HATE CRIMES -- (House of Representatives - June 13, 2006)
Mr. BACA. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. The topic I want to talk about this morning is hate crimes. As immigration debate has intensified, white supremists, neo-Nazis, and other racists have increased their efforts to spread the racist message. White supremists have not simply expressed racist convictions but have urged others and white Americans generally to fight back against perceived invasion of white United States by Hispanics from Mexico. The rhetoric has grown increasingly by radicals, and their success is spreading and has been coupled with a rise in hate crimes across our country. And I state, across the country.
Police reports document a growing number of acts of violence by far right extremists against Hispanics regardless of their status as citizens, whether they are profiling them, making remarks, creating different kinds of attitude and atmosphere and hate. The Anti-Defamation League, a nonprofit that fights anti-Semitism and other biases, put out a report last month that said hateful and racist rhetoric aimed at Latino immigrants had grown to a level unprecedented in recent years.
The report detailed numerous examples of hate crimes, including two men in Tennessee who were sentenced to prison in December for shattering a window and painting Nazi symbols in a local Mexican market. Near Houston, two white teenagers were arrested in April accused of beating a Latino youth and sodomizing him with a pipe. Days later on Long Island, a white teen was accused of threatening two Latinos with a machete and a chain saw. Police say ethnic slurs were used in each case.
We must condemn these kind of acts and work to promote a unified America, work to promote a unified America. Even the President has warned us of the dangerous rhetoric being used in discussions on immigration. During his speech last month he noted, ``America needs to conduct this debate on immigration in a reasonable and respective tone. We cannot build a unified country by inciting people to anger or playing on anyone's fear or exploiting the issue of immigration for political gains.'' And I state, exploiting it for political gains.
The white supremists are employing sophisticated techniques to spread their message over the Internet including blogs, chat rooms, and racist and violent video games. And as you can see by the poster out here, Border Patrol, I recently heard about a racist game distributed freely on the Internet called the ``Border Patrol'' that encourages players to shoot at immigrants as they cross the United States, as you can see right here. These games first surfaced in the year 2002, but have come up once again and aimed at immigration debate.
The Border Patrol games. In the game the Border Patrol, Mexican Americans are incarcerated and presented with disgusting and harmful stereotypes. The game does not present them as hard-working individuals who come to this country, like any other who has come to this country before, to build better opportunity. This country is built on immigrants, and many individuals come here for that reason, not for the reason displayed in this Border Patrol display that we have out here.
People have come to contribute to our country and will continue to come to contribute to this country because they believe in America and its principles and what it stands for. Instead, you can see from the poster that Mexican American immigrants are labeled as bandoleer-wearing Mexican nationalists, tattoo-touting drug smugglers, and pregnant breeders who must be kept out at any cost.
In the second poster, as you can see out here, Border Patrol 2, as you can see by the second poster the object of the Internet game Border Patrol is to shoot Mexican immigrants as they try to cross the borders into the United States. Here, again, we are talking about hate crimes, attitudes and behavior by individuals. Here, a family is being targeted as they rush past a sign that reads, ``Welcome to the United States.'' The sign contains the American flag in which the stars representing 50 states have been replaced with a Jewish Star of David, and a small sign that appears below that says, ``Welfare Office'' with an arrow.
These games are not only obscene, it incites anger and violence in the minds of children and creates attitude and behavior changes. Psychologically then people begin to think in terms of hating anyone of color. And when you hate people of color, you demonstrate hate and anger. The fact that the national immigration debate is fueling their efforts in is downright scary.
Border Patrol is one of several racist computer games that hate groups are currently offering for sale or download on the Internet. Other games like Ethnic Cleansing, Drive By 2, and African Detroit Cop were created to further racism, anti-Semitic, and other opinions.
These images on poster number three is Save The Last Dance. This image contains an altered movie poster. The actual film featured an interracial romance between teenagers. As you note in the version of this poster, the African-American male is depicted by a gorilla. The poster also spreads a traditional anti-Semitic attack that blames Jews for controlling the American media and suggests that a film about interracial tolerance and mutual respect is somehow Jewish propaganda. The most obvious message of this poster is that the way to deal with members of minority groups, as well as whites who have relationships with them, is with violence.
It only takes one individual with hate in his heart to act on these notions. For us, that is a very real concern as the national discussion on immigration continues to gain momentum. We cannot have this debate at the expense of the safety of immigrants in our communities and total Americans who are here in the United States.
I understand that not everyone in Congress agrees with a more inclusive vision of the American family or the American dream to be here in the United States and to have what everybody else has and to build a better life for themselves. Instead of recognizing the needs for real comprehensive immigration reform, some Republicans have viewed this issue to play on people's fear and exploit the debate for their political gains. I hope that people understand what is going on now and at the national level.
Extremists Declare `Open Season' on Immigrants: Hispanics Target of Incitement and Violence
As the public debate over immigration reform has taken center-stage in American politics and public life, white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other racists have declared ``open season'' on immigrants and attempted to co-opt and exploit the controversy by focusing their efforts--and their anger--on the minority group at the center of the controversy: Hispanics.
As a result, to a level unprecedented in recent years, America's Latino immigrant population has become the primary focus of hateful and racist rhetoric and extreme violence--aided, abetted and encouraged by America's white supremacist and racist haters.
Spurred in recent weeks by the debate on Capitol Hill and the groundswell of grassroots activism in support of America's immigrant community, extremists have become increasingly emboldened by, and fixated on, the controversy over immigration policy, encouraging their supporters to capitalize on the issue by encouraging antiimmigrant activism, and even violence against all Hispanics.
While white supremacists have for many years attempted to exploit rising anti-immigration sentiments in the U.S., the level and intensity of their attacks against Hispanics has reached dangerous new highs, with right-wing extremists joining anti-immigration groups, distributing anti-immigrant propaganda and holding frequent antiimmigration rallies and protests.
As a result, Hispanics, regardless of their citizenship or immigration status, increasingly are becoming the targets of hatred and violence from hardcore white supremacists.
Racists ranging from neo-Nazis to Klansmen to racist skinheads are among the most active anti-immigration activists in the country. Motivating their actions is the core conviction of modern white supremacist ideology: That the white race itself is threatened with extinction by a ``rising tide of color'' controlled and manipulated by Jews.
This following report examines the recent record of extreme rhetoric and violence from white supremacist groups and their followers that has played out against the backdrop of the immigration debate in America.
WHITE SUPREMACIST ANTI-IMMIGRATION PROTESTS
White supremacists have taken to the streets in a deliberate attempt to attract publicity and to exploit and co-opt the national discussion on immigration for their own hateful purposes. Viewing immigration as a ``wedge'' issue through which they believe they can foist their racist and anti-Semitic views on the American public, and attract recruits and attention for themselves, white supremacists have organized a number of rallies and protests with anti-immigration and anti-Hispanic themes.
Many of the extremist events have taken place in southern states. There, white supremacists hope to exploit anti-immigration sentiment that has risen as a result of a significant influx of Hispanic immigrants, primarily agricultural workers, into areas of the South that had never before had a substantial Hispanic population.
Demonstrations, rallies and other events taking place in spring 2006 included:
In Seattle, Washington, and Las Vegas, Nevada, members of the neo-Nazi National Vanguard held anti-immigration protests on May 20. On its Web site, the National Vanguard declared that day to be a ``day of protest against George W. Bush's plan to destroy America,'' calling the president's immigration proposals a ``sellout of the nation.'' In Seattle, neo-Nazis appeared along Interstate 1-5, displaying signs for motorists stuck in traffic to read. In Las Vegas, white supremacists held a small rally in front of the federal courthouse.
In Keene, New Hampshire, New England members of the Arkansas-based neo-Nazi group White Revolution held a self-described ``anti-invasion'' demonstration on May 7 to protest ``the invasion of America by illegal non white hordes.'' Members of other white supremacist groups, ranging from the National Socialist Movement to the American Front, also showed up.
In Russellville, Alabama, members of the Alabama chapter of the Indiana-based National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan held an anti-immigration rally on May 6, yelling ``Let's get rid of the Mexicans!'' National Knights leader Ray Larsen was on hand, telling the crowd that gathered that immigrants ``want you out of here because they want this as their land.'' After the rally, the Klansmen burned a cross in a field outside of town.
In Montgomery, Alabama, the neo-Confederate group League of the South and the Coalition against Illegal Immigration together organized an anti-immigration ``Cinco de Mayo'' demonstration on May 5. Promoting the event in his racist and anti-Semitic newspaper First Freedom, Olaf Childress wrote that he planned to be there, ``maybe even with a baseball bat. Already got a placard in mind: MEX GET THE HELL OUT OF MY COUNTRY.'' Childress did show up with such a placard and a baseball bat, telling a local reporter that ``Jewish supremacists'' had a plan to abolish the borders of the U.S. Other signs at the demonstration displayed slogans such as ``multi-culturalism is liberal insanity.'' In Greenville, South Carolina, the racist Council of Conservative Citizens held an anti-immigration demonstration on April 29 in front of the offices of Republican Congressman Lindsey Graham, where they burned Mexican flags and displayed signs such as ``More INS, Less IRS,'' ``Vote for Pedro to Go Home,'' and ``I Didn't Fight in Iraq for Illegal Aliens.''
White supremacists also showed up to counter events organized by immigration and human rights activists, in particular the May 1 ``Day without Immigrants'' events organized around the country by immigrant rights activists. In San Angelo, Texas, members of the Empire Knights of the Ku Klux Klan showed up to counter local events. In Dayton, Ohio, half a dozen members of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement appeared in Nazi uniforms at a pro-immigration march to protest, in their words, ``the illegal wetback scum and Shabbat goy mud lovers.'' In Madison, Wisconsin, in April, members of the neo-Nazi New Order passed out literature at an immigrant rights event at the capitol.
Even where white supremacists have not shown up in person, they have plastered communities around the country with crude anti-Hispanic and anti-immigration fliers. In Bakersfield, California, for example, one community was littered with National Vanguard fliers that read ``Civilization: One Job Mexicans Won't Do.'' Residents of Pasadena, Texas, discovered racist fliers that urged people to burn down the homes of people thought to be illegal immigrants.
BORDER VIGILANTE GROUP EVENTS
Anti-immigration border vigilante groups have also organized anti-immigrant events around the country this spring. The largest border vigilante group, the Minuteman Project, held a reprise in April of their 2005 vigilante border patrols along the Arizona-Mexico border, and followed up with a caravan that staged anti-immigration events across the country. One Minuteman event in Birmingham, Alabama, was organized by Mike Vanderboegh, a former militia leader. At the rally, an attendee distributed copies of Olaf Childress's racist and anti-Semitic newspaper, First Freedom. Other anti-immigration groups held rallies from Arizona to Minnesota.
Anti-immigration groups have also turned to publicity stunts. The Minutemen, for example, declared on May 9 that they would start building their own ``border security fence'' on private property along the border with Mexico, unless the federal government itself deployed the military or erected such fencing. The Minutemen claimed that they had received nearly $200,000 in donations to build such a fence. Other border vigilante groups have already begun or announced similar projects.
THE RHETORIC: DECLARING ``OPEN SEASON'' ON IMMIGRANTS
White supremacists have not simply expressed racist convictions, but have urged each other and white Americans generally, to ``fight back'' against the perceived invasion of the ``white'' United States by Hispanics from Mexico.
The rhetoric in such pronouncements has grown increasingly radical. ``Beaner Brown Supremacist Militias of Latino Communist immigrants firmly intend to conquer [the southwest],'' suggested a topic heading on the white supremacist Legion of Saints message board recently. ``Will White Americans sit back, watch it happen & let them do it? Or will White Americans `remember the Alamo!?' ''
Such voices are unfortunately hardly isolated. Here are just a few recent examples:
Alabaman Larry Darby, a Holocaust denier and candidate for Alabama attorney general, recently stated in a May 3 interview on Alabama Public Television that he wanted National Guard troops on the border with orders to ``shoot to kill, absolutely ..... we are at war, we are being invaded by a foreign country, we are at war.''
James Wickstrom and Frances Farrell, the virulently racist and anti-Semitic hosts of the ``Yahweh's Truth'' radio program, blamed Jews for the immigration ``invasion'' on his May 3 broadcast. Wickstrom claimed that pro-immigrant marches were being organized and financed by ``communist Jews'' and the ``communist Catholic church,'' and that Jewish organizations are ``criminal accomplices of these illegal aliens.'' Farrell suggested that ``one attack on one of their marches with automatic weapons or even just rifles will put a stop to them and the time's coming when this is going to happen.''
One member of an Aryan Nations faction, ``Pastor'' Jay Faber of Pennsylvania, claimed on April 10 on the Aryan Nations Internet forum that ``I already know they will not throw one of these stumpy little brown beasts out of here, so for the amount of guats in my area, I have at least 10 rounds of ammunition for each of them.''
Aryan Nations faction leader August Kreis in October 2005 claimed on his Web site that ``this infestation of cockroaches need deportation or extermination!'' If legal means of ``stopping this rising tide'' were not enough, ``then these brown squat monsters should begin to turn up dead all across Amerika ..... We now have another game animal to add to our list of available targets for our favorite pastime, hunting, and we'll declare permanent open season on these dirty wetbacks! From what I have heard through the grapevine the Skinheads and Klans across the country are more than prepared for this type of action. I say let's play by state and see which state can claim the most kills and let the jewsmedia whores keep score!''
Oregon National Socialist Movement leader Jim Ramm wrote in June 2005 that ``the browner invasion is much like a cancerous tumor that should of [sic] been removed. But instead, it was allowed to grow and infect other organs ..... as this brown disease rages out of control the white patient faces racial death.''
Kevin Strom, leader of the neo-Nazi National Vanguard, gave a shortwave radio broadcast in June 2005 in which he claimed that ``These Mestizo invaders are so different from us that by mixing with them or being dispossessed by them we will cease to live, we will cease to be ourselves or have a place to exist to support the lives of our future generations. And that is the crucial reason why this invasion must be stopped.''
``AliisioRex,'' a member of the neo-Nazi web forum Stormfront, wrote in July 2005 that ``they are barbarians, they are our enemies, they want to destroy our civilization and we have to fight them. We need to organize better and be more open activists; otherwise, I only see race war in the future.'' Another Stormfronter, ``Strasser,'' wrote in November 2005 that ``White minorityhood on a national level is a very real possibility. How can White folk tolerate this? Do they care that most minority populations become a cultural hostage? What is the interest in having their children a minority on a mestizo dominated campus? Mestizo immigration is going to force White America to make some very important decisions.''
Such statements appear routinely on white supremacist Web sites and in white supremacist literature.
Perhaps the white supremacist most active in explicitly advocating extreme violence against Hispanics is New Jersey racist radio talk show host Hal Turner. He reserves his most extreme statements to urge violence against illegal immigrants from Mexico:
May 3, 2006: Following the May 1 demonstrations, Turner posted to his Web site a 145-page ``ethnic cleansing manual'' that he said explained ``in graphic detail why white people need to prepare to ethnically cleanse this nation and how to do it using force and violence.''
October 31, 2005: ``Slowly but surely we are headed toward the solution that I have been advocating for years: kill illegal aliens as they cross into the U.S. When the stench of rotting corpses gets bad enough, the rest will stay away.''
October 11, 2005: ``For years I have been publicly advocating on my radio show and this web site, that Mexican illegal aliens be shot dead as they cross into the U.S. illegally ..... I plant the seeds verbally and the seeds grow in the minds of others ..... I am proud to advocate even more killings!''
July 15, 2005: ``I once again advocate extreme violence against Mexicans ..... Once they're dead, their heads should be cut off and put on pike poles as a warning to others.''
May 17, 2005, responding to news that a restaurant owned by the mayor of Denver had employed an illegal alien who allegedly murdered a police officer: ``..... his policy of affording sanctuary to other illegal aliens makes Mayor John Hickenlooper worthy of being killed. I sincerely hope that someone takes a rifle with a scope and puts a bullet through [his] head.''
May 15, 2005: ``I advocate extreme violence against illegal aliens ..... I think it would be terrific to trap them by their ankles in steel bear traps then beat them to death when you return and find them in the trap ..... Oh, if any American sides with the illegals--like a big mouth politician or a politically correct, ass-kissing local sheriff, lawyers, judges, or the like--it would be a real public service to kill them too!''
The violent rhetoric has not come only from explicitly white supremacist groups, but also from members and leaders of anti-immigration groups. Anti-immigration activist Fred Puckett, the leader of ``Minuteman of One,'' was caught on camera in late April telling an undercover reporter for a local Phoenix television station that ``once you shoot a couple of these sons of bitches, they'll think twice.''
Perhaps most strikingly, Arizona anti-immigration activist Laine Lawless, who has been associated with several border vigilante groups and eventually started the group Border Guardians in 2005, sent an e-mail in April to a prominent Ohio member of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement, Mark Martin, asking him to pass its contents on to his white supremacist contacts. Martin did so, forwarding the message to several white supremacist forums on Yahoo and Usenet in early April, but unfortunately for Lawless, Martin ignored the part of her message which read, ``Please don't use my name,'' and instead forwarded the message in full.
Lawless's e-mail, titled, ``how to get rid of them,'' urged a variety of intimidating, harassing, and even illegal and violent tactics to intimidate immigrants into leaving the U.S., including cutting down the broadcast tower for a Spanish language radio station near Phoenix and stealing money from illegal aliens. ``I hear the red necks in the South are beating up illegals as the textile mills have closed,'' she wrote. ``Use your imagination.''
Lawless's suggestions were consistent with previous statements she had made, including a late March posting to an anti-immigration Internet forum in which she wrote that ``my Southern friend tells me the rednecks in the South just beat [illegal aliens] up. Unfortunately, there are too many of them to use that tactic there any more.''
Earlier, in February, Lawless posted to a Texas Minuteman message forum that ``We need borders to ..... preserve our culture, instead of accepting any kind of flotsam and jetsam that seeks to float into our territory.''
Mark Martin himself seemed willing to personally engage in intimidating tactics. In early May, he admitted in a Google Internet forum that he and another member of the National Socialist Movement had passed out racist fliers in Covington, Ohio, at houses ``surrounding a suspected illegal Mexican jobsite.'' The two neo-Nazis also approached workers at the jobsite and demanded to see identification from them. When workers refused, Martin allegedly told one of them that he ``was an illegal, wetback who was stealing American jobs and ..... spreading disease.'' Workers called the police, who told the neo-Nazis to leave or be charged with harassment.
THE VIOLENCE: GROWING NUMBER OF ASSAULTS
Not surprisingly, white supremacists have not limited their actions to hateful or even violent rhetoric. The past several years have seen a growing number of violent assaults and attacks by white supremacists against legal and illegal Hispanic immigrants, as well as Hispanic American citizens. The crimes have ranged from vicious vandalism to brutal assaults and murders. In most cases, the perpetrators did not even know the victims, but targeted them solely because of their appearance.
Only a minority of hate crimes are committed by ideological extremists, but such extremists have committed some of the worst hate crimes in America. The increased willingness of such white supremacists, especially racist skinheads, to attack Hispanics represents a dangerous and disturbing trend.
Here are some of the hate crimes committed by white supremacists against Hispanics in the U.S. in the past three years.
April 29, 2006, New York. A teenager was arrested in East Hampton, Long Island, after he allegedly threatened a Hispanic teenager with a machete and chased a second teenager with a chain saw while shouting racial epithets. Described by classmates as a skinhead, the alleged perpetrator had previously posted to the Internet photographs of himself posing as a Nazi and adorning a shed with swastikas. He and two others, whom police have allegedly linked to the incident, were suspended from school.
April 22, 2006, Texas. David Henry Tuck. 18, and Keith Robert Turner, 17, were arrested and charged with aggravated sexual assault in the brutal attack of a teenage Hispanic high school student in Houston. The victim was beaten and sodomized with a plastic pipe from a patio umbrella, then kicked in the head with steel-toed boots. He was left with head wounds and major internal injuries. The victim had bleach poured on him and was burned with cigarettes. Witnesses allegedly stopped the attackers from carving something onto the victim's chest. Tuck is a self-described skinhead who sports Nazi tattoos. In 2003, at age 14, Tuck and two adult white supremacists were implicated in the racially motivated beating of a Hispanic man, according to court records and witnesses. The two adults received federal and state sentences for their role; juvenile records are not public in Texas.
January 2006, California. Ryan Nicholas Newsome, a member of the Another Order white supremacist gang, pleaded no contest on January 20, 2006, to assault charges in Yuba County. He pleaded no contest to assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury with a criminal street gang enhancement as a result of an August 2005 incident, in which he and an associate allegedly assaulted a Hispanic man.
December 2005, Tennessee. A Blount County judge on December 1, 2005, sentenced Jacob Allen Reynolds and Thomas Matthew Lovett to four years in prison and six months in prison (and two and a half on probation) respectively after they pleaded guilty to vandalizing a Mexican food store in Maryville on May 7, 2005, causing over $17,000 in damages. The men allegedly broke windows and a refrigerator, vandalized a car, and spraypainted Nazi symbols on the store. Three others charged still await trial.
November 2005, Texas. Christopher Chubasco Wilkins, a prison escapee, was recaptured on November 5 and charged with murdering three men in the Fort Worth area during his month-long escape. Wilkins, who is according to police a self-proclaimed white separatist heavily tattooed with a variety of white supremacist tattoos. including a portrait of Adolf Hitler, is alleged to have killed two Hispanic men and one African-American man by gunshots to the head. Police are examining a possible racial motive. Wilkins had been living at a halfway house in Houston, after being released from federal prison, and left the house without permission.
November 2005, Tennessee. A federal judge sentenced former Klansman Daniel James Schertz to 14 years in prison for selling pipe bombs to a person he thought would use them to kill Mexican and Haitian immigrants. The person turned out to be an undercover informant. Schertz, a former corrections officer and member of the North Georgia White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, pleaded guilty to making five pipe bombs to be used to blow up a bus carrying Mexican workers. Later, Schertz expressed gratitude that the government had stopped him, but said, ``We should have people here who know how to speak English. They are over here illegally and nothing gets done to them.''
October 2005, California. A Sacramento man and two other suspects who allegedly attacked and injured six people in a hate-crime spree at two local parties were arrested in the early morning of October 16, 2005. Ryan Marino, 22, posted bail from El Dorado County Jail later Sunday after being charged on four counts of assault with a deadly weapon with an extenuating circumstance of a hate crime. He allegedly used brass knuckles after shouting epithets against Hispanics and proclaiming ``white pride'' at a home Sunday evening. Party attendees later identified Marino, who police said crashed the parties with the intent of ``beating up Mexicans.''
September 2005, Utah. A federal judge on September 27, 2005, sentenced Lance Vanderstappen to 20 years in prison for trying to kill a Hispanic man while in a holding cell in July 2005 awaiting sentencing for a racketeering charge. The victim had stab wounds to his neck, throat and chest. In court, Vanderstappen, a member of the notorious Soldiers of Aryan Culture white supremacist prison gang, admitted that he targeted the victim because he was Hispanic, saying ``I intentionally tried to kill him.'' Vanderstappen pleaded guilty to attempted murder.
September 2005, New Jersey. Joseph Schmidt of Little Egg Harbor received a sentence of three years' probation in September 2005 after pleading guilty in June to two counts of bias intimidation, two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of criminal mischief, two counts of possessing weapons for an unlawful purpose, and simple assault. The charges were related to a string of attacks on minorities, primarily Hispanics, in Ocean County in 2003. Schmidt, a member of the white supremacist skinhead group East Coast Hate Crew, received a light sentence because he had cooperated with authorities in prosecuting other members of the group. Three others involved in the incident pleaded guilty and one was acquitted. Others have yet to go to trial.
July 2005, California. Four people, three men and one woman, were arrested in Riverside, California, on July 11-12, 2005, charged with making terrorist threats with a hate crime enhancement. Some of the people arrested had ``white pride'' tattoos, according to authorities, who also seized a variety of white supremacist items. According to police, the suspects drove to a home and challenged several Hispanics there to a fight, threatening them and using racial slurs. A similar episode occurred the next night. According to police, the people arrested claimed no particular group affiliation but said they were proud to be ``members of the Aryan race.''
May 2005, Arizona. White supremacist Steve Boggs was sentenced to death on May 13, 2005, for murdering three fast-food workers in Mesa, Arizona, in 2002 during a robbery. He had been convicted of three counts of first-degree murder and various robbery, burglary and kidnapping charges. Boggs shot the victims, a Native American and two Hispanics, then stuffed their bodies into a freezer at the store. Boggs wrote to a Mesa police detective that he had wanted to ``rid the world of a few needless illegals. I don't feel sorry.'' Another defendant still awaits trial. According to prosecutors, the two men were members of a small hate group they called the Imperial Royal Guard.
May 2005, Texas. Two racist skinheads pleaded guilty on May 5, 2005, to a racially motivated beating of a Hispanic man in January 2003. Douglas Brannan of Hockley and Mark Fletcher Smith of Spring, both sporting many white supremacist tattoos, were convicted of civil rights violations. The two men, and a teenager, had attacked a Hispanic customer at a gas station, beating him and kicking him with steel-toed boots until he was unconscious while shouting ``border jumper,'' ``spic,'' and ``we kill people like you.'' Brannan received a five year sentence and Smith a three year sentence.
December 2004, California. Ten racist skinheads from Redlands and Riverside attacked three Hispanics in the parking lot of a topless bar on December 29, 2004. According to police, they assaulted the men while yelling racial slurs at them and identifying themselves as members of skinhead groups. No arrests have yet been made.
November 2004, Wisconsin. Mark Lentz of Sheldon, Wisconsin, received a three-month sentence and two years of probation, as well as 40 hours of community service, after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor hate crime. Lentz was the last of four racist skinheads to be sentenced for luring a Hispanic man outside a bar in Waukesha, then hitting him on the head with a bottle and repeatedly kicking him. Mark Davis II of Watertown earlier received a 3 1/2 year sentence and two years of extended supervision, Kasey Bieri received an 18-month jail term and three years of probation, and Jeffrey Gerloski received four months in jail and two years probation.
June 2004, Texas. Ranch Rescue member Casey Nethercott was convicted by a Texas jury of felony firearm possession in connection with an attack on two illegal immigrants from El Salvador outside of Hebbronville, Texas, in 2003. He was sentenced to five years in prison. The two immigrants (now in the U.S. legally) successfully sued Nethercott and others involved in the incident for a total judgment of $1,450,000.
November 2003, Idaho. Aryan Nations member Zachary Beck was arrested for felony malicious harassment as a hate crime for attacking a Hispanic male in the parking lot of a supermarket after asking if the victim was Mexican. While awaiting trial on that charge, he was later re-arrested after allegedly shooting at a police officer in Longview, Washington, during a standoff. He still awaits trial on the alleged crimes.
June 2003, California. Two racist skinheads, Waylon Kennell and James Grlicky, were convicted in separate trials for the brutal beating of a Mexican migrant worker in San Diego in the fall of 2003. Grlicky was convicted of attempted murder, conspiracy, robbery, assault and battery, with a hate crime enhancement. Kennell was convicted of assault causing great bodily injury and battery with serious bodily injury. According to the prosecutor in the case, the two went hunting for a ``beaner'' to beat and rob. They kicked the victim in the head around a dozen times, including ``curbstomping'' him--kicking down on the back of the head when the victim's open mouth is placed against a concrete curb (emulating a scene in the movie ``American History X''). The victim suffered brain damage as a result of the attack.
May 2003, New Hampshire. Aryan Nations member Russell Seace, Jr., of Hampton Beach, pleaded guilty on May 27 to being a felon in possession of a firearm as part of a plea bargain with the federal government. In exchange for money, Seace had agreed to kill a Hispanic inmate after he was released, in retaliation for an alleged attack by the Hispanic man on a white prison inmate.
February 2003, Oregon. A Mexican landscaper in Beaverton was beaten with a baseball bat, robbed, and told to ``go back home,'' by a man with a shaved head and a coat with ``KKK'' on it. Baseball bats are one of the weapons preferred by racist skinheads. Authorities posted a reward but were unable to make an arrest in the crime.
ANTI-IMMIGRATION ACTIVISTS AND WHITE SUPREMACISTS
It is not surprising that the most radical anti-Hispanic sentiment is coming from white supremacists; however, there are other groups joining the anti-Hispanic crusade. With mounting public awareness and concern over illegal immigration in America, the issue is also being exploited by extreme anti-immigration activists, some of whom are reaching out to white supremacists. The rhetoric of these activists is largely aimed at Mexicans, not other illegal aliens, and frequently does not distinguish between Mexicans and Mexican-Americans.
This extreme end of the anti-immigration movement includes both anti-Hispanic hate groups masquerading as immigration reform groups as well as vigilante border patrol groups, who conduct armed patrols along the borders of the United States. Several border vigilantes have been arrested on weapons charges. Casey Nethercott, for example, associated with border vigilante groups such as Ranch Rescue and the Arizona Guard, is currently serving a five-year prison term on weapons charges stemming from a 2003 incident in which he and others confronted and assaulted two Salvadorans when on ``patrol.''
The vigilante border patrol groups have operated for several years but have expanded greatly in the past twelve months, spurred on by the media attention given to the so-called ``Minuteman Project.'' In April 2005, Chris Simcox, who founded the Arizona-based Civil Homeland Defense, a border vigilante group, and Jim Gilchrist, based in California, joined forces to create the Minuteman Project, whose purpose was to gather thousands of volunteers for a month-long watch for illegal border crossers in Arizona. The project, which was highly publicized among right-wing extremists and white supremacists, attracted far fewer volunteers, many of them armed, during its first week. However, the publicity generated by the event resulted in numerous Minuteman chapters and spinoffs forming across America, even in states such as New York, Virginia, Vermont, and Illinois. These groups use the same radical rhetoric: that the United States is being ``invaded'' by Mexicans who must be stopped.
That message was clear at a three-day summit, ``Unite to Fight Against Illegal Immigration,'' held in Las Vegas, Nevada, in May 2005. More than 400 anti-immigration activists gathered at the event to hear speakers describe illegal immigrants as ``the enemy within'' and ``illegal barbarians,'' while suggesting that America was ``at war'' with illegal immigrants and urging people to ``take America back.''
Many of these anti-immigrant extremists have switched their focus from the border to day laborer centers, where they photograph Hispanics whom they assume are illegal aliens. This racial profiling has also occurred at fast food restaurants and other businesses where Hispanics are employed across the United States. White supremacist and anti-government groups continue to express interest and take part in these activities, and their rhetoric has become more and more confrontational.
INTERNET VIDEO GAMES TARGET HISPANICS
Extremists have shown a renewed interest in populating the Internet with links to video games that target
Hispanics, portraying them not as productive contributors to society, but as objects of scorn, derision and hate. Shoot-to-kill video games such as ``Border Patrol,'' a game created in Flash that is easily accessible on the Internet through extremist Web sites, have become increasingly popular among those opposed to immigration and are widely shared among extremists in the United States. This has especially been the case as the national discussion over immigration has gathered force.
In ``Border Patrol''--one of the more popular Flash games available on the Internet through various extremist Web sites--the object is to ``kill'' caricatures of Mexicans as they attempt to cross the border and gain entry to the U.S.
Players control a gun and are charged with killing stereotypical Mexicans. Targets include a ``Mexican nationalist,'' who carries a Mexican flag and a pistol; a ``Drug smuggler,'' wearing a sombrero and carrying a bag of marijuana on his back; and finally a ``Breeder''--a pregnant woman who has two small children in tow. Aside from the virulently anti-Hispanic themes within the game, it also hints at anti-Semitic myths such as ``Jewish control'' of the U.S. through an image where the border is represented by a bullet-ridden sign showing an American flag whose 50 stars have been replaced by a single Jewish Star of David.
Under this sign, another small sign directs the Mexicans to a ``Welfare Office.'' The player ``wins'' when he or she has made 88 kills. The number 88 has significance to neo-Nazis, who use it as shorthand for ``Heil Hitler'' (``H'' is the eighth letter of the alphabet).
``Border Patrol'' was first created in 2002 by the now-defunct website ``Zine 14,'' and was soon being copied and distributed by extremists and others. In March 2003, the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations group and Christian Identity preacher James Wickstrom both linked to copies of this game from the front pages of their Web sites. In recent months, the game has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity, largely due to neo-Nazis trying to capitalize on the national immigration debate. Neo-Nazi leader Tom Metzger posted the game on his Web site, and other extremists have linked to it and promoted it on fringe online discussion groups.
Games, music and cartoons are some of the methods extremist groups rely on as part of their efforts to reach a younger audience and to expose them to their hateful ideas and beliefs. Cartoon-like Flash games are seen as ideal for this task, because they are small and easy to create and share over the Internet, or enclose in an email message. In recent years, extremist groups such as the neo-Nazi National Alliance have also created more sophisticated video games, such as ``Ethnic Cleansing,'' a game available on CD-ROM that also engages in the stereotyping and demonizing of Hispanics. Their aim is to attact unsuspecting users to extremist Web sites, where they can be exposed to the message and goals of the hate groups.
Such games are tools that extremists increasingly use to desensitize people against acts of violence, to portray hate crimes as something to be celebrated, to dehumanize America's Hispanic population and to draw attention to their cause using the new technologies available to them on the Internet.