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July 6, 2016 13

Extremists Make Plans For GOP Convention

Updated July 21, 2016

The GOP con­ven­tion in Cleve­land (July 18–21) is a key oppor­tu­nity for a range of extrem­ists and big­ots who seek pub­lic­ity to voice their sup­port or oppo­si­tion to Don­ald Trump – and their hatred for any­one who dis­agrees with them.

As the Anti-Defamation League has noted, the 2016 U.S. Pres­i­den­tial cam­paign – and one can­di­date in par­tic­u­lar – has elicited unprece­dented lev­els of engage­ment and enthu­si­asm among anti-government and white suprema­cist extrem­ist groups.

The Anti-Defamation League’s Cen­ter on Extrem­ism has been mon­i­tor­ing extrem­ists’ plans to attend the Repub­li­can con­ven­tion in Cleve­land and has shared this infor­ma­tion with fed­eral law enforce­ment agents man­ag­ing secu­rity for the event. We will share new infor­ma­tion with those agents as it becomes available.

The fol­low­ing list of expected atten­dees is var­ied, rang­ing from indi­vid­u­als to orga­nized groups. This reflects the sup­port (and some­times oppo­si­tion) Don­ald Trump receives from a wide range of extrem­ists. It should be noted, there is no indi­ca­tion that Trump  sup­ports these groups.

  • Richard Spencer, who heads the National Pol­icy, a small white suprema­cist think tank, trav­eled to Cleve­land to pro­mote his racist views. Spencer held up a sign say­ing “Wanna Talk to a ‘Racist’? and report­edly said he “wanted to demys­tify white sep­a­ratism” for the peo­ple he encoun­tered in the pub­lic square near the con­ven­tion. Spencer also report­edly attended the “Wake Up!” party hosted by con­ser­v­a­tive activists, which included con­tro­ver­sial speak­ers such as Milos Yiannopou­los and anti-Muslim activists Pamela Geller and Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician.
  • Mem­bers of the anti-refugee vig­i­lante group Sol­diers of Odin USA, spot­ted out­side the con­ven­tion hall in Cleve­land, told a reporter they were there as a “com­mu­nity watch” orga­ni­za­tion and had no plans to con­front any­one unless they sensed “immi­nent dan­ger.” While they claim not to be racist, the Sol­diers of Odin USA are in fact vir­u­lently anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant. The group orig­i­nated in Fin­land, but has attracted thou­sands of mem­bers and admir­ers here in the United States, many of whom are either white suprema­cists or anti-government extremists.
  • Anti-government con­spir­acy the­o­rist Alex Jones spoke at a rally for Trump near the con­ven­tion hall host­ing the RNC, where he accused “glob­al­ists” of try­ing to imple­ment a “world gov­ern­ment.” Jones runs the Infowars web­site where he pro­motes  con­spir­acy the­o­ries such as the idea that the gov­ern­ment is behind the 9/11 ter­ror­ist attacks and  is try­ing to strip Amer­i­cans of their rights, espe­cially their rights to free speech and to own firearms.

  • The Tra­di­tion­al­ist Worker Party is an anti-Semitic, white suprema­cist group run by Matthew Heim­bach and Matt Par­rott.  They report­edly filed per­mits to march in Cleve­land but later announced alter­na­tive plans. Heim­bach showed up out­side the con­ven­tion any­way, voic­ing his dis­ap­proval for Trump, whose poli­cies “don’t go far enough” in advanc­ing white nation­al­ism, and urg­ing fol­low­ers to write in George Lin­coln Rock­well, founder of the Amer­i­can Nazi Party.

  • West­boro Bap­tist Church: Five mem­bers of the ven­omously anti-gayand anti-Semitic Kansas church plan to be in Cleve­land to protest the Repub­li­can Party and to warn atten­dees of the “immi­nent judgment”
    Westboro Baptist Church members at a protest

    West­boro Bap­tist Church mem­bers at a protest

    fac­ing the United States. WBC mem­bers are best known for pick­et­ing the funer­als of fallen U.S. sol­diers, car­ry­ing signs cel­e­brat­ing their deaths (because God hates America’s evil ways). Mem­bers of the church are equal oppor­tu­nity big­ots: They also plan to protest at the Demo­c­ra­tic National Con­ven­tion in Philadel­phia. Expect to see them car­ry­ing their usual signs – express­ing their bound­less, unmoored hatred for every­thing from gay rights to Israel.

  • Blood and Hon­our USA: This racist skin­head group is the Amer­i­can chap­ter of a loose inter­na­tional con­fed­er­a­tion of hard­core racist skin­heads.  Some mem­bers of Blood and Hon­our USA have in the past com­mit­ted vio­lent acts.  One of the group’s lead­ers announced on social media that he and a num­ber of other mem­bers would be in Cleve­land sup­port­ing Trump and wear­ing t-shirts bear­ing the Totenkopf (death’s head) – a sym­bol used by the SS in World War II.

    William Johnson of American Freedom Party

    William John­son of Amer­i­can Free­dom Party

  • Amer­i­can Free­dom Party: This white suprema­cist group is headed by attor­ney William John­son. John­son made head­lines in the spring of 2016 with his “robo­calls” to vot­ers in cru­cial pri­mary states, entreat­ing peo­ple to “defend the white race” by vot­ing for Trump, and again in May when it was revealed that he was on the list of Trump del­e­gates for Cal­i­for­nia. Blam­ing a “data­base error,” the Trump cam­paign removed John­son from its list, but AFP responded with this glee­ful Face­book mes­sage:  “…here’s what they don’t know: we have more delegates!”
  • David Riden (Trump del­e­gate from Ten­nessee): Mem­ber of the anti-government Patriot Move­ment. Riden has said he believes mem­bers of the cur­rent U.S. gov­ern­ment deserve to be killed for “abus­ing the Constitution.”
  • Jim Sta­chowiak:  Mem­ber of the anti-government Patriot Move­ment. This right-wing, rabidly anti-Muslim extrem­ist from Geor­gia will be in Cleve­land to sup­port Don­ald Trump, and has called upon “all mil­i­tary vet­er­ans, law enforce­ment vet­er­ans, fol­lowed by three-percenters, patri­ots,” to “come law­fully armed with lethal and non-lethal weaponry,” has advo­cated for Mecca to be bombed, and has made not par­tic­u­larly veiled threats against Black Lives Mat­ter activists, whom he refers to as “ter­ror­ists.”  Sta­chowiak, a for­mer uni­ver­sity pub­lic safety offi­cer turned mili­tia fan boy and online radio host, has been arrested sev­eral times.

    malik-zulu-shabazz-hashim-nzinga-charleston-south-carolina-june-2015-350x234

    The New Black Pan­ther Party at a protest in Charleston, South Carolina

  • The New Black Pan­ther Party: The NBPP will be in Cleve­land to protest against Don­ald Trump. In the days lead­ing up to the con­ven­tion, the pro­foundly anti-Semitic, black supremacy group will hold a series of protests and work­shops in part­ner­ship with Black Lawyers for Jus­tice, which is headed by for­mer NBPP leader (and cur­rent “spir­i­tual advi­sor”) Malik Zulu Shabazz. The NBPP, which is known for its calls for vio­lence against law enforce­ment, has announced plans to carry guns dur­ing its protests in Cleve­land. The New Black Pan­ther Party is not affil­i­ated with the orig­i­nal Black Pan­ther Party, whose mem­bers have harshly crit­i­cized the NBPP for “hijack­ing” the orig­i­nal group’s message.
  • Anti-Muslim activsts: Pro-LGBT con­ser­v­a­tive activists are host­ing a party called “Wake Up“ at the Repub­li­can Con­ven­tion in Cleve­land on July 19. The event will fea­ture anti-Muslim extrem­ist Pamela Geller and Milo Yiannopou­los, a con­tro­ver­sial fig­ure who report­edly made anti-Semitic com­ments in the past about Jew­ish con­trol of banks and the media. Other fea­tured speak­ers include Geert Wilders, a well-known anti-Muslim Dutch politi­cian, and Ann Coul­ter, a polit­i­cal com­men­ta­tor known for her extreme anti-immigrant posi­tion. Accord­ing to a post on the per­sonal blog of Pamela Geller, “The party is the out­come of dis­cus­sions among a group of gay Repub­li­cans fol­low­ing the tragic mas­sacre at a gay night­club in Orlando in June.” This appears to be an attempt to pro­mote an anti-Muslim agenda among this group of pro-LGBT conservatives.
  • The Oath Keep­ers will be on the ground in Cleve­land, osten­si­bly to “help” patrol the area, as they did with long guns dur­ing the protests in Fer­gu­son, Mis­souri, fol­low­ing the shoot­ing death of Michael Brown. The anti-government extrem­ist group’s web­site has denounced “rad­i­cals’” plans to protest at the con­ven­tion, and calls for vol­un­teers to par­tic­i­pate in “Oper­a­tion North Coast,” an “intel­li­gence gath­er­ing” effort. This hyper-militarized lan­guage is typ­i­cal of the Oath Keep­ers, who recruit from the mil­i­tary and law enforce­ment in their efforts to build a force capa­ble of resist­ing “gov­ern­ment overreach.”

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April 17, 2014 2

Westboro Baptist Church to Picket Kansas Shooting Victims’ Funerals

Shirley-Phelps-RoperThe vir­u­lently anti-gay, anti-Semitic West­boro Bap­tist Church has announced that it plans to picket the April 18 funer­als of two of the vic­tims allegedly killed by white suprema­cist Fra­zier Glenn Miller in Over­land Park, Kansas. The group sent out faxes, includ­ing to sev­eral Anti-Defamation League offices, declar­ing their inten­tion to protest at the funerals.

West­boro, based in Topeka, Kansas, is noto­ri­ous for hold­ing up hate­ful signs near the funer­als of sol­diers killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. They also draw atten­tion to them­selves by protest­ing at funer­als of vic­tims who were killed or died under other tragic circumstances.

Despite the March 2014 death of Westboro’s founder and leader, Fred Phelps, the group is clearly con­tin­u­ing his legacy of hate and divisiveness.

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March 20, 2014 3

What Next for the Westboro Baptist Church?

fred phelpsThe vir­u­lently homo­pho­bic, anti-Semitic West­boro Bap­tist Church (WBC) is enter­ing a new stage now that founder and patri­arch Fred Phelps, Sr., has died. An estranged son, Nate Phelps, who first described his father’s impend­ing death on Face­book, also claimed that WBC mem­bers excom­mu­ni­cated the senior Phelps in August 2013.

WBC would not con­firm whether Fred Phelps had been excom­mu­ni­cated, assert­ing that infor­ma­tion on WBC’s mem­ber­ship was pri­vate. A March 16 press release on the group’s web­site stated that the group has no sin­gu­lar leader but is headed by an eight-member board of elders.

Accord­ing to Nate Phelps, WBC has under­gone a num­ber of changes over the last year. He claimed that ten­sions rose within WBC when the all-male board of elders mar­gin­al­ized WBC spokesper­son Shirley Phelps-Roper.  In response to the power strug­gle between Shirley and the board, Fred Phelps allegedly called for kinder treat­ment between WBC mem­bers. The board then sup­pos­edly excom­mu­ni­cated Fred.

The ongo­ing inter-family strife within the orga­ni­za­tion, if true, sig­nals a new chap­ter for WBC.  Shirley Phelps-Roper, Fred’s daugh­ter, has been the most pub­lic face of WBC and acts as a lawyer for the group, as well. Nate Phelps claimed that Shirley could never be the leader of WBC because of pas­sages in the Bible that cite women’s sub­servience to men. Another issue that could affect Shirley’s sta­tus within the church is her two daugh­ters’ very pub­lic defec­tion from the church about a year ago.

A new leader of WBC may emerge in the com­ing months now that Fred Phelps has actu­ally passed. Nate Phelps spec­u­lated that pos­si­bil­i­ties include one of Fred’s sons, Tim Phelps, or Steve Drain, a mem­ber of the church who is not part of the extended Phelps fam­ily.  In the last few months, Drain appears to have super­seded Shirley Phelps-Roper as spokesper­son for the church.

Fred Phelps’ death and Shirley Phelps Roper’s alleged mar­gin­al­iza­tion may change the pub­lic face of WBC but pre­sum­ably not its mes­sage. The church will likely con­tinue its many protests at the funer­als of sol­diers and other indi­vid­u­als and pro­mote hate towards any­one who dis­agrees with its viewpoint.

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