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Poisoning the Web: Hatred Online
Internet Bigotry, Extremism and Violence
Table of Contents

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Responding to Extremist
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10 Frequently Asked Questions
Identity Church Movement:
Aryan Nations

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" based hatred.

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
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.
"Public Notices" section, providing timely information about AN's activities and opinions.

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.

Next: Neo-Nazis


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