Wow! It is pretty amazing what we can learn through comparison. The events of the last couple of weeks surrounding the indictment and arrest of the Roanoke based neo-Nazi, William White, have been like a throw-back in time and caused me to go to the archives and files from almost five years back.
As the debate over the indictment of White continues among White Nationalists, neo-Nazis, and even those unaffiliated and unsympathetic to all things supremacist, one common thread is the pros-and cons of the reasons behind the arrest - did the federal government have cause to act? Another is, where’s the evidence?
As the charge against White concerns the jury foreperson in the trial of another supremacist, Matt Hale, who is currently incarcerated for the solicitation of the murder of a federal judge, I thought it might be interesting to look at the similarities and differences in the way that this unfolds.
Within a couple of days of both arrests the Department of Justice issued statements to the press regarding the charges. The statements are strikingly similar and might offer, in the case of Bill White, some insight into what the future might hold.
One of the major differences lies in the fact that the investigation into Hale was conducted by the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and that Hale was held under Special Administrative Measures as a domestic terrorist while White doesn’t appear to have drawn the same distinction.
In the statement made in 2003, the Department of Justice established the nature of Hale’s organization, the scope of the organization, and that he was, in fact, the person in charge…
“According to the indictment, The World Church of the Creator (WCOTC) is an unincorporated association that holds itself out as a religious organization “[d]edicated to the Survival, Expansion, and Advancement of the White Race.” Based in East Peoria, the WCOTC has branches and members in multiple states and in foreign countries. It disseminates information about its principles and teachings through various means, including written documents bearing the 2 WCOTC’s name and the through an Internet site bearing the WCOTC’s name. Hale allegedly controls the operations of the WCOTC and influences and attempts to influence and control many of the activities of its members, and is known within the WCOTC as its “supreme leader” and “Pontifex Maximus.”
Similarly, in the statement of October 22nd, 2008, the DOJ establishes much the same as pertains to White…
“According to the indictment, White created and maintained a website, "Overthrow.com," which was publicly accessible on the Internet. The Web site purported to be affiliated with the "American National Socialist Workers Party" (ANSWP), and claimed the organization was comprised of a "convergence of former [white supremacy] 'movement' activists who grew disgusted with the general garbage that 'the movement' has attracted and who formed the ANSWP under the Command of Bill White." Members of the ANSWP were described as "National Socialists...who fight for white working people."
The statement given about Hale then elaborated sparingly upon the indictment by announcing…
“The indictment alleges that between Nov. 29 and Dec. 17, 2003, Hale, acting with intent that another person engage in felony conduct -- specifically, forcible assault and murder of Judge Lefkow – and under circumstances strongly corroborative of that intent, did solicit that other person to engage in such conduct. It also alleges that during the same period, Hale corruptly and by force endeavored to influence Judge Lefkow in the discharge of her duty while she was presiding over the trademark lawsuit”
In much the same way, they addressed the indictment of White…
“Between Sept. 11 and Oct. 11, 2008, White allegedly used the website to solicit another person to injure Juror A on account of Juror A's role as the foreperson of the jury that convicted Matthew Hale, the leader of a white-supremacist organization known as the World Church of the Creator, who was found guilty and sentenced to 40 years in prison for soliciting the murder of a federal judge in Chicago.”
Not affording the same brevity to White, the DOJ went on to say…
“The indictment alleges that as part of the solicitation, inducement and endeavor to persuade a person to use, attempt to use or threaten the use of force against Juror A, White caused derogatory comments and personal information about Juror A, including Juror A's home address and phone numbers, to be posted on the Overthrow.com website on September 11. The solicitation allegedly occurred under circumstances strongly corroborating White's intent that another person engage in criminal conduct using, attempting to use or threatening the use of force against Juror A.”
In both statements, the government has brought forth allegations of intent to cause another person to bring harm on a particular party. The language used in both statements is strikingly similar and conveys the message that both Hale and White were and are white supremacists whom they believe were “leaders” with considerable influence over their followers and who endeavored to solicit or induce others to commit acts of violence.
Even more apparent is that the case against White is starting off much like the case against Hale. In the initial documents filed against Hale excerpts from the White Man’s Bible and other publications were used much like White’s own postings and publications are being used against him in an effort to establish, motive, intent, and general mindset.
It should also be noted that more charges were subsequently filed in the Hale case, as I suspect they will be in the case against Bill White. What was not immediately evident in the case against Hale, and not against White either, was the extent of the evidence. Should this take a similar road to conviction, one could speculate that the witness list will include at least one, if not several, who will testify against the self-proclaimed leader of the American National Socialist Worker’s Party.
There are differences, however. The contradistinctions come not so much in the charges or the government’s case, but in the individuals themselves.
Matthew Hale had a following. His claim to be “the fastest growing” hate group in America, was not a false one and he was of great concern to those of us who reported on such things. He utilized the internet to recruit, yet it was his speeches, hot-line messages, and weekly radio broadcasts that garnered the attention of most of his fellow racists. Those things combined with his appearances on various talk shows and his meetings held in public libraries helped to contribute to his success as a “leader.”
Bill White never quite approximated Hale. Probably the closest he ever came to a meaningful following was during his brief tenure with the National Socialist Movement and that blew up in his face. Given his background as an anarchist and a communist, Bill always had a cloud of skepticism and mistrust to overcome.
Much like a bull in a china shop, White alienated many within the “movement,” not just through his own viscosity, but because of his intemperate need to always be noticed, to always be right, to always be on top - not that Hale wasn’t ego-driven – he was to a degree.
One of my favorite comments ever made about and to Bill by someone in the movement came from the Vanguard News Network forum…
“The main problem that I have with you is that you tend to bring that same mentality to disputes with people who are (presumably) your allies. You remind me of a hyena that is so hopped up on testosterone that she chews off the ears of her littermates and mother in misdirected fits of aggression. Other people have "issues" as well, but one thing I've learned from life, is that the world is so full of irrational people that you do yourself a disservice by adding to their numbers.”
But, I digress. While Hale was able to enlist the numbers, he lacked the ability to enlist quality adherents. Most of those rallying around the quirky, and somewhat nerdy, Hale were young skinheads and other misguided miscreants. White has consistently lacked the ability to enlist more than a handful into his fold and has also been a magnet for the unstable and the uneducated.
For a short period of time, after leaving the National Socialist Movement, it appeared that White was going to pick up many of those who jumped the sinking ship of Schoep’s bunch, setting off more than a few alarm bells. However, one-by-one, they swiftly realized that Bill White was not the Great White Hope.
What has been left behind to follow in lock-step has been nothing more than a rag-tag contingency of malcontents and misfits who have been made to feel important and lack any direction in all things meaningful.
Matthew Hale had the legal prowess to walk the fine line between legal and illegal. He did, however, like so many others within movement that cannot stand on their own merit, lack discretion in choosing those who could be trusted. Bill White, on the other hand, doesn’t have the legal acuity, the discretion, or the following to choose from.
So, where, you might ask, is the danger? With Hale the danger always came from either within the group or those who ascribed to a belief rife with hate as well as an unstable propensity for violence. That is always the peril facing society with groups such as Hale’s. The danger with White, is no less real, and perhaps even more so.
What Bill White and his ANSWP lacks in following is made up for in audience. Hale made a few headlines, but his message was by-and-large reserved for those who would dial his hotline, tune into his radio show, or attend his meetings. Additionally, Hale had learned a couple of things. He knew that given the right subject, he could groom and cultivate a follower who would do almost anything for him, i.e. Benjamin Smith. He also knew that he had to be very careful in what he said in any public forum so as not to find himself tied to anything illegal that his adherents might do.
Also, it is true that Hale and his WCOTC advocated genocide and removal of all things white from our society. Such things, however, while loathsome, are not easily accomplished by a group who is so sorely in the minority. Until the Lefkow ruling, Hale rarely publicly designated individuals for murder. He railed against “the Jews,” he ranted about “JOG,” and he castigated “muds,” but was very careful about specifics.
Conversely, Bill White used his internet website to advocate violence against specified individuals from all walks. He sent threatening emails and letters to specific groups and individuals. He published personal information and publicly invited others to engage in activities, the range of which were only limited by the moral compass of his readers.
Using an internet website as a tool of terror or a tool of inducement requires no mental acumen and no cultivation of loyalty to the webmaster. All that is necessary for the manipulation of an unstable individual under the influence of such a person is a malicious and twisted sense of moral turpitude and a desire to exact vengeance on an unsuspecting victim or society. It also has the ability to reach a vast number of people.
Through the adept use of metatags and search engines and internet ingenuity a good webmaster can assure that his website is viewed by a large cross-section of people. White’s website was visited by those within the movement, those opposed to the movement, the curious, and the unsuspecting. People surfing the net didn’t have to attend a rally or a meeting or tune in to a radio program they simply had to point a mouse and click.
One has to only look at the fact that the family of Judge Joan Lefkow, the very judge that Matt Hale solicited the murder of, was killed savagely after her personal information was posted on white power websites across the net, to understand the dangers in utilizing the net for such purposes. Those murders were committed by someone outside of the movement who is thought to have come across that information.
While the cases of Matt Hale and Bill White have very strong similarities, there are stark differences as well. Hale resides in a maximum security prison these days and the future residence of Bill White has yet to be determined. There are those who attempt to give martyr status to both – neither are worthy. And while that is a subject for a whole new article, it is important to note that both of these men engaged in acts that could have had extreme consequences for extremely innocent individuals.
A statement issued by Thomas Kneir, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, following the arrest of Matthew Hale, pretty well summed up the attitude of law-enforcement…
“As Americans, we live and abide by the rule of law. These laws are designed to protect all of our citizens, and when individuals take actions to thwart justice by intending to harm any person, those of us in law enforcement will use all available resources to prevent any harm from occurring.”
Perhaps Hal Turner is next?
Again, I digress. What information and testimony is forthcoming in the Bill White case won’t immediately be known and if it takes the same path as with Hale it will be slow in emerging as well as eye-opening to those awaiting particulars. It took over a year and thousands of pieces of paper to bring Matt Hale to trial. It took another year before he was sentenced.
However, unless extenuating circumstances exist that none of us are privy to at this time, we won’t have to wade through one frivolous motion and continuance after another in the Bill White saga. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out and whether or not the Bill White case goes down much the same trail as Hale’s.
One thing for certain – the internet is a little better place to be tonight than it was a couple of weeks ago. At any rate, we should all remember the words of the DOJ at the end of both statements…
“The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”