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Pepe Lepew On January - 23 - 2011

Remember the hate groups?

A terrifying incident in Spokane didn’t get nearly as much national attention as I thought it should. I keep thinking, “Holy Christ, this could’ve been terrible,” but it’s been somewhat flying under the radar because of the Giffords shooting.
Someone planted a suspicious package (actually a backpack) along the route of a Martin Luther King Jr. parade, and sure enough, when people checked out the package, it contained an explosive. Officials said it contained a “deadly” amount of explosives.

The investigation is ongoing, but obviously, a couple of red flags immediately go up — Spokane, in the inland Pacific Northwest, has long been a hotbed of activity for Aryan Nations and other hate groups, and secondly … a Martin Luther King Jr. parade was targeted. It looks like it was the work of some hate group. Who knows? Human Rights Activists are paying attention, however.

The hate groups are still around, and people who track these groups are worrying that they are rebuilding their ranks.
Back in the 1980s and 1990s, the poor city of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, was besmirched by the arrival of Richard Butler, an old fart white supremacist, who bought several hundred acres and built his “white haven” in the woods north of town near Hayden Lake. Butler attracted hundreds of white supremacists to his compound, building them barracks, a kitchen, etc. At one point, he had attracted as many as 2,000 people to his compound.

They held marches and rallies in Coeur d’Alene, then people in Northern Idaho, not necessarily the most liberal-minded area in the U.S. (which is part of the reason why the supremacists even showed up), got fed up and started fighting back — to a large degree because they figured out the supremacists were a stain on their fine community. These white supremacists bombed a newspaper office Spokane and got involved in an armed robbery in Spokane.

The big break came about 10 years ago when some skinheads in Butler’s compound beat up an Indian family whose vehicle had broken down near the property. The Southern Law Poverty Center took the case when the Indian family sued for damages. They knew what they were doing. They won a multi-million dollar settlement against Butler. Butler was forced to forfeit his property to pay the settlement. The compound was shut down and many of his supremacist “children” scattered. Supposedly, a lot of them moved back to the South which is where some of them had come.

I was actually driving through Coeur d’Alene the day Richard Butler died. The DJs on a local radio station were just savaging him and what he had done to the reputation of their community. I came to realize that, yeah, it was a very Republican city, a very white city, but not as bad as people around the country might believe.

Unfortunately, even after Butler died, many of his minions hung around the inland Pacific Northwest. In 2009, the director of the Northern Idaho Human Rights Education Institute was forced to move from Coeur d’Alene about 35 miles west to Spokane because white supremacists kept hassling her. Then in Spokane, she found a noose on her lawn.
Now, the bomb incident in Spokane.

Not far from Spokane and Coeur d’Alene is a city in Montana, Kalispell, which has also attracted a number of these folks. A woman from California started up a singing group called “Prussian Blue,” her teenage daughters, who sang songs about white power. They cut several albums, probably sold thousands of them, but pretty much went defunct about five years ago. The rumour is the poor girls never wanted to be a part of it, and when they got old enough, finally told their mom, “no more.”

Anyway, this woman is quietly attempting to start a white enclave in northwestern Montana; she certainly has been advertising the area as a haven for whites. She began hosting movie nights in Kalispell in which they would show “documentaries” about how the Holocaust was a hoax. Local activists responded by hosting movie nights of their own, which attracted hundreds of people, showing films such as “Schindler’s List” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The Prussian Blue woman never attracted more than 15-20 people to her events.

So what does this all mean? Is it a huge problem? No one knows. It isn’t hundreds of these scary losers like in the 1980s. But, they’re still lurking in the area, and they still have the idea in their head that the inland Pacific Northwest is their “refuge.” I’ve always found that strange. Yes, there are very few blacks or Hispanics in the Inland Northwest, but there are a LOT of Indians, who don’t really appreciate them very much.

The big concern of course is that these groups may become resurgent. There’s been lots of talk out there, especially in Montana, that “Obama wants to take your guns.” There’s a movement afoot in Montana to make local sheriffs the ultimate “law of the land” superior even to the President of the United States. We campaigned against one of those types locally.

Now throw in all the insane Tea Party rhetoric, the anti-immigration fury (Apparently, one of these groups’ big agendas is that there are too many Asians in British Columbia now — B.C. has seen a huge influx of Asian immigrants the past 10 years — and they’re concerned all these Asians will sneak across the Canada-U.S. border into America.)

Now, throw a black man into the White House in that mix. A black man with an African-sounding name.

Now you see why people are concerned. They’re out there. How many? Who knows? Are they worth worrying about? Who knows? But, they are definitely worth keeping an eye on. It would be easy to simply ignore them.

Except for that backpack left alongside a Martin Luther King Jr. parade. You can’t very well ignore that.

39 Responses so far.

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  1. Khirad says:

    I think this is apropos.

    The Shawna Forde trial: Will the mainstream media bother to notice?
    http://crooksandliars.com/david-neiwert/shawna-forde-trial-will-mainstream-m

    And it even has a Washington connection.

    http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/dailyweekly/2010/12/shawna_forde.php

    A little more background.

    http://www.tucsonweekly.com/tucson/murder-in-the-desert/Content?oid=1739974

    And sure enough. There’s a defense fund for the psychopath. It comes up first on a search of Shawna Forde’s name.

  2. Khirad says:

    Take heart, the AN is ‘lily-white pure’:

    Aryan Nations denies role in downtown bomb placement
    http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2011/jan/23/aryan-nations-denies-role-in-downtown-bomb/

    Here’s another article about the aforementioned noose, by the way.

    Rights educator finds noose on porch of Spokane home
    http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2009/sep/24/rights-educator-finds-noose-on-porch-of-spokane/

  3. escribacat says:

    All that stuff sounds unpleasantly familiar, Pepe. Though we don’t have the well-known compounds and organizations the NW has seen, Colorado suffers from the same malady. While my Congressman is Jared Polis, an openly gay man from Boulder, my area also just elected a “Libertarian” state rep named Don Beezley. He’s a real gem. Here’s a sample:

    Beezley: “The minimum wage also had racist roots--JFK propounded it as a way to keep unskilled blacks form [sic] taking jobs from unskilled whites through a willingness to work for less.”

    • Khirad says:

      It’s so cute when they project like that with contorted Rushite (un)sophistry.

      What’s not cute is that their voters buy it.

      Indeed, and C-Lady mentioned Estes Park to your north.

  4. Khirad says:

    Human rights dialogue revs up

    Leaders say city lacks centralized anti-hate alliance

    http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2011/jan/23/human-rights-dialogue-revs-up/

    • kesmarn says:

      Maybe I’m reading too much into the article, Khirad, but I sense the fear that Pepe is talking about in between the lines. When anti-hate commissions/committees have few members and there are plenty of open positions on the boards, that spells fear to me.

      What have we come to when it becomes dangerous to simply speak up against hate?

  5. whatsthatsound says:

    Really chilling story, Pepe. I wondered what those cute little girls were doing as poster girls for such nastiness and then I kept reading. Good for them if they’ve managed to break away from their mother’s ignorance and renounce her hatred.

  6. SueInCa says:

    Pepe

    I have an aunt that used to live outside Twin Falls Id. We used to go up there at least 2 times year to visit. On one such visit my husband went to a bar with my uncle and dad to have a few drinks. A young African American came in to the bar and sat down to have a drink. My husband, being the Chatty Carl” that he is, proceeded to have a conversation with the guy. They talked for about an hour and then the guy left.

    The bartender on duty came up to my husband and told him he was lucky he came in with my uncle and dad. When my husband asked him what he was talking about, the bartender told him if he had been talking to the AA and the other patrons did not know who my husband was, they probably would at the very least have kicked him and the AA out of the bar. At worst, they would have beat them up. My husband was shocked, but not shocked enough to hang around. He advised the bartender that no one tells him who he can and cannot talk to and walked out of the bar. We were both amazed that in the 1980’s that type of attitude was still around. And this was in southern Idaho. I am no longer amazed at any of it going on today. Sickened but not amazed or surprised.

    • whatsthatsound says:

      stories like this make my blood boil! As much as we are all shocked and appalled by the actual crimes, and their aftermath, it is these stories, where “nothing happens”, but show just how nonsensical and bizarre the whole putrid topsoil is from which the crimes sprout up that really drive me bonkers. I don’t want to hate haters, but I sure don’t like their minds.

      • SueInCa says:

        Believe me my husband is a pretty casual character but when he arrived back at my aunt’s he was still shaking, he was so angry. He is Latino so knows from a first hand perpective what it feels like and he is third generation. I grew up in a home where color was not a factor, nor was different nationalities. I have learned alot over my lifetime but at one time, I was very naive about the situation in the world because I was never taught to look at color.

    • Khirad says:

      Well, Southern Idaho is nothing more than Northern Utah. You just found the drinking demographic. I’ve only ever spent the night in Twin Falls, but that is entirely unsurprising.

      • SueInCa says:

        Somehow after that incident, our trips to Idaho tapered off to not more than every other year.

        • Khirad says:

          I’ve only really ever felt comfortable around the Boise State campus in that Ruby Red state (their bumper stickers proudly proclaiming they aren’t like heathen Washington).

          Although in the south Shoshone Falls, the Snake River, and in the northern panhandle the Bitterroots are gorgeous and idyllic.

          Notice I said nothing about the people. I’d be hangin’ with the Basques or with your relatives…

          • SueInCa says:

            My cousin lives still in Idaho but closer up towards the border by Yellowstone Park. She and her husband run a camp in Yellowstone. If you ever want to go there, let me know. They are great people. They have cabins for 75 and 50 a night and Jill cooks LOL

            http://www.yellowstonecabin.com/

            • Khirad says:

              Probably not bito, but don’t know the full details yet. I don’t have any insight except I know that nearby Bremerton has a ginormous naval base.

              Speaking of shootings, while the Giffords thing was going on, this is what also rocked the PNW -- the news here covered both at the same time and it was a double dose of bleakness:

              http://bit.ly/gjSLHE

              That one was just an altercation gone horribly, tragically awry though.

            • kesmarn says:

              Sue, those cabins are adorable! And throw in homemade biscuits and cowboy coffee! Perfecto!

            • Khirad says:

              Well, that’s like living in Moab, Utah, or nearby Jackson, Wyoming, hopefully for them. Where you can almost forget the state you live in.

              Looks nice though. And good prices. Considering where I stayed in the Gardiner, Montana entrance to Yellowstone -- that sounds just about as good.

            • bito says:

              Maybe nothing, Khirad, but any insight on this up there?

              Suspect killed, two deputies injured in shooting at Port Orchard

              Read more: http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2011/jan/23/police-responding-reported-shooting-port-orchard/#ixzz1BueOfH5p

  7. choicelady says:

    Thank you, Pepe! Welcome, M Cubed!

    This has been going on for decades. Remember upper ID was where Ruby Ridge occurred, and that led to an in-gathering of ALL the RW extremists from white power to anti-abortion at Estes Park, CO where the summit led to inter-group cooperation. That is the very scary part -- we now have “multi-mission extremists” (MME) and, scarier to me, those who belong to no group but follow all the hate, all the time, and act individually. Tucson anyone?

    Spokane spawned MMEs who were both anti-government AND anti-abortion who robbed armored cars and banks to fund their weaponry they then used to firebomb a women’s clinic in Redding, CA.

    After 9/11 the Posse Comitatus leader, August Kreiss, located in Ulysses, PA announced immediately after the first tower was hit that it was the work of Al Qae’da -- and that it was because of abortion and ho-mo-sex-u-ality running rampant in America. This at a moment when most everyone thought it was an accident. Kreiss went on the celebrate the “victory” and declare allegiance with Al Qae’da against Jews = and everyone else he hated. For some time Kreiss made himself Butler’s successor as head of AN, and he sought to expand AN into a more diverse hate group -- equal opportunity hate mongers -- in the greater Coeur d’Alene/Spokane areas.

    So this bomb MAY be the start of more. This area has spawned huge problems now filtering even more into Montana (remember the Freemen?) whose folks, for a time, stood down but apparently are gearing up.

    It is beyond naive to think that what happened under Clinton -- a good ol’ boy -- is not hate squared with this current Black man in office. I am on an anti-hate crime Task Force. We are taking this seriously as are SPLC, Public Eye, and many other hate-watch groups.

    Who is NOT taking it seriously are conservatives, media, the average person. The average person should understand how many innocent people have been harmed in the terrorist by-play; think Olympic Park in 1998 in Atlanta or Unabomber victims (clerks and by standers).

    I am beyond furious that media will report (and nuances matter) about public reaction when the perp is Muslim, but domestic terrorists get a pass. Oh! They are insane, not like us! Oh! They don’t seem to belong to a group, or if they do, it’s not us! Oh! They aren’t really Christians. Not like me. Oh! They aren’t me…even though I tolerated the hate and maybe enjoyed it a bit. Oh, no, no, no, this has nothing to do with me or us or “our” way of life. Uh-uh -- and saying it does, well that makes YOU hateful, you bad caller-outer of these concerns!!!!

    Except -- it does reflect all of us. It reflects a deep core of hate and anxiety in America that never seems to go away ever. LAy it to lingering guilt and therefore resentment of our slave heritage and to Southern rage over Reconstruction, or whatever you like -- it exists.

    And unlike the 90s, this time these guys are more organized, more heavily armed, more cohesive and united. If we have to freaking wait for ANOTHER OK City we have SO lost our self direction! It is a foolish denier who says they can’t win, they aren’t a real threat, they are tiny in numbers. No, no, and no. Only sunshine will flush them out, and it is imperative we do this and do it NOW before any more people get hurt or die. Only the truth will set us free.

    • Khirad says:

      Are you trying to suggest our own bigotry towards Muslims might have something to do with ignoring this story, and internal threat?

      Isn’t it ironic that the newest form of racism has us ignoring the older form?

      And totally, when you connect the 90s militias -- against DLC Bubba -- you have to be willfully STUPID to think it can’t get exponentially worse under a black ‘socialist’ president.

      And yes, it is beyond spooky that White Nationalist sites I’ve come across give primers on Islam -- to acquaint the good skinhead with their radical Jew-hating brethren. And trying to connect with Hamas, etc. It seems counterintuitive at first, but then it makes sense in their warped ‘racialist’ ideology.

      And Estes Park, too?! Why can’t they find uglier places to besmirch and taint?

      Oh and Pepe can probably teach even you a few things about the Freemen. 😉

  8. Gransview says:

    Great article, Pepe!

  9. M Cubed says:

    Well written article, Pepe! Yes, I do remember the hate groups. I lived in Moscow, ID for a while, and I worked on an amateur theatre production of Steven Deitz’s “God’s Country.” The play is about the assassination of radio talk show host Alan Berg by members of the Order--a splinter group of the Aryan Nation. We had a consultant for the production: a retired FBI investigator who worked on the Order’s crime spree. They robbed armored cars, banks, etc to fund their organization.
    It amazes me that we are not seeing the outcry from all corners of this nation about this incident. After all, the Aryan Nation was the hub of the hategroups in America, and from the largess of Richard Butler comes connections to skinheads, neo-Nazis, the Church of the Creator, Randy Weaver, the Freemen movement in Montana, and of course the militia movement featuring Timothy McVeigh. This is not the Becktian fantasy of George Soros funding everything progressive--these are real personal and financial ties that outfits like the FBI, HDS, and the Southern Poverty Law Center have all been keeping track of.
    However, thanks to the NRA, the conservative think tanks, and their mouthpiece Fox, the nation cannot have a discourse about this group. Remember the HDS report that was supposed to come out in early 2009--the one that showed evidence of right-wing extremist groups actively recruiting members of the military because they had weapon and incendiary-device training? And that the HDS had to change the report to please the right--how dare the HDS besmirch the military like that?
    Sadly it will take another Oklahoma City bombing before we can talk about it. And we came darn close to having that conversation in Spokane the evening of MLK Day.

    • choicelady says:

      M Cubed -- it was the Order that came into CA and firebombed the women’s clinic having financed all that from their Spokane=area crimes spree. Thanks for jogging my memory on that.

      • M Cubed says:

        Hello ChoiceLady,
        Ironically, the production of “God’s Country” I worked on was done just a few blocks from one of the bombings. When we did our production, we knew it would be controversial. So we invited a host of public officials and representatives from churches and synagogues and community organizations to a special presentation. We also had discussions with the audience after the show.

        I do not think we can under-estimate the connections between these groups. These are not lone wackos--no matter how the MSM want to portray them as. The Internet has only made it that much easier to keep in contact, spread information, and organize activities.

    • bito says:

      Welcome M Cubed, Good info and comment.
      Hope you enjoy The Planet and share your thoughts with everyone.

  10. Chernynkaya says:

    Yes, Pepe, we are pretending this is not an issue-- it IS.

    From the SPLC-- US Hate Map. Click on Washington, and zoom in

    http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/hate-map#s=WA

    • Khirad says:

      Okay, I looked at the map and immediately drifted to my hometown.

      Do you know anything about Sigrdrifa?

      Also, are the Hammerskins still around, because I tried looking for archived stories, and they came up in connection with Sigrdrifa.

      Let’s just say I was born and raised and they never much merited any attention that I recall.

      But to Spokane: I love that “Christ’s Gospel Fellowship” -- I mean, what’s not to love about that? It’s so generic. And what is radical traditionalist Catholicism? We’re talking Mel Gibson, right?

      • choicelady says:

        Khirad -- Christ’s Gospel Fellowship????? Grrrrrr. Yet another set of anti-Semitic Old Testamentarian hatemongers using Jesus as a “get out of jail free card” AND a hammer to use against others.

        I’m sort of hoping the wackos are right, and that Jesus IS coming back this May. Might be a big surprise to lots of folks that they peeved him some.

        • whatsthatsound says:

          What an image that conjures, c-lady.
          “Okay, I’m Back! And in case you’re wondering why I look like an A-rab, it’s because I WAS one, duh! Now it’s time for you idiots to TRY to explain to me what part of “Love Thy Neighbor” you didn’t understand. Don’t worry; I’ve got lots of time….”

        • SueInCa says:

          So that is all the reference to May I have been seeing? Oh brother.

          • Khirad says:

            Yup, I think it’s hilarious (though I should probably be more seriously afraid).

            I see Kool-Aid the day after in their futures. They have billboards and everything.

        • Khirad says:

          I love the way you summarized that with their OT focus with Jesus as only an afterthought to ‘save them’ like a mobster’s last confession. Add to the irony that the Tanakh they focus on is Jewish.

  11. Khirad says:

    Hear, hear Pepe. Maybe it’s just us, in that we’ve actually been to these cities, but I would have thought that this wasn’t just a provincial concern…

    Asians in Canada -- another country, is the racist concern? Hah, last time I went through the Canadian border check the officer was a young Punjabi woman -- the horror!

    And Latinos have got to be a concern too, to them. After all, it’s just not the Yakima and Walla Walla areas anymore…

    Boy, Kalispell does make sense, though. I’m glad they were proved wrong! It’s the small upside to this. White and libertarian/conservative they may be in the Inland PNW, but they also won’t tolerate racist assholes (even if they support other varieties).

    I’d like to repeat that Coeur d’Alene and Spokane are lovely places that happen to have some really ugly underground elements.

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