Matt Hale Struggles to Lead Movement from Jail
Posted: May 13, 2003
For Matt Hale, the year 2003 has been dominated by his January 8 arrest (on charges that he solicited the murder of the federal judge presiding in the trademark lawsuit case against Hale and his group, now known as the Creativity Movement) and its aftermath.
Denied bond after a judge ruled that he was a "flight risk" and a "threat to the community," Hale was faced with the prospect of keeping his faltering white supremacist group together from the confines of a jail cell. Even this task seemed daunting, as in March the Justice Department imposed infrequently used "special administrative measures" designed to reduce Hale's ability to communicate with his followers; such measures can be imposed when officials believe that a jailed person could send information to "conspirators at large." As a result, severe restrictions were placed on Hale's ability to use the telephone, receive visitors, and send out messages. However, in April a federal judge overturned one of the measures, which would have restricted Hale's ability to talk privately with his attorney, ruling that the restriction violated Hale's Sixth Amendment rights.
Hale's messages to his followers from jail were essentially attempts to maintain morale in the group and to assure followers that he was confident of eventual success. In one communication sent in early February, he informed adherents that not only was he "unbroken and unbowed," but that he was "actually quite flattered that this tyrannical government has acted in such a manner." He assured them that he was innocent and urged them to "remain strong." In another letter, he urged followers to donate money to his legal defense and to write letters supporting his release that stressed his commitment to "legal and peaceful change"-although Hale ended this plea with "RAHOWA!", an acronym standing for "Racial Holy War."
It is clear that Hale's efforts to maintain morale have not been that successful. Some members of the Creativity Movement spoke of the possibility of appointing a new leader or "Pontifex Maximus," while others advocated going over to a "leaderless resistance" model. These rumblings were enough to cause Hale loyalist John King to speak out in the group's newsletter calling for adherents to maintain their loyalty to Hale.
Hale will have time for more letters from prison. In May, Hale's trial date was set for September 22, 2003, with a final pretrial hearing a month earlier.