From the Southern Poverty Leadership Conference, the year in review on all the hate that reared its ugly head in 2014.
My favourite: Paul Craig Cobb.
It has been quite the year at Hatewatch. We’ve identified those who hide in anonymity while financing the racist right. We’ve kept you abreast of events that have plotted the course of the antigovernment movement as it tries to make headway into the mainstream. And we’ve documented in detail the fallacies spread far and wide by major anti-LGBT leaders, especially as they move to advance their agenda abroad.
Before we take a break, we thought we’d give you something of a year in review—the posts on Hatewatch in 2014 that were the most pivotal in understanding the future of the radical right. But don’t worry, Hatewatch will return on Jan. 1, 2015 with more impactful coverage and analysis.
So, until then …
- The nightmare that began last year for a small North Dakota town finally came to an end in what might have been one of the spectacular falls from racist fame in recent history. Craig Cobb, who last year came to national prominence when this blog uncovered his plans to turn Leith, N.D., into a white supremacist enclave, was sentenced to four years probation after pleading guilty to charges he terrorized residents. He also, surprisingly, went on national television and found out he was 14 percent sub-Saharan African. Since then, Cobb has become a laughing stock for the racist right and his plans have ended. Leith has returned to normal, too. A documentary on the ordeal called Welcome to Leith, by filmmakers Mike Nichols and Chris Walker, will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January.
- And how can we leave out Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who in April stood down the federal government in an event that inspired dozens of imitators across the West? Owing the Bureau of Land Management more than $1 million in past grazing fees, the federal government moved to confiscate Bundy’s cattle that had been grazing illegally on public lands. They were met by armed militiamen and ranchers on April 12, who threatened bloodshed if the federal government didn’t leave.The BLM abandoned its roundup, and let Bundy stand in defiance of a U.S. District Court Order while he turned his Ranch into an armed compound with the help of the Oath Keepers and other antigovernment groups. In the time since, Bundy has become a folk hero for the radical right, and even a political spokesman.
- This was also the year in which the anti-LGBT movement attempted to make major strides abroad. Judith Reisman, while not being well-known outside the anti-LGBT echo chamber, was tapped to serve as an “expert witness” in Jamaica in a court case challenging the constitutionality of the country’s 1864 anti-sodomy statute. Jamaica has a long history of homophobia, and its anti-LGBT policies have created a climate of violence and fear. Hatewatch also revealed how anti-LGBT groups employed the discredited Regnerus study overseas. A Russian lawmaker cited it in conjunction with a proposed bill to deny gay and lesbian parents custody of their children and the rabidly anti-LGBT French group Manif Pour Tous cited it on its website while a Polish youth group with neo-Nazi ties included reference to it in one of its fliers.
- And speaking of a climate of fear, 2014 also saw the neo-Confederate League of the South turn rhetoric into action. While publicly it has paid for billboards that cry “SECEDE,” privately LOS leaders have encouraged members to begin preparing for a war with the federal government. In 2014, it went even farther. A Hatewatch investigation found that the LOS had begun forming a secret paramilitary militia called the “Indomitables” for the purposes of protecting Southern Nationalists for federal tyranny.
- And unfortunately, we saw this year just how quickly rhetoric can turn to violence when, in April, Frazier Glenn Miller, the former “grand dragon”of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, killed three people in a violent rampage at two Jewish sites in suburban Kansas City. He was arrested without incident and shouted “Heil Hitler!” through the window of a police car. Last week, a Kansas prosecutor said he would seek the death penalty against Miller, who is suffering from lung disease. But Miller wasn’t the only lone wolf who caused bloodshed. Inspired by the Bundy showdown with the federal government, Jerad and Amanda Miller embarked on a shooting spree in Las Vegas that left three people dead. Witnesses said they shouted “This is a revolution!” and draped the officer with a Gadsden flag—a symbol of liberty used by both the antigovernment movement and many Tea Parties—before killing themselves.
- And last, but not least, Hatewatch learned this year that Eric Gliebe, a former boxer who in the ring billed himself as “The Aryan Barbarian,” was forfeiting his title as chairman of the National Alliance, once America’s leading hate group. His announcement came during a court hearing over a $2 million civil lawsuit, in which former NA members had accused him of a “myriad of instances of malfeasance, misfeasance, illegalities and irregularities.” We were in the courtroom to see it happen.