supremacist terrorist plots and acts involve attacks against Jewish targets, as most white supremacists view Jews as their “ultimate enemy.”

 

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August 26, 2015

Judge Thwarts Anti-Semitic Killer’s Attempt At Show Trial

As opening statements and testimony began this week in Olathe, Kansas, in the murder trial of white supremacist Frazier Glenn Miller (also known as Frazier Glenn Cross), the defense strategy of the former Klansman—who is representing himself—became clear.

Frazier Glenn Miller mugshot

Frazier Glenn Miller mugshot

Miller, who has admitted committing a shooting spree at two Jewish institutions in Overland Park, Kansas, in April 2014 that killed three people, including one child, indicated his intentions with his opening statements on August 24. Miller asserted to the jury that the murders were justified, describing his actions that day as “well-intentioned” and claiming that he had “good, moral reasons” for the slayings.

These statements echoed earlier remarks by Miller before the trial that he would attempt a “necessity” defense, claiming that the shootings were needed to halt the “Jewish genocide of the white race.” Though Miller had admitted that his intentions were to shoot Jews, none of the victims he killed at the Jewish institutions turned out to be Jewish.

Miller told the jury that white people “have a right to survive” and the right to preserve our heritage…and a safe future for white children.” This was a reference to the “14 Words,” a popular white supremacist slogan: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” It refers to the widespread white supremacist belief that the white race is threatened with extinction because of a rising tide of non-white peoples who are controlled and manipulated by Jews.

However, Miller did not get far in his effort at an anti-Semitic show trial before Judge Kelly Ryan stopped him. Judge Ryan had earlier ruled that Miller could not introduce his anti-Semitic conspiracy theories into the guilt phase of the trial, which was to determine whether a crime had been committed, not why. The judge said that Miller could make such arguments during the penalty phase of the trial, if he were convicted.

As witnesses began to testify, Miller found other ways to introduce his anti-Semitic views, such as bringing certain books to court with him. At one point he had a copy of his own, self-printed autobiography, A White Man Speaks Out, displayed on the defense table. Another time during the trial he held up a book for people to see: They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel’s Lobby, an anti-Israel book written by Paul Findley, a long-time anti-Israel activist, in 1985.

Miller was a prominent white supremacist in the 1970s and 1980s, at one point heading a large Ku Klux Klan group, but the white supremacist movement ostracized him for providing testimony in a criminal case against other white supremacists. Miller has spent most of the past 15 years trying to get back in the graces of the movement, with little success. His shooting spree was apparently a final attempt.

Miller’s Overland Park attack was only one of a number of deadly shooting sprees by white supremacists in recent years. These and other murders have made white supremacists the most deadly extremist movement in the country, as detailed in ADL’s recent report, With Hate in their Hearts: The State of White Supremacy in the United States.

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June 19, 2015

Murders in Charleston Again Demonstrate the Tragic Impact of Hate Violence

The horrible murders of nine parishioners during a June 17 evening prayer meeting at the historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina seem like a nightmare.  But they were real – horrific and senseless.  And they were hate crimes.  The nature of the shootings, the specific location, the targeted victims, statements allegedly made by the suspect, and a Facebook profile of the suspect wearing white supremacist symbols all indicate this tragedy was motivated by racial bias.

It is noteworthy that these race-based murders happened in one of only five states that has yet to enact a hate crimes law.  The time has come for that to change.

AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton

AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton

Obviously, convicted murderers already face the most severe penalties under the law in every state.    But hate crimes laws have a significance that extends beyond the tougher sentences they permit.  They are a strong societal response to crimes specifically intended to intimidate the victim and members of the victim’s community.  By making members of minority communities fearful, angry, and suspicious of other groups – and of the power structure that is supposed to protect them – these message crimes can damage the fabric of our society and fragment communities.

The FBI and law enforcement officials recognize the special impact of hate crimes.  The FBI has been collecting hate crime data from the 18,000 police agencies across the country since 1990.   In 2013, the most recent FBI data available, almost 6,000 hate crimes were reported by over 15,000 police departments – almost one every 90 minutes of every day.  Race-based hate crimes were most frequent, crimes committed against gay men and lesbians second, and religion-based crimes were third most frequent, with anti-Jewish crimes a disturbing 61% of all reported religion-based crimes.

Federal and state hate crime laws are an important demonstration that our society recognizes the unique impact of hate violence.  45 states and the District of Columbia now have enacted hate crime laws, many based on the ADL Model Law drafted in 1981.  The only five states without a penalty-enhancing hate crime law are Arkansas, Indiana, Georgia, Wyoming – and South Carolina.

Attorney General Lynch has announced that the Department of Justice has opened its own hate crime investigation of this terrible crime – under federal criminal civil rights laws, including the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.  That essential federal statute is an important bulwark, but it is not a substitute for state hate crimes laws.   South Carolina is in mourning now, as we all are.  One of the most constructive ways for the state to move forward would be to join 45 other states who already have hate crimes laws.

We need to be realistic.  We cannot legislate, regulate, or tabulate an end to racism, anti-Semitism, or bigotry.  Complementing federal and state hate crime laws and prevention initiatives, governments must promote early learning and continuing education against bias and discrimination in schools and the community.   Strong, inclusive laws, and effective responses to hate violence by public officials and law enforcement authorities, however, are essential components in deterring and preventing these crimes.  

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