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March 2, 2016

While Vying For Attention, Small California Klan Encounters Conflict

The Loyal White Knights (LWK) had every intention of holding a “White Lives Do Matter” protest on Saturday, February 27, 2016, at Pearson Park in Anaheim, California. But before the event could kick off, a bloody brawl erupted between Klan supporters and counter-protesters.

Klansmen, barely able to exit their cars, were suddenly swarmed by counter-protesters who wrestled Bill Hagan, the California LWK’s Grand Dragon, to the ground. Other Klan members were similarly attacked, and as the chaos continued, Klan members stabbed three counter-protesters, apparently with the tip of a flag pole, leaving one critically wounded.

Six Klansmen were arrested, but they were released on February 29, after law enforcement determined they were acting in self-defense. Seven anti-Klan-protesters were booked by the Anaheim Police Department on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and for elder abuse (after stomping on a senior Klan member).

(At any potentially inflammatory protest, separating the protesters from any counter-demonstrators is critical – it protects even the most hateful speech while ensuring the safety of everyone involved. This separation was clearly not achieved – or maintained – in Anaheim).

Like other Klan groups around the country, the Loyal White Knights say they represent the increasingly “endangered” white population, which they claim makes up a mere 9 percent of the world’s population. In fact, Klan groups themselves appear to be the only “endangered” entity: The ADL has identified about thirty active Klan groups in the United States, slightly down from the 2014 tally. Most Klan groups range in size from small to very small; chapters are often comprised of a single local member.

As a feint against their diminishing influence, Klan groups continue to use attention-getting stunts to attract publicity.  For example, in 2015 the International Keystone Knights made headlines for appealing an “adopt a highway” court ruling in Georgia while the Knights Party drew media attention after sponsoring a pro-white billboard in Arkansas.

The most common Klan tactic, however, continues to be the use of fliers to broadcast their racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, and increasingly Islamophobic message. In 2015, the ADL counted 85 Klan fliering incidents, an increase from 73 incidents in 2014.  In the last six months, the very small California Loyal White Knights group has caused an outsized stir in a number of California cities, including Whittier, Santa Ana and Anaheim, as neighbors discovered candy and rock-filled bags with pro-Klan messages on their front lawns. As the Anti-Defamation League has previously noted, this leafleting activity is actually a desperate publicity tactic, and reflects Klan groups’ declining stature and membership.

Today’s Klan groups tend to be irresolute, short-lived and in a constant state of flux.More than half of the currently active Klans were formed just in the last five years. While a few longstanding Klans, still exist, they are mere shadows of their former selves. In fact, two prominent Klans disbanded in Late 2015: Mor­ris Gulett’s Louisiana-based Aryan Nations Knights and Ron Edward’s Kentucky-based Imperial Klans of America.

As befits the groups’ shrinking ranks, public Klan events are increasingly rare. There were only two public Klan events of consequence in 2015.  In July, members of the Loyal White Knights and the Trinity White Knights joined members of the neo-Nazi Nationalist Socialist Movement in protesting the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina State House.  In March, approximately 20 Klansmen rallied in Montgomery, Alabama, at an event honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.

In the 1920s, according to some historical accounts, Anaheim’s Pearson Park was the site of events that attracted upwards of 20,000 Klan supporters. This past weekend’s protests and violence involved six Klan supporters — and while that certainly epitomizes the state of today’s Klan, the group’s historical baggage and undeniable notoriety means that even one Klan member has the potential to spark considerable pain and upset.

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January 26, 2016

Failed White Supremacist Leaders Form New Christian Identity Group

Two leaders of the white supremacist movement, Paul Mullet of Bainbridge, Ohio, and Billy Roper of Mountain View, Arkansas, have joined forces to form a new group, Divine Truth Ministries and its “political arm,” the Nation of True Israel.  Both men have struggled for years to establish themselves in the movement and to recruit followers.

Mullet and Roper practice Christian Identity, a virulently racist and anti-Semitic religion. They believe not only that whites of European descent can be traced back to the “Lost Tribes of Israel,” but that Jews descended from a union between Eve and Satan. In addition to their Christian Identity beliefs, both men have embraced neo-Nazi ideology.

Symbol of Divine Truth Ministries, left, and Aryan Nations, right

Symbol of Divine Truth Ministries, left, and Aryan Nations, right

A late December press release by Roper announced they were “carrying forward the ideals and values of Aryan Nations under a new banner.” In the 1990s, Aryan Nations was one of the largest and most active neo-Nazi groups in the country, as well as a major Christian Identity group.

Presumably Mullet and Roper hope to capitalize on the small void left by the recent dissolution of Morris Gulett’s Louisiana-based faction of Aryan Nations. Gulett’s group was one of a number of factions that formed after the 2004 death of Richard Butler, the founder of Aryan Nations.

It is no surprise that Mullet and Roper’s first course of business has been to demonize Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Earlier this month, just days before the federal holiday marking Dr. King’s birthday, they sponsored a “Day of Education,” which encouraged all “white nationalists” to distribute anti-King flyers and literature alleging that King, among other things, was a plagiarist and communist.

They are also organizing an April march at Georgia’s Stone Mountain Park to protest legislation that would allow changes to existing Confederate displays and monuments, as well as a plan by the Stone Mountain Memorial Association to install a monument in King’s honor. Following the march, they are also planning a white power music event at a different venue.

Despite their ideological beginnings with prominent neo-Nazi groups, Mullet and Roper, just a year apart in age, have struggled to make their mark in the white supremacist world. Mullet started with Richard Butler’s Aryan Nations, while Roper, who came from a family of Klansmen, got his start with William Pierce and the National Alliance. In the early 2000s, Butler and Pierce died, leaving the neo-Nazi movement in disarray and both Mullet and Roper untethered.

Shortly after Pierce’s death, Roper, forced out by the remaining leaders of the National Alliance, started his own neo-Nazi group, White Revolution. Despite years of effort, White Revolution never amounted to anything more than a tiny propaganda group and Roper shut it down in 2011. For the last several years, Roper was active with Thomas Robb’s Arkansas-based Klan group, the Knights Party.

Mullet also experienced failures as he attempted to start several neo-Nazi and Christian Identity groups in the years following Butler’s death. His worst loss came in 2011 when Morris Gulett usurped a faction of the Aryan Nations that Mullet had founded in 2009. In 2011, Mullet attempted a comeback with the American National Socialist Party, but it also failed.

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January 3, 2013

White Supremacists Plan Anti-Immigration Rallies Nationwide in February 2013

White supremacists from around the United States are planning to hold “Free America” rallies opposing “illegal immigration” on February 23, 2013.

A post on the white supremacist Internet forum Stormfront mentions scheduled rallies in central California, Oregon, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Washington/Idaho, West Virginia, New York and Pennsylvania. According to the post, Harry Bertram, who ran for governor of West Virginia under the white supremacist American Third Position (A3P) ticket in 2012, is organizing the West Virginia rally.

The main website providing information about the February 2013 “Free America” rallies appears to be run by California-based white supremacist Michael Myers. He has a long history of involvement in white supremacist organizations including the Golden State Skinheads, a racist skinhead group very active in the white power music scene in California. Myers is also affiliated with A3P.

In addition, Myers was the lead organizer for the South African Project (SAP), a coordinated—and largely unsuccessful–effort by white supremacists, in February 2012, to bring attention to the alleged “genocide” of white South African farmers. He led the SAP protest in Sacramento, California.

An earlier website set up for the anti-immigrant rallies listed a different date and contact persons. One contact listed on the previous website was “Milissa Schidecker,” who was designated as the point person for the Louisiana protests. It appears that “Milissa Schidecker” is in fact Milissa Gulett, the wife of Morris Gulett, a well-known white supremacist.

The Guletts recently returned to Louisiana where Morris set up the new headquarters for his faction of the neo-Nazi organization Aryan Nations. Though Milissa Gullet’s (or Schidecker’s) name does not appear on the new website, her Facebook page reveals that she “liked” the event page set up for the February 23 “Free America” rallies. It is unclear at this time whether the Guletts are planning to have a rally on February 23 in Louisiana.

For many years, white supremacists have attempted to use the issue of immigration as a way to tap into the American mainstream. Their efforts in this area have not been successful.

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