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February 25, 2015 6

White Supremacist Gangs: A Growing Problem in Missouri

missouri-white-supremacist-gangs

Mis­souri white suprema­cist gangs

Mis­souri has had long expe­ri­ence with white suprema­cists rang­ing from neo-Nazis to the Ku Klux Klan, but in recent years a new threat has emerged in the Show Me state:   white suprema­cist prison gangs.   Some states have been plagued by such gangs for years, but until recently, Mis­souri had only a lim­ited expe­ri­ence with them.

Now, how­ever, there are a num­ber of white suprema­cist gangs active in Mis­souri, typ­i­cally emerg­ing in pris­ons and jails, then expand­ing onto the streets. These gangs com­bine the crim­i­nal know-how of orga­nized crime with the big­oted ide­ol­ogy of hate groups.

Law enforce­ment has been increas­ingly con­cerned about the spread of such gangs in Mis­souri. Unfor­tu­nately, recent events have jus­ti­fied that con­cern. On Jan­u­ary 26, 2015, a mem­ber of the South­west Honkies gang, Joshua Lee Hagood, shot a Spring­field police offi­cer in the head while police were inves­ti­gat­ing a sus­pi­cious van. The offi­cer sus­tained career-ending injuries. This was actu­ally the sec­ond offi­cer shoot­ing in Spring­field related to the gang. In 2013, Honkies mem­ber Mar­tin Potts wounded another offi­cer dur­ing a shootout before offi­cers fatally shot Potts.

Police have not been the only Mis­souri­ans at risk. In Feb­ru­ary, two South­west Honkies mem­bers, Aaron Williams and Austin Pierce, were charged with a hate crime after allegedly threat­en­ing to kill an African-American woman and her chil­dren while try­ing to break into her house. In Jan­u­ary, a mem­ber of the Joplin Honkies received a seven-year prison sen­tence for assault and aban­don­ing a corpse.

Gangs like the Joplin and South­west Honkies are grow­ing in Mis­souri. Accom­pa­ny­ing that growth is increased crime, typ­i­cally tra­di­tional crimes like home inva­sions or drug-related crime (gangs are often involved with the metham­phet­a­mine trade). Crim­i­nal gain tends to trump white supremacy, but gangs can engage in hate-related vio­lence, too. Gangs often embrace a cruder form of white supremacy than neo-Nazi or Klan groups, but have larger memberships.

There are five main white suprema­cist gangs oper­at­ing in Missouri:

  • Sacred Sep­a­ratist Group (SSG): The Anti-Defamation League first encoun­tered the SSG in 2005, but it has grown con­sid­er­ably in recent years. Like some of the other gangs, it orig­i­nated in the West­ern Mis­souri Cor­rec­tional Cen­ter. ADL has iden­ti­fied mem­bers of this fairly large gang from all over Mis­souri. SSG mem­bers have asso­ci­ated with mem­bers of all the gangs listed here.
  • Joplin Honkies: The Joplin Honkies orig­i­nated behind bars around the same time as SSG. Orig­i­nally, mem­bers called them­selves the Joplin Boys. The Honkies are con­cen­trated in south­west Mis­souri, espe­cially around Joplin and Spring­field.   The ADL has iden­ti­fied dozens of active mem­bers of the Joplin Honkies, but their true num­bers are higher. Off­shoot gangs include the South­west Honkies and the 417 Honkies.
  • Peck­er­wood Mid­west: Mem­bers of this gang have been iden­ti­fied in both east­ern and west­ern Mis­souri, as well as across the south­ern part of the state (Spring­field to Cape Girardeau). ADL has iden­ti­fied at least 34 mem­bers and asso­ciates of this gang, though again, actual num­bers are con­sid­er­ably higher.
  • Fam­ily Val­ues: Fam­ily Val­ues is a smaller gang and not all mem­bers are hard­core white suprema­cists (some even asso­ciate with non-whites). How­ever, a num­ber of iden­ti­fied mem­bers do use com­mon white suprema­cist sym­bols such as swastikas, SS bolts, 14 and 88. A num­ber of gang mem­bers live in or around St. Louis and Springfield.
  • Aryan Cir­cle (AC):The Aryan Cir­cle is not native to Mis­souri but to Texas, where it is one of the largest white suprema­cist prison gangs. It has expanded into a num­ber of other states, recently mov­ing into Mis­souri largely as a result of recruit­ment from Indi­ana and gang mem­bers from fed­eral prison who returned or moved to Mis­souri. ADL has iden­ti­fied at least 23 active mem­bers and asso­ciates of Aryan Cir­cle in Mis­souri, espe­cially in north­east Missouri.

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November 26, 2014 1

Arrested Black Panther Also Involved in Sovereign Citizen Movement

Update — 4/2/15: Ola­ju­won Davis and Bran­don Orlando Bald­win were indicted on addi­tional charges involv­ing the con­spir­acy to use bombs to com­mit “vio­lent acts”  and the ille­gal pur­chase of firearms.

Fed­eral agents arrested two New Black Pan­ther Party mem­bers (NBPP) in St. Louis on Novem­ber 21, accus­ing Ola­ju­won Ali and Bran­don Bald­win of ille­gal straw pur­chases of hand­guns.  Some media have cited anony­mous sources alleg­ing that the pair also attempted to pur­chase pipe bombs.olajuwon-ali-document

One of the accused, Ola­ju­won Ali, 22, is the head of the NBPP’s St. Louis Chap­ter, but he also has been active in a very dif­fer­ent extrem­ist move­ment:  the anti-government “sov­er­eign cit­i­zen” movement.

The sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment has expe­ri­enced rapid recent growth, par­tic­u­larly in its Afro-centric “Moor­ish” off­shoot.  “Moor­ish” sov­er­eigns emerged in the mid-1990s when mem­bers of the Moor­ish Sci­ence Tem­ple (MST), a reli­gious sect, attempted to meld their beliefs with that of the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment.  Sov­er­eign beliefs have since spread widely among MST adher­ents, and later to other African-Americans, bring­ing new adher­ents to what his­tor­i­cally has been con­sid­ered a right-wing extrem­ist movement.

Ali is typ­i­cal of many new recruits to the “Moor­ish” move­ment.  Although there is evi­dence that Ali may have encoun­tered sov­er­eign cit­i­zen ide­ol­ogy as early as 2010, when still a teenager, it was in April 2013 that he for­mally joined the move­ment, fil­ing an “Abju­ra­tion of Cit­i­zen­ship” doc­u­ment declar­ing him­self  an “aboriginal/indigenous, free Sov­er­eign Moor – Nat­ural Per­son of the Land.”

The doc­u­ment, as well as a Moor­ish iden­ti­fi­ca­tion card that Ali has used, appear to come from an influ­en­tial New Jersey-based Moor­ish group led by R. V. Bey.  One of the sig­na­tures on the doc­u­ment seems to be that of one of R. V. Bey’s promi­nent disciples.

Another sig­na­ture on Ali’s doc­u­ment belongs to Kusu ra Kush Bey, aka Chester Wil­son, a St. Louis-based Moor­ish sov­er­eign.  In the same month that Ali filed his “abju­ra­tion,” the FBI arrested Wil­son for his alleged involve­ment in a major multi-state car theft ring.

Ali him­self had a brush with the law only months after declar­ing his sov­er­eignty.  In June 2013, St. Louis police arrested Ali for tres­pass­ing, resist­ing arrest and dis­turb­ing the peace fol­low­ing an inci­dent in which Ali allegedly attempted to use a Moor­ish iden­ti­fi­ca­tion card at a con­ve­nience store to demand “tax-free” pur­chases.  Ali, tased dur­ing the inci­dent, later described his arrest as “unlaw­ful” and him­self as a “vic­tim of police brutality.”

Ali’s legal trou­bles took up much of his time, but he found a new source for activism fol­low­ing the fatal shoot­ing of Michael Brown in Fer­gu­son in August 2014.  That month, Ali, call­ing him­self a “Min­is­ter of Jus­tice and Law,” offered a “Lessons of Law Class (Post-Mike Brown)” to inform African-Americans of their “Con­sti­tu­tional, Uni­ver­sal Human, and Indige­nous Rights.”

The shoot­ing also gave Ali an oppor­tu­nity to join NBPP activism with Moor­ish activism.  On August 13, Ali com­posed a lengthy, sovereign-style “Affi­davit of Fact” directed to the mayor of Fer­gu­son  in which he asserted that claims the NBPP had encour­aged vio­lence were “false pro­pa­ganda [sic]” released by “Euro­pean owned” media sta­tions.  He also accused the city of Fer­gu­son with the “GENOCIDE AND MURDER OF Abo­rig­i­nal Indige­nous Amer­i­can Michael Brown Jr.”

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July 9, 2014 14

White Supremacist “Mantra” Literature Appears In Seattle Neighborhood

mantra-seattle-front

Post­card front

Res­i­dents of the Capi­tol Hill neigh­bor­hood of Seat­tle recently found them­selves the recip­i­ents of a white suprema­cist lit­er­a­ture dis­tri­b­u­tion. Some­one had gone up and down streets in the area on June 30, plac­ing racist post­cards on the wind­shields of cars parked along the street.

mantras-eattle-back

Post­card back

The post­cards were designed to exploit gay pride events held in Seat­tle the pre­vi­ous week­end, includ­ing the 40th annual Seat­tle Pride Parade and Seat­tle Pride­Fest 2014, the lat­ter held only a few blocks from where the post­cards were dis­trib­uted. The post­card fronts fea­tured a rain­bow image, the word “Seat­tle,” and the phrases “Rain­bow Pride” and “40 YEARS of fab­u­lous,” the lat­ter a ref­er­ence to the parade.

How­ever, the back of the post­cards was starkly dif­fer­ent, dis­play­ing in large let­ters the white suprema­cist slo­gan “’Diver­sity’ is a code word for white geno­cide.” The post­card text claimed anti-racists are “anti-white” and that they sup­port non-whites “pour[ing] into EVERY White coun­try” to inter­marry with whites, thus extin­guish­ing the white race. The pride-related front was sim­ply cam­ou­flage for the racist mes­sage on the back.

This mes­sage was not ran­dom but rather the stan­dard lan­guage used by white suprema­cist sup­port­ers of the “Mantra.” The “Mantra” is a white suprema­cist pro­pa­ganda cam­paign based on the idea of end­lessly repeat­ing cer­tain lan­guage and select slo­gans in the hopes that whites will even­tu­ally be recep­tive to them. The two most com­mon slo­gans asso­ci­ated with the “Mantra” are “Anti-racist is a code for anti-white” and “Diver­sity is a code word for white geno­cide,” both of which appear on the Seat­tle postcards.

In recent years, white suprema­cist use of “Mantra”-style pro­pa­ganda has steadily increased, as racist activists dis­play it on bill­boards, on free­way over­passes, as graf­fiti, and across the Inter­net. Just a few days after the Seat­tle inci­dent, sev­eral white suprema­cists in Port­land, Ore­gon, pick­eted the offices of an orga­ni­za­tion devoted to help­ing immi­grants and refugees, dis­play­ing signs and ban­ners that repeated the “Mantra” slogans.

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