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April 25, 2016

White Supremacist Events Coincide With Hitler’s Birth Week

Marking the anniversary week of Adolf Hitler’s April 20th birthday, several neo-Nazi and Klan groups held collaborative events over the weekend of April 23. Four such events were held within approximately 150 miles of one another in north Alabama and central Georgia.  adl-blog

  • The United Klans of America (UKA) hosted a private event in Alabama which included a cross burning and several Klan weddings.  The event was open to all members of the Black and Silver alliance which consists of the UKA, the Sadistic Souls (an Illinois-based faction of the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations), James Logsdon’s small faction of the Creativity Movement, and Missouri and Tennessee members of the Right-Wing Resistance (a neo-Nazi group that originated in New Zealand.)
  • The neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement (NSM) hosted a rally at the Law Enforcement Center in Rome, Georgia. Approximately 100 people from various white supremacist groups attended the event, including the North Carolina-based Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and the Texas Rebel Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.  Other attendees included Arthur Jones (a long-time Illinois neo-Nazis and Holocaust denier), Ted Dunn (leader of the SS Action group), and Eric Meadows, who has been linked to the neo-Confederate League of the South. The hateful rhetoric of rally speakers, who intermittently shouted “white power” and “Sieg Heil,” was largely drowned out by counter protesters. Two counter protesters were arrested for disorderly conduct.
  • Approximately two dozen people participated in a white power event at Georgia’s Stone Mountain Park. The poorly attended event, organized by white supremacist John Michael Estes and Klansman Greg Calhoun, was intended 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 Martin Luther King’s honor.  The small group held confederate flags and a banner that read “Diversity = White Genocide.” Several counter-protesters threw rocks and fireworks at police, and set a barricade on fire. At least eight counter-protesters were adewayne-stewartrrested and charged with violating Georgia’s mask law, and one was arrested for allegedly throwing smoke bombs at police.
  • On the evening of April 23, ralliers from both the Rome and Stone Mountain events attended a private after-party near Temple, Georgia. The event included white power music and the burning of both a cross and a swastika.

These collaborative events demonstrate the willingness of some Klan groups to practice a Nazified version of Klan ideology and to form symbiotic relationships with neo-Nazi groups.  With both the neo-Nazi movement and Klan movement in decline joint events can help mask the small numbers that individual white supremacist groups are able to generate.

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April 20, 2016

White Supremacists Up in Arms over Tubman on $20 Bill

Harriet Tubman. Photo Credit: Ohio History Connection (OHC) via U.S. Treasury Department, dated circa 1887 by H.G. Smith, Studio Building, Boston.

Harriet Tubman. Photo Credit: Ohio History Connection (OHC) via U.S. Treasury Department, dated circa 1887 by H.G. Smith, Studio Building, Boston.

On April 20, the U.S. Treasury Department announced that famous abolitionist and rescuer of slaves Harriet Tubman will be the new face of the $20 bill, replacing Andrew Jackson (who moves to the bill’s back). The move is intended to answer a long-standing call for more diversity on America’s paper currency. Tubman, a former slave herself, helped hundreds of other slaves escape into freedom.

Initial reactions were largely positive—but not among racists and white supremacists, who wasted no time reacting to the news with ferocious–and unsurprising–venom. “Talking monkey Harriet Tubman to replace Indian killer Jackson on $20 bill,” Andrew Anglin, editor and founder of the white supremacist Daily Stormer website, announced on his blog.  A forum member on the white supremacist message board Stormfront warned, “Just make very sure you don’t ‘integrate’ this new $20 bill into your wallet. You’ll likely find the rest of your money missing in no time.”

Other Stormfront contributors posited the idea of “having fun” with the new bill by defacing it. One suggested he would make a stamp with a “white nationalist cross” and the words “White Pride World Wide” to emblazon on every $20 bill he encounters. Yet another pledged never to use the new $20 bill, to demand to be given other bills instead.

On Facebook, racist comments also surfaced quickly. Someone posting as “Pete Lambro” wrote, “Who the hell is harriet tubman [sic]…if Obama want to put an african americans [sic] Picture [sic] on something how about food stamps or ebt cards.”  In another Facebook posting,  a “Nick Francis” complained that “now we have to stare at a monkey every time we get paid.”

Others were quick to introduce anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, alleging that the Treasury Department announcement was the brainchild of the Jews.  One anti-Semite posted to his Facebook page the comment “More Zionist Jack Jew,” referring to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.  A Stormfront poster using the screenname Proud_White_Chap asked, “Who cares who Jews put on their fake paper? Andrew Jackson fought against them and they besmirched his memory by placing him on the 20 dollar bill.” This seems to be a reference to the anti-Semitic belief that Jews control the banking system and to the fact that Jackson dismantled the U.S.’s national bank.

A Treasury spokesperson said the design for the new bills will be made public in 2020, the centennial of women winning the right to vote. The actual currency, however, won’t be in circulation until 2030, giving white supremacists plenty of time to gnash their teeth and accumulate other denominations.

White supremacists will probably be no happier with the new $5 and $10 bills, however, which are to feature five women’s suffrage activists, Eleanor Roosevelt, and African-Americans Marian Anderson and Martin Luther King, Jr., on the reverse sides.

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April 13, 2016

Firearms Increasingly Weapon of Choice in Extremist-Related Killings

extremistkillingswithfirearms1970-2015In the popular imagination, the bomb is the weapon typically associated with terrorists or extremists—but in the U.S. extremists seem to be killing more people with firearms than with any other weapon, and that use may be increasing.

It is certainly true that many of the high-profile terrorist attacks in the United States over the past century have been bombings, including the 1919 anarchist bombing campaign, the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, and the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, among many others. Extremist serial bombers such as the Weather Underground, “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, and Eric Rudolph have all gotten their share of headlines.

However, extremists use a wide variety of deadly implements to commit their crimes, terrorist-related or otherwise, from fists and boots to airplanes. The most common tool of violence seems to be the simple firearm, a weapon that extremists can use when committing terrorist acts, hate crimes, assassinations, armed robberies, and all manner of traditional crime. In the United States, firearms are easy to obtain and easy to use. American extremists of all possible types, from the far left to the far right, as well as religious extremists, have used firearms to commit deadly acts.

How common is such firearms use in the United States? The Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism examined 890 murders committed by domestic extremists in the United States from 1970 through 2015—both ideological and non-ideological killings by extremist perpetrators—and discovered that around 55% of these killings involved use of a firearm; all other weapons combined made up the other 45%.

This figure signifies both the popularity of firearms among extremist movements in the United States, especially right-wing extremists, as well as the fact that attacks with other types of weapons may be less likely to end in death. Attacks using knives or fists, for example, may possibly result in non-fatal injuries more often than firearms. On the other end of the scale, bombings are more difficult to carry out—with many extremist bombing plots detected and prevented by law enforcement from ever being executed.

When one breaks down the numbers by decade, it appears that, after a dip in the 1980s and 1990s, firearms are becoming more popular than ever as the deadly weapons of choice for American extremists. Not only have the numbers of domestic-extremist related killings in the U.S. increased over the past 20 years, but so too has the frequency of firearms as the weapons in such killings.

In the 1970s, extremists—primarily coming from the far left—used firearms in 61% of domestic extremist-related killings in the United States. Many of these incidents involved members of left-wing extremist groups such as the Black Panthers and the Black Liberation Army attacking police officers.

The percentage of firearms use in extremist-related killings dipped in the 1980s, to only 46%, then dropped drastically in the 1990s, down to 20%. This latter figure is greatly distorted by the Oklahoma City bombing, which itself resulted in 168 deaths, but even if the bombing were left out of the calculations, the new number would only be 42%. There are several reasons that seem to account for these lower figures, including the rise of white supremacist prison gangs committing murders behind bars and the growth of the racist skinhead subculture in the United States, whose adherents often eschewed firearms for beating and stabbing attacks.

However, in the 2000s, firearms once more were the deadly weapons in the majority of killings, with 62% of the killings between 2001 and 2010 involving one or more firearms. So far in the current decade, the percentages are even higher, with 72% of the domestic-extremist related deaths from 2011 through 2015 involving firearms.

What accounts for this increase? Several factors seem to have played a role. One is the increased use of firearms by several extremist movements. Racist skinheads seem to use firearms with greater frequency in the 2000s than they did in earlier decades, while the growth of white supremacist prison gang activity on the streets—as opposed to behind bars—has allowed their members much greater access to and use of firearms.

Even more concerning is the apparent gravitation of domestic Islamic extremists towards firearms as a weapon of choice. In the early years of this movement, following the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, much of the energy of those extremists with violent impulses were directed at elaborate plots involving bombs or even military weapons—plots typically stopped by law enforcement before they could ever be carried out.

Since 2009, however, there have been a number of high-profile incidents in which Islamic extremists have used firearms to conduct shootings (and one instance, the Boston Marathon bombing, where the perpetrators used both bombs and firearms), including shootings at Ft. Hood, Texas; Little Rock, Arkansas; Chattanooga, Tennessee; and San Bernardino, California.

The rise of ISIS in the past several years may have contributed to the increase in attempted small arms attacks; Al Qaeda generally favored high-spectacle and symbolic attacks, whereas ISIS has been more practical, urging adherents to commit any attack they think they can pull off.

Most of the Islamic-related shootings were mass shootings, which may be the final piece of the puzzle. Though most extremist killings continue to take one victim at a time, the number of multiple victims in deadly extremist-related incidents (both ideological and non-ideological) has certainly grown. Since 2001, there have been 24 domestic extremist incidents in which at least three people were killed—and firearms were the weapons used in the vast majority of these cases, including such deadly shooting sprees as the 2012 Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting and the 2015 Charleston church shooting.

The increased number of multiple victim incidents by extremists is also one of the reasons why the death toll has been rising. From extremists on the right such as white supremacists and anti-government extremists to religious extremists such as domestic Islamic extremists, gun violence seems more likely to increase than decrease in the coming months and years

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