Identity Church Movement:
A contemporary of Posse Comitatus co-founder William Potter Gale, Wesley
Swift was a Klan organizer who served as an aide to Gerald L.K. Smith,
for many years America's most notorious peddler of anti-Semitism. During
the 1950s, Swift was a leader of a Los Angeles church called the "Anglo-Saxon
Christian Congregation." When Swift died, "Rev." Richard
G. Butler proclaimed his "Church of Jesus Christ Christian"
(CJCC) the direct successor to Swift's church. In the early 1970s, Butler
formed a new group around his church: Aryan Nations (AN). Since then,
he has held court at a 20-acre AN/CJCC compound in Northern Idaho, anticipating
the creation of an exclusively white "national racist state"
in the Pacific Northwest.
At its Web site, AN preaches that God's creation of Adam marked "the
placing of the White Race upon this earth"; and that "the twelve
tribes of Israel" are "now scattered throughout the world"
and are "now known as the Anglo-Saxon, Germanic, Teutonic, Scandinavian,
Celtic peoples." As a corollary, all non-whites are seen as inferior,
but it is the Jews who are singled out as the special object of AN's "theologically"
AN vilifies Jews as "the natural enemy of our Aryan (White) Race.
This is attested by scripture and all secular history. The Jew is like
a destroying virus that attacks our racial body to destroy our Aryan culture
and the purity of our Race."
Citing the Book of Revelation, AN envisions a "battle" being
fought "between the children of darkness (today known as Jews) and
the children of light...the Aryan Race, the true Israel of the bible."
According to AN, there will "soon" be a "day of reckoning,"
in which "the usurper will be thrown out by the terrible might of
Yahweh's people, as they return to their roots and their special destiny."
In this struggle between the Jews and "the children of light,"
AN claims that the Jews have a surrogate: the United States Government,
often referred to as "ZOG" (Zionist Occupied Government). In
1996, AN posted to its site an "Aryan Declaration of Independence,"
which declared, "the history of the present Zionist Occupied Government
of the United States of America is a history of repeated injuries and
usurpations... [all] having a direct object the establishment of an
absolute tyranny over these states." Holding "the eradication
of the White race and its culture" as "one of its foremost purposes,"
this "ZOG" is accused of relinquishing the "powers of government
to private corporations, White traitors and ruling class Jewish families."
AN perceives itself as literally surrounded by enemies: vigorously fighting
back is not only a solution to its problems, but a duty. According to
AN, those whites who resist "ZOG" are "chosen and faithful,"
and the white "Racial Nation has a right and is under obligation
to preserve itself and its members."
Although primarily an Identity group, AN embraces a neo-Nazi philosophy.
Richard Butler himself has praised Hitler, and at the AN Web site, which
announces, "WE BELIEVE in the gam-ma'di'on...a cross formed of four
capital gammas...in the figure of a swastika," he is pictured giving
the raised stiff-arm Nazi salute.
One of the most ambitious Identity Web sites, the AN site contains a
membership application, a substantial book catalog, an online "Literature
Archives" of hateful texts, and a long list of links to other hate
sites. However, the most significant aspect of the site may be its growing
"Public Notices" section, providing timely information about
AN's activities and opinions.
|One of the most ambitious
Identity Web sites, the AN site contains a membership application, a substantial book catalog, an online 'Literature Archives' of
hateful texts, and a long list of links to other hate sites.
Two "Public Notices" from early 1998 are of particular interest.
In February 1998, when the FBI arrested Larry Wayne Harris for alleged
possession of a biological weapon, the media reported on Harris' membership
in Aryan Nations. Less than a week after the arrest, the "Public
Notice" titled "Nations Places US/UN de facto Govt. on Notice"
quickly provided Web users with a clear picture of AN's position.
This statement criticized the media for connecting Harris with AN and
attacked the FBI for wrongfully arresting him. Additionally, AN described
a "criminal conspiracy" orchestrated by the Federal government
and the media to use biological weapons in U.S. cities and blame the ensuing
destruction on AN, leading to the "slaughter" of AN members.
A second relevant posting, the "Common Law Criminal Warrant"
for Thom Barklett Elliott, appeared in the "Public Notices"
section in early March, 1998. It included the birth date, driver's license
number, last-known whereabouts, and physical characteristics of Elliott,
a former AN member accused of stealing $2,200 from the group. This "Warrant"
informed Elliott that he could "redeem himself" by returning
the allegedly stolen funds or "turning himself in to any [AN] officer."
Otherwise, the "Warrant" explained, AN "Fully Executes
This Affidavit of Common Law Criminal Warrant." Such statements reflect
a philosophy of vigilante justice as well as the potential for vigilante
violence by AN members or sympathizers.
That potential is not entirely hypothetical, as AN is no stranger to
violence. During the early 1980s, several of Butler's followers joined
members of the neo-Nazi National Alliance and some Klan splinter groups
to form a secret organization called The Silent Brotherhood, also known
as The Order, which planned to overthrow the U.S. government.
To raise money for its planned revolution, The Order engaged in a crime
spree involving murder, counterfeiting, bank robberies, and armored-car
hold-ups. Ostensibly, the group's activities ended with the death of its
founder and leader, Robert J. Mathews, in a shootout with Federal agents
in December 1984 and the incarceration of many of its members. Yet The
Order has taken on a new life on the World Wide Web, serving as inspiration
for today's Identity adherents and other white supremacists.
Hosted by the same Internet Service Provider as the AN Web site, the
14 Word Press Web site is devoted to the work of David Lane, an imprisoned
member of The Order. Lane's best-known legacy is the "14 words":
"We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White
children." Despite the fact that Lane is a convicted felon serving
a 190-year sentence in a high-security prison, his writings, including
pieces from his monthly Focus Fourteen newsletter, can reach millions
through the Internet. Among his columns, many of which are offered at
the 14 Word Press site, is a sympathetic letter to convicted Oklahoma
City bomber Timothy McVeigh.
As violent Identity adherents like Richard Butler, James Wickstrom, and
August Kreis look to the works of early believers like Wesley Swift and
William Potter Gale, other racists on the Internet have turned for inspiration
to history's most destructive anti-Semite, the driving force behind the
genocide of more than 6 million Jews: Adolf Hitler.