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March 2, 2016

While Vying For Attention, Small California Klan Encounters Conflict

The Loyal White Knights (LWK) had every intention of holding a “White Lives Do Matter” protest on Saturday, February 27, 2016, at Pearson Park in Anaheim, California. But before the event could kick off, a bloody brawl erupted between Klan supporters and counter-protesters.

Klansmen, barely able to exit their cars, were suddenly swarmed by counter-protesters who wrestled Bill Hagan, the California LWK’s Grand Dragon, to the ground. Other Klan members were similarly attacked, and as the chaos continued, Klan members stabbed three counter-protesters, apparently with the tip of a flag pole, leaving one critically wounded.

Six Klansmen were arrested, but they were released on February 29, after law enforcement determined they were acting in self-defense. Seven anti-Klan-protesters were booked by the Anaheim Police Department on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and for elder abuse (after stomping on a senior Klan member).

(At any potentially inflammatory protest, separating the protesters from any counter-demonstrators is critical – it protects even the most hateful speech while ensuring the safety of everyone involved. This separation was clearly not achieved – or maintained – in Anaheim).

Like other Klan groups around the country, the Loyal White Knights say they represent the increasingly “endangered” white population, which they claim makes up a mere 9 percent of the world’s population. In fact, Klan groups themselves appear to be the only “endangered” entity: The ADL has identified about thirty active Klan groups in the United States, slightly down from the 2014 tally. Most Klan groups range in size from small to very small; chapters are often comprised of a single local member.

As a feint against their diminishing influence, Klan groups continue to use attention-getting stunts to attract publicity.  For example, in 2015 the International Keystone Knights made headlines for appealing an “adopt a highway” court ruling in Georgia while the Knights Party drew media attention after sponsoring a pro-white billboard in Arkansas.

The most common Klan tactic, however, continues to be the use of fliers to broadcast their racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, and increasingly Islamophobic message. In 2015, the ADL counted 85 Klan fliering incidents, an increase from 73 incidents in 2014.  In the last six months, the very small California Loyal White Knights group has caused an outsized stir in a number of California cities, including Whittier, Santa Ana and Anaheim, as neighbors discovered candy and rock-filled bags with pro-Klan messages on their front lawns. As the Anti-Defamation League has previously noted, this leafleting activity is actually a desperate publicity tactic, and reflects Klan groups’ declining stature and membership.

Today’s Klan groups tend to be irresolute, short-lived and in a constant state of flux.More than half of the currently active Klans were formed just in the last five years. While a few longstanding Klans, still exist, they are mere shadows of their former selves. In fact, two prominent Klans disbanded in Late 2015: Mor­ris Gulett’s Louisiana-based Aryan Nations Knights and Ron Edward’s Kentucky-based Imperial Klans of America.

As befits the groups’ shrinking ranks, public Klan events are increasingly rare. There were only two public Klan events of consequence in 2015.  In July, members of the Loyal White Knights and the Trinity White Knights joined members of the neo-Nazi Nationalist Socialist Movement in protesting the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina State House.  In March, approximately 20 Klansmen rallied in Montgomery, Alabama, at an event honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.

In the 1920s, according to some historical accounts, Anaheim’s Pearson Park was the site of events that attracted upwards of 20,000 Klan supporters. This past weekend’s protests and violence involved six Klan supporters — and while that certainly epitomizes the state of today’s Klan, the group’s historical baggage and undeniable notoriety means that even one Klan member has the potential to spark considerable pain and upset.

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February 28, 2016

Extremist Support of Donald Trump

Updated March 2, 2016

White supremacists have been enthusiastic supporters of Donald Trump since he announced his candidacy for president in June 2015 with bigoted remarks about Mexican immigrants. Subsequent remarks from Trump about banning Muslim immigration to the U.S served to solidify that support. White supremacists believe that Trump is voicing their own xenophobic and bigoted views toward immigrants and non-whites.

David Duke white beard texe marrs site

David Duke

David Duke, a racist and anti-Semite and the most notorious bigot in America, urged his supporters to back Trump. On his radio show in February, Duke said that “voting against Trump is really treason to your heritage.” Duke even told his listeners to volunteer for Trump during the election. He added that he hoped that Trump “does everything we hope he will do.”

One of Trump’s biggest supporters is neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin who runs the Daily Stormer website. The site is filled with virulently racist and anti-Semitic articles. In July 2015, Anglin wrote an arti­cle that praised Trump for his com­ments on Mex­i­cans. Anglin asserted, “The Trump Train has left the sta­tion and is run­ning non-stop to total vic­tory over the bar­bar­ian hordes of Mex­ico. Because there is one issue which mat­ters beyond all other issues and that is the inva­sion of White coun­tries by non-whites.”Anglin adds that “the amount of good” that Trump has done “is immeasurable.” Anglin now refers to Trump as “our glorious leader,” and extols Trump at every turn.

White supremacist William Johnson, head of the American Freedom Party does more than talk about supporting Trump. He has actually created the American National Super PAC, which has paid for a series of robocalls supporting Trump for president. The calls have gone out number of states, including Iowa and New Hampshire. New robocalls are scheduled for Vermont and Minnesota which tell voters not to “vote for a Cuban.” The calls go on to say that the “white race is dying out in America and Europe because we are afraid to be called ‘racist.’” Johnson has long courted the more hardcore members of the white supremacist movement, including racist skinheads.

Jared Taylor, a white supremacist who runs the American Renaissance website is another enthusiastic supporter of Trump. The American Renaissance site features articles that purport to demonstrate the intellectual and cultural superiority of whites. Taylor has written a number of articles endorsing Trump. His voice also appeared on the American National Super PAC robocalls in Iowa, where he told voters that “we don’t need Muslims. We need smart, well-educated white people who will assimilate to our culture.”

Richard Spencer, a white supremacist who runs a tiny think tank called the National Policy Institute has posted videos and articles endorsing Trump for president. Spencer is a symbolic of the new white supremacy whereby young racists would rather don suits and ties than a Klan robe to promote white nationalism. In an interview, Spencer said that Trump “seems to genuinely care about the historic American nation that is white people.”

Kevin MacDonald, a notorious anti-Semite and retired professor, has also backed Trump. He has lauded Trump’s comments about banning Muslim immigration and says that electing Trump “may be the last chance for Whites to elect a president who represents their interests.” MacDonald actually tried to raise money for his anti-Semitic publication, The Occidental Quarterly, by touting Trump’s candidacy. He wrote, “Donald Trump’s candidacy is a game changer and has a very real possibility of success. In this new climate, millions of White people are realizing that it’s entirely legitimate to oppose immigration and multiculturalism. It’s okay to oppose the idea that every last human has the moral right to immigrate to a Western country, or that all peoples and cultures are equally acceptable as immigrants.”

Matthew Heimbach, a racist and anti-Semite who co-founded the Traditionalist Youth Network, a white supremacist group, has expressed support for Trump. He wrote, “The march to victory will not be won by Donald Trump in 2016, but this could be the stepping stone we need to then radicalize millions of White working and middle class families to the call to truly begin a struggle for Faith, family and folk. For this reason alone I will campaign for Donald Trump because as the saying goes ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend’ and that is doubly true if that person is viewed as an enemy by the International Jew.”

It has also been reported that the Knights Party, a Klan group in Arkansas, uses Trump and his views as a talking point when questioning potential recruits. In an article in Politico, Rachel Pendergraft, a spokesperson for the group, said that Trump, “has offered KKK members a prime opportunity to feel out potential recruits on their racial attitudes.”

In media interviews, Don Black, who runs Stormfront, the largest white supremacist Internet forum in the country, has said that Trump has helped drive traffic to his site. In interviews in Politico and Vice, Black said that Trump had been a boon to the white supremacist cause.

Lee Rogers, who runs the neo-Nazi website Infostormer, refers to Trump as “our leader.” Like Andrew Anglin, Rogers posts viciously racist and anti-Semitic articles on his site and exalts Trump.

Hunter Wallace, aka Brad Griffin, a white supremacist who promotes Southern nationalism officially endorsed Trump for president on his website, Occidental Dissent.

James Edwards, a white supremacist who runs the Political Cesspool website and radio show, wrote a blog about attending a Trump rally in Memphis on  February 28 as a representative of the press.  Edwards declared that he is voting for Trump and encouraged his own supporters to do the same. Edwards added, “With Trump, America has a chance to regain her identity.”

As a 501(c)3 non-profit orga­ni­za­tion, the Anti-Defamation League does not sup­port or oppose can­di­dates for polit­i­cal office.

 

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December 3, 2015

Bonnie and Clydes Rare—But Not Unheard Of—In Violent Extremism

Syed Farook

Syed Farook

Background information on Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the married perpetrators of the tragic mass shooting at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California, is still sparse, as is clarity concerning the motive behind the vicious attack that left 14 dead and 21 wounded.

However, according to media reports from the in-progress investigation, there is growing concern among law enforcement officials that the shootings may have had a connection to Islamic extremism or that there might have been a mixed extremist/workplace motive behind them.  The FBI has said that it is now treating its investigation of the killings as a counter-terrorism investigation.

One thing that is exceedingly rare in traditional workplace shootings is for there to be multiple perpetrators, as there was in this case.  As one law enforcement official told The New York Times, “You don’t take your wife to a workplace shooting, and especially not as prepared as they were.  He could have been radicalized, ready to go with some type of attack, and then had a dispute at work and decided to do something.”

Multiple perpetrators are certainly common in extremist-related crimes, of course, despite the existence of the “lone wolf” phenomenon.  Women are also frequently involved in extremist-related criminal activity in almost every extremist movement in the United States.

However, when one examines recent criminal cases in the U.S. involving domestic Islamic extremists, one finds that female partners of male perpetrators—even when themselves involved in criminal activities—have not typically engaged in violence.  Overseas, women have sometimes taken on more violent roles, including as suicide bombers.

If an Islamic extremist motive is confirmed in the San Bernardino shootings, the fact of husband-and-wife shooters would be a new wrinkle in the history of the violent tactics of that movement in the United States.

Extremist-related violence involving husbands and wives—or non-married partners—is actually not unheard of in the United States, but it tends to come from a very different source:  right-wing extremism.  Though not what one could call a common phenomenon, such violent “Bonnie and Clyde” couples do emerge with regularity from within both the white supremacist and anti-government extremist movements in the United States.

In fact, right-wing extremism even produced an example of the exceedingly rare phenomenon of a married couple both of whom were on death row:  anti-government extremists Linda Lyon Block and George Sibley.  In 1993, the two sovereign citizens non-fatally stabbed Block’s ex-husband, then while on the run murdered an Alabama police officer in a shootout.  Both were executed in the 2000s.

In more recent years, extremist couples have been involved with everything from standoffs with police to hate crimes to terrorist conspiracies.  But some of the most shocking “Bonnie and Clyde” incidents have involved multiple homicides committed by white supremacists and anti-government extremists:

  • Jerad and Amanda Miller, a young married couple who adhered to the anti-government ideology of the militia movement, targeted two Las Vegas police officers for assassination in June 2014, killing them at a pizza restaurant as they ate their Sunday lunch.  The couple crossed the street to a Wal-mart in anticipation of a final shootout with first responders, where Amanda killed an armed civilian trying to stop them.  As they had intended, they did both die during a shootout with law enforcement at the store, with a wounded Amanda killing herself after Jerad was shot.
  • Jeremy and Christine Moody, white supremacists from Union County, South Carolina, killed a nearby married couple in July 2013 in a particularly grisly double homicide in which both victims were shot and stabbed.  The Moodys had targeted the victim because they wanted to kill a registered sex offender and found the male victim’s name and address on the Internet.  They killed his wife because she had married a sex offender.  Both pleaded guilty to murder in 2014, receiving life sentences with no parole, but were unrepentant, with Christine Moody calling the day of the murders “the best day of my life.”
  • Holly Grigsby and David Pedersen, a white supremacist couple from Oregon, embarked upon a multi-state murder spree in 2011 that totaled four killed before police could find and stop them.  The pair traveled to Washington to murder Pederson’s father and stepmother, each killing one victim, then killed a young man in Oregon to steal his car and because they thought he might be Jewish.  They killed an African-American man in northern California in another carjacking attempt, though they did not end up taking the vehicle, then were finally apprehended by the California Highway Patrol.  Grigsby told the arresting officers that they were to Sacramento to “kill more Jews” when they were stopped.  Both pleaded guilty to a variety of crimes and received life sentences.

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