Credit: Flickr: sylvar

In this week’s Hate Report: A swath of new hate crimes and hate-crime prosecutions across the country, a style guide for neo-Nazis and a white nationalist stumping for Roy Moore.

After a relatively quiet couple of weeks, hate incidents returned with a vengeance in early December:

• In Owasso, Oklahoma, a man accused of targeting the homeless community in a series of horrific attacks now also faces hate-crime charges. Jeremy Dean Thacker was charged with murder and nine related felonies after he allegedly ran victims over with his truck.

The case just took a new twist when Thacker’s former cellmate testified that the alleged murderer told him he had run over a couple who were sleeping outside a mission because he didn’t like seeing a black man with a white woman. The man, Shawn Birdo, was killed.

Thacker is also accused of hitting another man with a metal pipe and running over two other victims.

• In Fox River Grove, Illinois, a man has been charged with a hate crime after allegedly asking a gas station attendant if he was American, telling him to leave the country and throwing a beer at him. Jason P. Bachler faces up to three years in prison.

• In Andover, Massachusetts, police are investigating a spate of anti-Semitic incidents at a high school, including three swastikas that were found on a desk on the first day of Hanukkah. School officials said the incident was the latest of several, and the small town has also seen swastikas spray-painted on road signs and other anti-Semitic graffiti in recent months.

• In Melbourne, Florida, a local man received a 15-year jail sentence for a hate-fueled break-in at a Central Florida mosque. Michael Wolfe, 37, entered into a plea deal where he admitted breaking into the mosque, smashing windows and leaving a slab of raw bacon.

Imam Muhammad Musri, who oversees the mosque, told Florida Today he approved of the long sentence:

“The intent is to really deter similar kinds of hate crime. After what we’ve seen in Texas at the church, this is needed,” Musri said, pointing out that authorities stopped a plot this week targeting a Jacksonville mosque. “Our schools, our churches, our theaters, it’s a red line. It’s heartbreaking. The hate must stop.”    

• In Chicago, a 19-year-old woman pleaded guilty to a hate crime for viciously beating a man with a mental disability in an attack that she and three other assailants broadcast on Facebook Live.

It is unclear whether the hate-crime charges stem from the victim’s disability (which would be classified as a hate crime according to the city of Chicago’s website) or whether it was racially motivated, because the victim was white and the defendants are black. Calls to the Chicago Police Department and Cook County state’s attorney were not answered.  

Brittany Covington avoided jail time, but the judge warned her that she faces prison time if she violates the strict terms of her probation.

Covington’s co-defendants are still in custody. Their cases are pending.

A neo-Nazi style guide

A leaked copy of the style guide for one of the internet’s most popular neo-Nazi websites provides extraordinary insight into the inner workings of the site and the thinking of its creator, troll extraordinaire Andrew Anglin.

The Huffington Post had the scoop on Wednesday:

The site’s stylistic decisions, the subjects it covers, the specific racial slurs it employs – all are consciously chosen for the purpose of furthering The Daily Stormer’s ultimate goal, which, according to the style guide itself, is “to spread the message of nationalism and anti-Semitism to the masses.” Everything is deliberate.

In addition to wonky notes on formatting and a list of preferred racist, anti-Semitic and misogynistic epithets, the guide illustrates three central goals of the Daily Stormer for its writers:

  1. Use humor, irony and sarcasm to give readers the sense that you just might not be serious, even though you are.
  2. Piggyback off the legitimacy of the mainstream media by quoting venerable news sources.
  3. Suck people into the neo-Nazi movement with deep intentionality.

The guide reads:

The goal is to continually repeat the same points, over and over and over again. The reader is at first drawn in by curiosity or the naughty humor, and is slowly awakened to reality by repeatedly reading the same points.

Ultimately, according to the guide, the goal of The Daily Stormer is simple: Blame everything, absolutely everything on the Jews.

Domestic terrorism suspects want pro-Trump jury

Attorneys for a trio of men accused of plotting an Islamophobic terrorist attack have made President Donald Trump central to their case. As the Kansas City Star reports, public defenders representing defendant Curtis Wayne Allen assert the jury pool is being drawn from the Wichita metro area and not western Kansas, which is comparably more politically conservative.

Allen, along with his alleged co-conspirators, is accused of planning to detonate explosives at an apartment complex in Garden City, Kansas, where a significant number of Somali Muslims live. The attack on the building, which also serves as a mosque, was planned for the day after the 2016 presidential election.  

“This case is uniquely political because much of the anticipated evidence will center around, and was in reaction to, the 2016 presidential election,” reads the defense motion to broaden the jury selection poll, filed with the court last Friday.

The defense wants a more conservative jury pool, which the document repeatedly notes overwhelmingly voted for Trump. It highlights the ideological difference between the two parties, “regarding the appropriate size and power of the federal government and the individual rights of its citizens.”

From a fascist podcast to stumping for Roy Moore

One day before losing to Democrat Doug Jones in an election to fill Alabama’s open Senate seat, Roy Moore’s campaign held a rally. One of the speakers was Paul Nehlen, a businessman from Wisconsin who lost a primary bid to oust GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan last year.

As Will Sommer, who writes the essential Right Richter newsletter, pointed out, Nehlen has a history of catering to the white nationalist far-right.

Earlier this month, Nehlen appeared as a guest on the neo-fascist podcast Fash the Nation. On the show, he used the term “shoa’d,” regularly used by anti-Semites online in reference to the Holocaust. When he appeared on the podcast last year, he called for an end to birthright citizenship and labeling Muslim immigrants a “Trojan Horse.” Denizens of 4chan’s white nationalist /pol/ community loved Nehlen’s appearance, seeing him as a way to insert their ideology into mainstream politics.

In an interview on a Chicago radio show, Nehlen suggested deporting all Muslims from the United States.

Nehlen has received support from prominent GOP figures. Pundit Ann Coulter stumped for his primary bid, as did former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Nehlen’s continued presence around the edges of the mainstream Republican politics shows the increasingly blurry line between the party and white nationalism.

Charlottesville says no to another racist rally

The city of Charlottesville, Virginia, which has become synonymous with the far-right racist rally that erupted in violence last summer, has denied permits for a repeat rally in 2018. As we reported last week, Jason Kessler, the blogger who organized the deadly rally this year, applied for a reunion event in August 2018.

On Monday, the city said no, denying the permit and calling the proposed event a “danger to public safety.”

Meanwhile, the mother of Heather Heyer, the woman killed in Charlottesville, told The Daily Beast that she has had to hide her daughter’s remains from neo-Nazis.

And James Fields Jr., the man who is charged with running down Heyer and other protesters in his car, saw his charges upgraded from second- to first-degree murder. According to FindLaw.com, the difference between the two charges comes down to the defendant’s intent at the time of the murder:

First degree murder requires that a defendant plan and intentionally carry out the killing, whereas second degree murder requires that the killing either be intentional or reckless, and occur in the spur of the moment.

Recapping the year in hate

We’re devoting the next Hate Report to the most important stories about the world of hate in 2017. Was there a story you read that you thought was particularly important? Let us know about it. Scroll down ever so slightly for our contact info.

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Have a hate incident to report? Tell us about it here, or contact The Hate Report team: Aaron Sankin can be reached at asankin@revealnews.org, and Will Carless can be reached at wcarless@revealnews.org. Follow them on Twitter: @asankin and @willcarless.

Will Carless was a correspondent for Reveal covering extremism. He has worked as a foreign correspondent in Asia and South America. Prior to joining Reveal, he was a senior correspondent for Public Radio International’s Global Post team based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Before that, Will spent eight years at the Voice of San Diego, where he worked as an investigative reporter and head of investigations. During his tenure in San Diego, Will was awarded several prizes, including a national award from Investigative Reporters and Editors. He has been a finalist for the Livingston Awards for young journalists twice in the last five years. He surfs, spends time with his family, travels to silly places and pretends he’s writing a novel.

Aaron Sankin is a reporter for Reveal covering online extremism, election administration and technology policy. Before joining Reveal, he was a founding editor of The Huffington Post's San Francisco vertical and a senior staff writer on The Daily Dot's politics team. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Salon, Time, The Motley Fool, Mashable, Business Insider, San Francisco magazine and The Onion. A San Francisco Bay Area native, Sankin studied history and sociology at Rice University. His work at The Daily Dot was a finalist in Digiday's 2015 publisher of the year award, and a story he wrote about a Midwestern family being terrorized by a teenage hacker was labeled by The Atlantic as an essential piece of journalism for 2015. Sankin is based in Seattle.