Thursday, June 11, 2009

Mistaken Identity, Part 3: "Women who have abortions are race traitors and should be stoned to death," or "'Christian' Identity is for pantywaists."

Symbol of "Christian" Identity. Note this is not the cross of Jesus' crucifixion, but the juxtaposition of a German "sieg rune" or "victory rune" upon a sword.

"Women who have abortions are race traitors and should be stoned to death."

On 10 August 1999, a big bad "race warrior" named Buford O'Neal Furrow attacked the North Valley Jewish Community Center in Los Angeles.

The shooting injured three children, and a receptionist. He also shot dead US Postal Service carrier Joseph Ileto who was Filipino American. Furrow was a member of the white-supremacist group Aryan Nations in 1995. On January 24, 2001 Furrow pleaded guilty to all of the counts against him. In exchange for pleading guilty, Furrow avoided a possible death sentence, but was instead sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. According to the indictment, Furrow expressed no regrets for any of his crimes. Furrow was also an engineer who worked for several years on the B-2 stealth bomber project for Northrop Grumman. Furrow's former girlfriend was Debbie Mathews, widow of Robert Jay Mathews. -- Wikipedia.

(Bob Mathews was the leader of the neo-Nazi terrorist group called The Order which in the 1980s robbed armored cars and killed an unarmed Jewish radio talk show host in Colorado as he carried his groceries into his house. Mathews was later tracked down and killed by the FBI at a house on Whidbey Island in Washington state.)

The night of Furrow's assault, Jeff Stein, a reporter who had worked with J.D. Cash and me on the Identity links to the Birmingham abortion clinic bomber Eric Robert Rudolph, interviewed us both and the following story appeared at

"Aryan warrior" Buford Furrow.

"Christian Identity is for pantywaists"

Right-wingers debate Buford Furrow's goals and his organizational ties.

By Jeff Stein

Neo-Nazis are hoping attacks like Buford O. Furrow's push the nation toward stricter gun control, say conservative students of right-wing hate movements, because they believe such restrictions will touch off anti-government warfare.

"They really believe 'The Turner Diaries' is the road map to their success," says J.D. Cash, an Oklahoma reporter with long associations among right-wing activists who broke stories about Timothy McVeigh's links to white-supremacist groups like Christian Identity.

"The Turner Diaries," an apocalyptic novel embraced by McVeigh and other Christian extremists, portrays a "patriot" who foments a right-wing backlash against the government's effort to crack down on guns by setting off bombs.

Police found Christian Identity literature in the van of Furrow, a 37-year-old Washington state man who turned himself into Las Vegas police after allegedly wounding three children, a teenager and an adult with bursts of automatic weapons fire at the North Valley Jewish Community Center in Granada Hills, Calif., a Los Angeles suburb, Tuesday. Furrow is also suspected of the murder of a postal worker an hour after the community center shooting.

The discovery of Christian Identity material led some commentators to link Furrow to notorious abortion bombing suspect Eric Rudolph, who disappeared into North Carolina's Smokey Mountains after police connected him to the bombing of an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Ala., in January 1998. The Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala., which tracks hate groups and has a file on Furrow, believes he followed the beliefs of the so-called Phineas Priesthood, a branch of Christian Identity. That loose-knit group also has been linked to 1996 bombings and bank robberies in the Spokane, Wash., area.

But the Christian Identity links to Furrow are less apparent than the movement's links to Rudolph, right wing experts told Salon News. Furrow is close to the neo-Nazi Aryan Nation in Washington state, while Rudolph had no known neo-Nazi associations.

"We're talking about two different regions here, two different sets of friends, two different sets of beliefs," said Mike Vanderboegh, a leader of the Alabama militia movement, in a telephone interview. Vanderboegh has made a hobby out of ridiculing Christian Identity followers and excludes them from his organization. "Rudolph is more Identity, this guy is more Nazi, is my read on it," he said.

"Rudolph, to the extent that we know about his associates and his friends, hung around with Nord Davis' Christian Identity folks" in North Carolina, "while this guy was hanging around Bob Mathews' widow and the Aryan Nations," Vanderboegh said.

Furrow lived with Debbie Mathews, whose husband, Robert J. Mathews, founded the neo-Nazi group the Order, a violent offshoot of the Aryan Nations.

Nord Davis, who died two years ago, hosted Christian Identity military training camps at his mountain home near Andrews, N.C., where Rudolph disappeared. Ex-Green Beret and self-styled Populist Party leader James "Bo" Gritz led some of the sessions. Rudolph, who has been indicted in other bombings, including the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, was educated briefly at a Christian Identity commune in Missouri, where he embraced white supremacy and neo-Nazi literature, according to his brother.

Rudolph knew Nord Davis, according to North Carolina sources, but was not known to train at his camp. He learned how to make bombs from found materials in the Army, when he was assigned to an air cavalry unit, according to a law enforcement source.

Another difference between Rudolph's bombings and Furrow's alleged attack Tuesday was that Rudolph's missions always appeared to be aimed at police, as well as the primary target -- a key tenet of Christian Identity tactics, according to manuals associated with the movement. No security personnel were attacked at the Jewish Community Center.

Christian Identity offers a convoluted, Old Testament gloss to traditional anti-Semitism and racism, teaching that white Northern Europeans are the real Israelites and all others are "mud people." Neo-Nazis and chrtisitian Identity followers, who have a scattering of churches, mainly in the South, share anti-Black, anti-Jewish, anti-gay and anti-abortion sentiments.

"I think in some ways Christian Identity is designed for pantywaists who are afraid to declare themselves true Nazis," Vanderboegh jibed. "These are the folks who have to tell their mommas or their wives, "It's OK that we hate blacks and Jews, dear, because God and Jesus told us it's OK. Whereas the Nazis don't worry about that kind of thing. They're sort of beyond excuses.

"You know, when you've got Adolf Hitler as your standard-bearer, what else have you got to be embarrassed about?" Vanderboegh said.

"They each come to their pus-filled beliefs by different roads, but they agree on the destination."

Vanderboegh agreed with J.D. Cash that the neo-Nazis hope to incite and gain control of pro-gun sentiment by attacks like the one on the Jewish Community Center.

"It definitely makes sense from their point of view," Vanderboegh said. Their "long-term goal is to climb up the resistance tree" of anti-gun control forces in "a civil war that will be provoked by the complete confiscation of guns."

"Trust me, conflict will break out," Vanderboegh said. "It doesn't take the neo-Nazis to start it, but they're more than happy to benefit from it."

With the hindsight of going on ten years, I would say that we made too much of the differences between Hayden Lake (the Aryan Nations) and Nord Davis' bunch in North Carolina. Sometime in the Eighties, the differences between the classic pagan Nazis and the British Israelists of Identity began to meld into a plastic racism and anti-semitism that covered the entire spectrum of cognitive dissonance.

The Klan, which in the 60s despised neo-Nazis, began to warm to them and the neos, for their part, dropped the militant Odinism and embraced the perverted "Christianity" of the Identities. Made insecure by their individual small numbers, they found strength when they had their "pan-racist" get togethers, usually at Richard Butler's Aryan Nations compound at Hayden Lake, Idaho.

Constitutional militiamen are "white on the outside, black on the inside with a Jewish brain." -- Identity "Pastor" Richard Butler, Aryan Nations, Hayden Lake, Idaho.

How often does your pastor "Sieg Heil" in church? Nazi? "Mistaken Identity"? How about both.

(For a glimpse of one of these get-togethers in Michigan, see if you can find a 1991 documentary entitled "Blood in the Face." Note that news reports today place our Christian-disdaining Holocaust Museum shooter as living in Hayden Lake, Idaho in 2004-2005.)

Abortion clinic bomber Eric Robert Rudolph was raised in Identity by his mother. Though he claimed during his trial that he was Catholic, he later admitted in prison that:

"Many good people continue to send me money and books. Most of them have, of course, an agenda; mostly born-again Christians looking to save my soul. I suppose the assumption is made that because I'm in here I must be a 'sinner' in need of salvation, and they would be glad to sell me a ticket to heaven, hawking this salvation like peanuts at a ballgame. I do appreciate their charity, but I could really do without the condescension. They have been so nice I would hate to break it to them that I really prefer Nietzsche to the Bible."

Eric Robert Rudolph, Identity terrorist and abortion clinic bomber.

So why would Rudolph want to bomb an abortion clinic? Was it because the Mistaken Identities, so un-Christian in most every other way, were "pro-life" as the "main stream" media allege?

Jim Ridgeway, the left-liberal screenwriter for Blood in the Face, is (oddly enough) intellectually honest when it comes to facts. I know this because he gave J.D. Cash, Glenn Wilburn and me a fair shake in an article he wrote for George magazine on the Oklahoma City Bombing independent investigation. Here is what Ridgeway wrote on 6 June about that very question.

A Brief History of the Radical, Violent Right: How Racist Hate Groups Joined Up with Abortion Terrorists

By James Ridgeway,

Posted June 6, 2009.

Alleged murderer Scott Roeder was once a white separatist before he became an anti-choice zealot -- many others have followed the same deadly path.

The revelation that Scott Roeder, the alleged murderer of Dr. George Tiller, belonged to an anti-government, white separatist group called the Montana Freemen might seem like an unlikely twist. After all, such groups are generally thought of as either indifferent to the issue of abortion or actively enthusiastic about its potential for reducing the nonwhite population. As it turns out, however, the journey from radical racialist to anti-abortionist isn't as unusual as you might think.

Roeder's connections to the right-wing fringe began well over a decade ago, according to the Kansas City Star. His ex-wife, Lindsey, said that after a few years of marriage, Roeder became increasingly involved with the Freemen and its anti-government ideology. "The anti-tax stuff came first, and then it grew and grew. He became very anti-abortion…That's all he cared about is anti-abortion. 'The church is this. God is this.' Yadda yadda." Noting that she vehemently disagreed with her ex-husband's views, Lindsey Roeder told the Star that he moved out in 1994. "I thought he was over the edge with that stuff," she said. "He started falling apart. I had to protect myself and my son."

In 1996, Roeder was arrested in Topeka after sheriff deputies stopped his car because it had no license plate. Instead, the Star reported, "it bore a tag declaring him a 'sovereign' and immune from state law. In the trunk, deputies found materials that could be assembled into a bomb." Roeder was convicted, sentenced to two years probation, and told to stay away from far-right groups. A state appeals court subsequently overturned the conviction.

Roeder and the Freemen belonged to a little-recognized nativist political movement that began in the early 20th century, flared up periodically, and then ripped through the American heartland during the farm depression of the mid-1980s. This movement was often called "the posse," after a core group named the Posse Comitatus.

Like any political movement, it consisted of a myriad of shifting entities that appeared and disappeared. But even though the names of the groups often changed, they all held tightly to the notion that the true white sovereigns, who had rightfully been given this land by God, were being threatened by race traitors "inferior races" creeping across the borders from Mexico and lands farther south. A favorite posse image was a drawing of a man hanging by the neck from a tree on a hill. Below in the distance stands a group of armed men. A sign is scrawled on the drawing. It says "The posse."

Over the years, this movement has encompassed various remnants of the Ku Klux Klan, what was left of Lincoln Rockwell's Nazis, the national socialists of William Pierce, and skinheads. Sometimes, adherents of the Posse ideology operated underground. Sometimes, they attempted to win support via electoral politics, like the white supremacist David Duke, who ran numerous times for statewide and national office. Terry Nichols, who along with Timothy McVeigh carried out the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, dabbled with the concept of sovereign citizenship. The militia movement, too, was an outgrowth of the posse movement. Daniel Levitas, author of a book about the phenomenon, has described Roeder's group, the Montana Freemen, as "the direct ideological descendants of the Posse Comitatus."

(MBV Note: "The militia movement, too, was an outgrowth of the posse movement." Ridgeway knows better than this, at least he did in the 90s, but I guess you can only expect a leftist's memory to work for so long.)

The Freemen aimed to rid the nation of "14th Amendment citizens" -- anyone who wasn't a white Anglo Saxon directly descended from God. Nonwhites, or "mud people," weren't really people at all, but God's failed attempts to create Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. A bad Xerox copy, they used to say. These beliefs derived from a school of thought known as Christian Identity, which holds that Jews, blacks, and other minorities aren't actually people and therefore don't deserve constitutional rights. Instead, those rights are reserved for so-called "white Sovereigns," who aim to take over government and run it through grand juries of the people, with laws enforced by old-time posses.

The Freemen achieved notoriety in 1995, when they moved into a foreclosed farm in Garfield County, Montana, which they named Justus Township. Here they cached weapons and ammunition, dug bunkers, stockpiled food, and cut off a county road. They prepared for a siege with the feds. But the FBI eventually brought in an attorney connected to the Aryan Nations and worked out a surrender deal. Some of the Freemen were prosecuted for running a check scam. (One of the most detailed accounts of the Freemen and the unraveling of the far-right movement is contained in Blood and Politics, a new book by Leonard Zeskind. He is the leading historian of the scene.)

(MBV Note: I haven't read Zeskind's book, but I disagree with the characterization. He is one of the promulgator's of the false "Narrative of 1995." Insofar as this: "But the FBI eventually brought in an attorney connected to the Aryan Nations and worked out a surrender deal," this was Kirk Lyons. Lyons was the attorney who made his racist bones defending Identity clients in the Fort Smith, Arkansas sedition trial in the 1980s. He married imprisoned Order assassin David Lane's sister. In 1995, it was revealed that he shepherded Andreas Carl Strassmeier into and across the United States, vouching for him to Identity "Pastor" Millar at Elohim City -- himself later revealed to be an FBI snitch --, where he became security chief. Strassmeier, J.D. Cash believed, as so do I, was the principal federal provocateur inside the OKC bombing conspiracy. After press attention turned to the Identity links to the bombing in the wake of the revelation that McVeigh had called Strassmeier at Elohim City a few days before the bombing, Lyons smuggled Strassmeier out of the country via Mexico back to his native Germany. Lyons' own alibi for the day of the bombing was highly suspect, according to law enforcement sources at the time. Lyons has played all sides of the street all of his adult life, and was certainly an FBI informant long before he sought to be a "disinterested party" in the Freeman standoff. He also recently helped engineer a racist coup within the national leadership of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. "Identity, FBI, Identity, FBI. It's hard to tell where one ends and the other begins," or so said J.D. Cash before his death.)

One might think that the divisions between pro-life Christians and far-right racists would preclude any sort of working alliance. Evangelical Christians thought that the creation of Israel was a sign of the Second Coming of Christ and became keen supporters of that country. The racialists, meanwhile, hated Israel and detested Jerry Falwell for supporting it. The Klan historically loathed Catholics, and modern far-right leaders like Tom Metzger in California thought abortion was a great way to stem the tide of brown and black babies who were burdening the welfare system and who as adults would threaten white political power.

In the early and mid-'80s, however, the racialist underground often railed against abortion. I wrote about this development in the Village Voice:

Bob Mathews, leader of a terror gang known as The Order, saw abortion as the suicide of the white race. Jim Wickstrom, the Christian Identity leader of another underground terror group called the Posse Comitatus, ranted against Jewish doctors and nurses who engaged in abortion. Posse screeds claimed the space program was part of a plot to get rid of aborted fetuses by blasting them into space.

By the 1990s, the far right had started to attack abortion clinics. Ray Lampley, a far-right racialist in Oklahoma, and two members of a national militia were convicted in federal court of conspiring to bomb abortion clinics (along with gay bars, welfare offices, an Anti-Defamation League office, and the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama). In Spokane, Washington, three men who claimed ties to a group called the Phineas Priesthood were charged with the bombings of a newspaper office and a Planned Parenthood clinic. The group is named for a Bible story in which Phinehas slew an interracial couple. Today's Phineas Priesthood has been popularized by the white separatist William Pierce, whose 1989 book, The Hunter, tells the story of a drive-by killer who starts out murdering interracial couples and works his way up to killing Jews in order to save the future of white civilization. Paul Hill, who was sentenced to death for the murder of an abortion doctor and his escort, has written an essay calling for "Phineas actions." In 1994, he told USA Today, "I could envision a covert organization developing -- something like a pro-life IRA." (Hill was executed in 2003.)

What was the bridge between the posse movement and anti-abortionist fanaticism? The Sovereign crowd viewed women as chattel, and the prospect of an independent woman deciding to seek an abortion didn't sit well with them. I gained some insight into this line of thinking in another piece I once wrote about a young woman in Oklahoma who aspired to join the Christian Identity group, hoping that its followers would teach her to shoot and become a guerrilla. Instead, the men asked her for sex. When the woman replied that she wanted a relationship first, one of them replied, "Women are for breeding." According to one faction of the group, women who have abortions are race traitors and should be stoned to death. With that in mind, the fact that some members of the far-right became violent anti-abortionists perhaps shouldn't come as such a surprise.

Racists like Identity don't give a hoot in hell if abortionists kill black or Jewish babies. It bothers the heck out of them when those babies are white.

Is this "pro-life"?


Let's recap:

Bob Mathews and the Order? Identity.

Aryan Nations? Identity.

The Freemen? Identity.

Ray Lampley? Identity.

Elohim City, Oklahoma, support base of the Aryan Republican Army bank robbery gang, where McVeigh called two days before the OKC bombing? Identity.

Eric Robert Rudolph? Identity.

The Holocaust Museum shooter? Two years at Identity Central, Hayden Lake, Idaho.

Scott Roeder? Almost certainly Identity.

Starting to see a pattern?

(More on Roeder's connections in Mistaken Indentity, Part 4.)


Anonymous said...

What's interesting is if you trace this 'Identity' movement back to its origin, you wind up with names like Wesley Swift and a certain Singlaub, who also seemed to have connections with none other than the Reverend Moon out of Korea... all this goes back to the 40s and 50s and 60s and seems to be connected with certain elements of the 'Anti-Communist' movement of that day. Interesting...

Defender said...

Thank you for the excellent research, Mr. Vanderboegh.
Just as anti-gun agitators CLAIM to care about crime victims, these liars CLAIM to defend the unborn. They're stuck in the Stone Age, when the size of your tribe was all-important in the quest for domination.
There's also a fascinating similarity between them and professional politicians, who take a hard line and condemn all those who disagree. "Gott mit Uns," that sort of thing.

Johnny Deceptively said...

Damn, Mike, this is some damn good reserach on your part. Awesome job explaining the facts and history behind all the crap that the media keeps repeating. Keep it coming.

I'll be linking all this stuff to the people I know who automatically blame rightwing/christian/militia/gunowners/etc on the recent violence.

Johnny said...

If these loons didn't exist the government would have to invent them... in fact, I'm not so sure they didn't... It's believed, amongst the crowd I run with, that the much-reviled British National Party (BNP) is actually a creature of MI5. Its bizarro world policies that make no sense even given their own crazy premises are far too conveniently handy for terrifying the electorate and encouraging them to vote the "appropriate" way "or the extremists will gain power." People are no longer able to stomach voting for political parties - so they make sure there's something they have to vote against.

Trouble is, when you choose the lesser of two evils - what you get is still evil.

Grumpyunk said...

Thanks for all the detail on this and a lot of things lately.
I've really enjoyed a lot of your history and background posts in the last few months.

You're a good teacher, Mike.