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September 1, 2015

Deadly Violence, Plots Mark Right-Wing Extremist Courtroom Dramas

Judges and juries in Kansas, California and Georgia have ruled in a trio of important criminal cases involving white supremacists, anti-government sovereign citizens, and militia groups who engaged in violence or conspiracies.

Brent Douglas Cole

Brent Douglas Cole

On Monday, August 31, a jury in Olathe, Kansas, convicted long-time white supremacist Frazier Glenn Miller (also known as Frazier Glenn Cross) on capital murder, attempted murder, assault and weapons charges for his 2014 shooting attack that killed three at Jewish institutions in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park.

Miller, who defended himself, attempted to argue during his trial that he was justified in killing Jews, because they were committing “genocide” against white people. After the jury read its verdict, Miller shouted “Sieg Heil,” while giving a Nazi salute.

In federal court in Sacramento, California, meanwhile, another extremist learned of his fate. Brent Douglas Cole, an adherent of the sovereign citizen movement, received a 29-year, seven-month sentence for his role in a shootout in 2014. Sovereign citizens believe that the government is illegitimate, because a conspiracy long ago subverted the original government and replaced it with a tyrannical one, and that it has no authority over them.

In June 214, a Bureau of Land Management ranger discovered Cole had set up a campsite on public land and had a motorcycle at the campsite that had been reported stolen. When the ranger and a California Highway Patrol officer attempted to impound that motorcycle, as well as one with expired tags, Cole confronted the officers. When one attempted to place handcuffs on Cole, the sovereign citizen opened fire on the officers, injuring both of them, before subsequently giving himself up. He was convicted in February 2015 of assault on a federal officer which inflicted bodily injury and other charges.

Finally, a federal judge in Atlanta, Georgia, sentenced three members of a militia group to prison after they pleaded guilty to conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction. Brian Cannon, Terry Peace and Cory Williamson were members of a north Georgia militia cell that plotted terrorist attacks against the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other government targets, hoping that the government would over-react and, in turn, cause militia groups around the country to rise up in arms.

After an associate of the three men alerted the FBI to the plotters’ intentions, the FBI set up a sting operation. After Peace told the informant that he needed thermite charges and pipe bombs, the informant offered to get the explosives for him. In February 2014, FBI agents arrested the trio of militiamen as the received the (inert) explosive devices from the informant. Their would-be revolution was thwarted.

In many respects, these three incidents collectively highlight the major dangers coming from the extreme right in the 21st Century. Miller engaged in a deadly attack directed against Jews, a perceived “racial enemy.” The shooting spree presaged the even more deadly attack against African-Americans by Dylann Storm Roof in June 2015. Cole engaged in unplanned, spontaneous violence against law enforcement officers—one of the major threats posed by the sovereign citizen movement. And the militiamen in North Georgia engaged in a conspiracy to attack government targets; just the latest in a long series of such plots and conspiracies stemming from the militia movement.

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August 31, 2015

Virginia Shootings Spur White Supremacist Vitriol

Within hours of the deadly August 26 on-air shooting of television reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward in Roanoke, Virginia, the on-line white supremacist world erupted in hateful rhetoric and discussions of violence.vamurderscomment

The shooter, Vester Flanagan (also known as Bryce Williams), was someone whom white supremacists could easily exploit to generate anger. His victims were white; Flanagan was a black, gay man with a history of filing discrimination complaints against former employers, including the television station where the slain journalists worked.

Flanagan killed himself as police caught up to him, but not before he faxed to ABC News a lengthy suicide note/manifesto, detailing a litany of grievances and perceived mistreatment because of his race and sexual orientation. Moreover, in his note he directly referenced the June 2015 Charleston shootings, in which white supremacist Dylann Storm Roof killed nine African-American churchgoers. Flanagan tried to explain his murders—seemingly committed for personal reasons—as a retaliation for Roof’s own killings. Referring to Roof’s hope that a race war would result from his shootings, Flanagan wrote “You want a race war…THEN BRING IT.”

Reactions from the racist right were swift and involved well-worn anti-black and anti-Semitic tropes. Among them: that black people shouldn’t be allowed to own guns, because they have “no impulse control,” and that the victims, as members of the “Jewish media,” deserved to die. And above all, an echo of Roof’s call for race war: The hope that the shootings would spark a “revolution” of whites rising up against their ostensible oppressors (blacks and Jews) and striking back.

The New Order, a small Wisconsin-based neo-Nazi group, presented a typical anti-black response, issuing a statement headlined “White Lives Matter” that described the shootings as a crime committed by “a deranged anti-White Negro” and claimed that “The murder, rape and assault of White people by racist Black criminals is a daily event in the United States.”

Anti-Semitism shaped the responses of many white supremacists. On Stormfront, the large white supremacist discussion forum, poster RedBaron claimed that reporter Parker “was part of the Jew controlled media. The propaganda she helped to put on the air came back to haunt her (to death).” The “Jewish plot” trope was repeated by another Stormfronter: “I don’t think the Jew power structure wants a fully awake white public right now. They’ve been doing everything to drug us into a stupor as they incite blacks to murder us.”

At the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer, poster GuiMaster also had little sympathy for Parker: “But how do we know that this woman was ‘noble?’ She was working for the anti-White media. How aware was she that her job involves spreading communist anti-White hate propaganda?” On Facebook, another white supremacist labeled Parker’s father, who had appeared on Fox News to plead for more gun control measures, a “Zio-Marxist” pushing a “Jewish” agenda.

For many white supremacists, though, it was Flanagan’s reference to “race war” that most exercised them. For them, the sole bright spot in the killings was that they might speed the start of an anticipated racial conflict. At the Daily Stormer, for example, one commenter wrote: “When the ‘race war’ comes, it’s gonna be us killing them in short order.”

On Stormfront, longtime Arkansas white supremacist Billy Roper hoped the killings would “awaken more of our people to see it as the reprisal act it was in a war which is just beginning, in fits and starts, as they so often do.” Meanwhile, on the Facebook page of “American White History Month,” Jon Winslow wrote: “White people! Start rioting now!”

Others seemed interested in actions more serious that rioting. Stormfront poster 14words_of_truth wrote: “People keep asking me ‘when is the race war going to start?’ It started a long time ago; it is not going to start, it is going to change. The change will be that the White Man will start fighting back.”

To which Stormfront editor JackBoot replied, “Well said. So far we can’t escalate from the war of words on our side, and that escalation is long past due. They’ve been spilling our blood for years, and I’m not talking only about the Jews’ proxies. We got a lotta catch-up to play.”

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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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