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July 2, 2015 0

Confederate heritage group denounces extremists, but has them in ranks

The Sons of Con­fed­er­ate Vet­er­ans (SCV), a so-called Con­fed­er­ate “her­itage” group, recently denounced the deci­sion of the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, a North Carolina-based Klan group, to hold a July 2015 protest in front of the South Car­olina state­house in Columbia.

Missouri CCC members receive SVC awards

Mis­souri CCC mem­bers receive SVC awards

Accord­ing to a press release issued by the SCV, the group’s mem­ber­ship “vehe­mently oppose[s] and denounce[s] this hate­ful and divi­sive event.” The SCV also trum­peted what it referred to as its “strictly enforced ‘hate’ pol­icy,” claim­ing that any­one with ties to any racist orga­ni­za­tion or hate group is denied mem­ber­ship and will be “imme­di­ately expelled.” The state­ment was attrib­uted to Charles Kelly Bar­row, the “commander-in-chief” of the SCV.

One may legit­i­mately won­der how “strictly enforced” the SCV’s “hate” pol­icy actu­ally is. After all, one of the major fig­ures in the SCV for many years has been Kirk Lyons, who has played a major role in the politi­ciza­tion of the SCV dur­ing that span. For decades, Lyons has been a friend to and rep­re­sented numer­ous white suprema­cists in court cases, once describ­ing him­self as an “active sym­pa­thizer” of their causes. Lyons has also spo­ken to or before a vari­ety of extrem­ist groups, rang­ing from the white suprema­cist web­site Storm­front to the equally white suprema­cist Coun­cil of Con­ser­v­a­tive Cit­i­zens (CCC).

The SCV has its own CCC prob­lem. The con­nec­tions between the “her­itage” group and the white suprema­cist group—the lat­ter allegedly a source of edu­ca­tion and inspi­ra­tion for Charleston church shoot­ing sus­pect Dylann Storm Roof—are exten­sive. In Jan­u­ary 2014, for exam­ple, three mem­bers of the Coun­cil of Con­ser­v­a­tive Cit­i­zens, includ­ing its founder and leader Gor­don Lee Baum (who died in March 2015), all of whom were SCV mem­bers, received “SCV War Vet­eran Medals” from one of the group’s Mis­souri chap­ters. Another CCC founder, Leonard Wil­son, who died in 2013, was an SCV mem­ber and the for­mer Alabama state com­man­der of the SCV.

In 2014, SCV mem­ber (and for­mer Ten­nessee state com­man­der) Gene Andrews spoke at the CCC’s annual national con­fer­ence. Andrews also con­tributed an arti­cle to the CCC web­site in 2010. In 2009 and 2011, Cecil Fayard, then the “National Chap­lain” of the SCV, spoke before the Car­roll County, Mis­sis­sippi, chap­ter of the CCC. In 2008, SCV mem­ber John Flip­pin, also a CCC mem­ber, spoke before the Web­ster County, Mis­sis­sippi, chap­ter. These are just a few exam­ples of SCV-CCC crossover.

Even Charles Kelly Bar­row, the cur­rent com­man­der, may have had extrem­ist ties. Accord­ing to a 2002 South­ern Poverty Law Cen­ter report, Bar­row was a mem­ber of the League of the South, a neo-Confederate hate group that has recently orga­nized protests that have included neo-Nazis and issued dire warn­ings of “race war.”

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June 4, 2015 13

League of the South and Neo-Nazis Join Forces in Kentucky

Mem­bers of the neo-Confederate League of the South (LOS) joined together with neo-Nazis and other white suprema­cists on May 30 for a “Feds Out of Ken­tucky” rally in Alexan­dria, Ken­tucky, a few miles south­east of Cincinnati.

League of the South, Alexandria, KY

“Feds Out of Ken­tucky” rally in Alexan­dria, KY

The rally was orga­nized by Cole­man Lacy, a young mem­ber of the LOS from the local area who serves as the group’s “state chairman.”

In addi­tion, Geof­frey Rash, the Ken­tucky leader of the neo-Nazi National Social­ist Move­ment (NSM) and also a local res­i­dent, brought mem­bers to the event. After­wards, Rash stated that it was good for the LOS and the NSM to work together “to rid this coun­try, start­ing with our own states, of the Zion­ist Jewry that decays our peo­ple, our states and our nation.”

Though the LOS pro­moted the event, only about 14 peo­ple took part in the rally, wav­ing flags and anti-government signs.

How­ever, the sig­nif­i­cance of the event was not in its size.

Rather, the Alexan­dria rally marked the com­ple­tion of the LOS’s grad­ual trans­for­ma­tion from a neo-Confederate group that typ­i­cally denied hav­ing racist ties into an unabashed white suprema­cist group.

The LOS has had ties to other hate groups in the past but fre­quently denied such ties or dis­tanced itself from hate groups when ties were actu­ally pub­li­cized. In 2005, fol­low­ing the dev­as­ta­tion of Hur­ri­cane Kat­rina on the Gulf Coast, mem­bers of both the NSM and White Rev­o­lu­tion announced the LOS’s coop­er­a­tion in pro­vid­ing assis­tance to “white only” vic­tims of the hur­ri­cane. The LOS later said that it did not take part in or endorse such measures—though it did post “whites only” offers of assis­tance on its own website.

As recently as 2013, the LOS expelled a mem­ber, Matthew Heim­bach (also head of the Tra­di­tion­al­ist Youth Net­work, a small white suprema­cist group), for attend­ing a neo-Nazi event in Ken­tucky. How­ever, in another sign of the trans­for­ma­tion of the LOS into an explic­itly white suprema­cist group, Heim­bach was back inside the folds of the LOS within a year. Heim­bach attended the Alexan­dria rally.

Behind the grow­ing rad­i­cal­iza­tion of the LOS is none other than its founder and long­time leader, Michael Hill. Once a col­lege his­tory pro­fes­sor, by 2011, Hill was urg­ing his fol­low­ers to arm them­selves and “join the resis­tance.” The LOS began offer­ing mem­bers weapons train­ing around this time.

Protests by African-American com­mu­ni­ties in 2015 in the wake of highly-publicized police shoot­ings moved Hill even fur­ther into bla­tant white supremacy. In May 2015, Michael Hill declared his deter­mi­na­tion to par­tic­i­pate in a race war if “negroes,” egged on by the “largely Jewish-Progressive owned media,” engaged in “black rage.” Hill warned that “if negroes think a ‘race war’ in mod­ern Amer­ica would be to their advan­tage, they had bet­ter pre­pare them­selves for a very rude awak­en­ing.” On June 1, Hill openly declared that “our South­ern fore­bears” who opposed civil rights for African-Americans “were right.”

With a leader spout­ing tirades about race war and fol­low­ers openly cavort­ing with neo-Nazis and other white suprema­cists, there can be no fur­ther doubt that the League of the South, despite its past denials, is any­thing other than an explic­itly white suprema­cist organization.

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May 21, 2015 5

Texas County Considers Adopting Militia Group

Update — 6/2/15: Orange County Judge Brint Carl­ton later told the Anti-Defamation League that he has no inten­tion of cre­at­ing a county militia.

A south­east Texas county has drawn atten­tion recently after it became known that county offi­cials were con­sid­er­ing adopt­ing a local anti-government mili­tia group as an offi­cial “county mili­tia.” Orange County Judge Brint Carl­ton endorsed the idea, call­ing it a “good thing.”

David W. Smith

David W. Smith

County com­mis­sion­ers decided at the last minute to post­pone the vote after a com­mis­sioner voiced reser­va­tions, say­ing he needed more information.

The mili­tia move­ment is an anti-government cause whose adher­ents believe that the U.S. gov­ern­ment is col­lab­o­rat­ing with a shad­owy “New World Order” con­spir­acy to strip Amer­i­cans of their free­doms, start­ing with their right to bear arms, in order to even­tu­ally enslave Amer­i­cans to the New World Order. The mili­tia move­ment has a long his­tory of vio­lence and crim­i­nal acts; the Anti-Defamation League has tracked at least eight vio­lent acts, con­spir­a­cies or major crimes linked to the mili­tia move­ment just since 2011.

How­ever, David W. Smith, the “com­man­der” of the Golden Tri­an­gle Mili­tia, a small south­east­ern Texas mili­tia group formed in 2014, has lob­bied county offi­cials to adopt his mili­tia group, even­tu­ally get­ting some support.

Though Smith has claimed to reporters that his Golden Tri­an­gle Mili­tia is not anti-government but rather a “civil defense force which works with law enforce­ment,” to his own group he has showed a more con­spir­a­to­r­ial side, argu­ing that “we must never let ourselves…be com­pla­cent to the schemes of the world elit­ists” and demand­ing that Amer­i­cans “rid our­selves of tyran­ni­cal government.”

Smith, a for­mer phle­botomist who now sells “mono­lithic domes,” has expressed sup­port for views that are far from the main­stream. Through his Face­book pro­file, he is linked to a wide vari­ety of extrem­ist groups and fig­ures, from anti-government con­spir­acy the­o­rist Alex Jones (who pop­u­lar­ized the recent notion that the fed­eral gov­ern­ment was plan­ning to invade Texas) to var­i­ous Three Per­center groups (anti-government extrem­ists who view them­selves fight­ing against the fed­eral gov­ern­ment as Amer­i­can colonists fought against the British). Smith ran for U.S. sen­ate in 2014 on a plat­form of oppos­ing “this uncon­sti­tu­tional de facto government.”

Iron­i­cally, Texas law has no pro­vi­sion to allow its coun­ties to cre­ate county mili­tias. Smith has argued that Texas law allows Orange County to “rec­og­nize” his unit as the “Orange County Ready Reserve Mili­tia.” How­ever, the Texas Reserve Mili­tia is only a statu­tory man­power pool that exists to con­form to an obso­lete fed­eral mili­tia law dat­ing back orig­i­nally to 1792. The­o­ret­i­cally, the gov­er­nor of Texas can call por­tions of the reserve mili­tia into ser­vice in times of emer­gency by hav­ing county emer­gency boards insti­tute a draft. Such boards have no power to call up the reserve mili­tia on their own, how­ever, much less “adopt” para­mil­i­tary groups. The self-styled “mili­tias” of today have no legal rela­tion­ship to the his­tor­i­cal and statu­tory militia.

Despite this, Smith has claimed that coun­ties have the author­ity to orga­nize the Texas Reserve Mili­tia. He has also asserted that the mili­tia could come into ser­vice “by gen­eral con­sen­sus of the pop­u­la­tion should the state fail in the exe­cu­tion of its con­sti­tu­tional duties.” Smith has even claimed that county com­mis­sion­ers could be jailed if they refused to autho­rize a militia—a seri­ous mis­read­ing of Texas law.

Smith will have to wait to see if Orange County offi­cials sched­ule another vote or aban­don his plan altogether.

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