Thursday, January 17, 2008

Hal Turner: A strange story

Hal Turner is -- was? -- a white nationalist and ultra-right-winger who, until last week, ran an incendiary radio show. During the course of his career, he has often made threats and called for violence, as he did in December of 2006:
We may have to ASSASSINATE some of the people you elect on Nov. 7! This could be your LAST ELECTION CHANCE, to save this Republic... Sorry to have to be so blunt, but the country is in mortal danger from our present government and our liberty is already near dead because of this government. If you are too stupid to turn things around with your vote, there are people out here like me who are willing to turn things around with guns, force and violence.
He also once called for drawing up "target" lists of Jewish religious schools. On his site, he proudly displayed pictures of an act of violence perpetrated against a pro-immigration marcher.

Such words and deeds would normally attract the attention of the FBI and the Secret Service, yet the authorities refused to do anything about Turner, and refused to explain why they kept letting him off the hook.

Why? This report from the Southern Poverty Law Center suggests an answer:
On Jan. 1, unidentified hackers electronically confronted Turner in the forum of his website for “The Hal Turner Show.” After a heated exchange, they told Turner that they had successfully hacked into his server and found correspondence with an FBI agent who is apparently Turner’s handler. Then they posted an alleged July 7 E-mail to the agent in which Turner hands over a message from someone who sent in a death threat against Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.). “Once again,” Turner writes to his handler, “my fierce rhetoric has served to flush out a possible crazy.” In what is allegedly a portion of another E-mail, Turner discusses the money he is paid.
As soon as this information became a matter of discussion within extremist circles, Turner denounced the White Power movement and quit his radio show.

All of which forces us to ask a hard question. Was Turner an informant, or a provocateur?

I'm reminded of John Roy Carlson, whose fascinating wartime volume Under Cover can still be found in many used book stores. In the 1930s and 40s, Carlson -- real name: Avedis Derounian -- infiltrated the American Nazi movement for the FBI. (Actually, the book never says that he worked for Hoover, but a little reading between-the-lines makes the situation clear.) In the course of his work, he published a pro-Fascist newsletter, then sent the names and addresses of subscribers to his handlers in D.C.

Carlson did not commit, inspire, or advocate acts of violence. Can the same be said of Turner, who had a much wider audience? Do FBI rules allow informants to get away with the kind of things Turner did?

Another question: How much distance separates Turner's rhetoric from that of Ann Coulter?


AitchD said...

OMG, Richard Carlson played a character (Herbert A. Philbrick) in the 1950s TV series "I Led 3 Lives" (husband/FBI agent/Commie cell member). And Edward Wilson in "The Good Shepherd" outed his Yale lit prof only to meet him again on the inside. I remember a news story (it could have been reported by Paul Harvey -- back then news was rare and scarce) from around 1967 (a year after Richard Speck and Charles Whitman if you want some perspective): At a state fair, a guy promised to send a free sample of his chili or somesuch to anyone who gave him an address and a dollar to cover the mailing, and he intended to poison black people that way. The news story was that he was arrested. I don't think there's any documented case of a halloween apple with a razor blade or glass shards in candy, but I don't recall hearing if they ever caught the Tylenol tamperer.

"Another question: How much distance separates Turner's rhetoric from that of Ann Coulter?"

If you didn't watch TV or listen to the radio, would you feel safer or less safe? On Cloud 9 the news shows all begin with blues harps, mandolins, and rough fiddles, but here they all begin like screaming ambushes. Olbermann's Countdown is the best, it makes me want to sink my teeth into the neck of a galloping wildebeest. Even Democracy Now!'s intro is hypermanic. I know it's like a logo and so you can hear when it comes on because your AC or fridge is noisy or you're running the DW or upstairs someone's taking a shower, or the window's open, but like John Edwards said, It doesn't have to be that way.

Anonymous said...

If you were a Neo-nazi, Muslim Brotherhood or any bad guy, what would be the best way to go about what you do without getting caught or punished? You'd infiltrate the group handing out punishment.

World Trade Center '93, 9/11, Oklahoma City and McVeigh. All the same story... informants and agent provocatuers working under cover of the agencies that are supposed to stop these type of attacks which then allow them to occur anyways.

Antifascist said...

Joseph writes:

"All of which forces us to ask a hard question. Was Turner an informant, or a provocateur?"

I'd say the answer to your question is both. In San Diego during the 1960s early 1970s, the FBI encouraged a far-right splinter organization allied with the Minutemen, the Secret Army Organization to attack antiwar groups, antiwar GI coffee houses and alternative press in a true reign of terror.

Before the group was brought to ground by local cops, not the FBI, they planted bombs (and detonated them) in San Diego porno houses, shot a women mistakenly believed to be a antiwar organizer and in general, sought to terrorize the left. After the bust, what happened to the cell's leader? He was given a new identity and entered the witness protection program. What happened to his FBI handler? Why nothing, of course!

More recently, Robert G. Millar, the "pastor" of the neo-Nazi white supremacist Elohim City compound in Oklahoma was unmasked as an FBI informant in the wake of the Murrah Building bombing. [Ivo Dawnay, "Informant Accuses FBI Over Oklahoma Bomb, Sunday Telegraph, July 20, 1997]

BTW, according to the late investigative journalist JD Cash, who himself infiltrated the "Patriot" militia movement after losing a friend in the OKC blast, Morris Dees' SPLC had a high-level informant in Elohim City prior to OKC. This information became public when Cash obtained FBI documents via the Freedom of Information Act a couple of years ago. Dees denies it, however.

Times may change, the state's playbook remains the same.

Anonymous said...

FBI agents framed men for murder, to protect the actual murderer who was an informant for them inside the Mafia.

Who says? It's now in the public record, along with the use of the FBI crime lab to falsify and fabricate frameup evidence.

...sofla said...

The claims of me being and FBI Informant are false. Only because the claim fit the agenda of the Southern Poverty Law Center did they do a story about the false claims.

Not a single person anywhere has ever said that I turned them in for a criminal act or testified against them in court.

I came back on the air last Wednesday to publicly refute these bogus claims. All interested persons can hear the complete 2 hour show by downloading the archive from:

THe reason I never got arrested for anything I said was due to US Supreme Court case law which is discussed at length during the radio show above. It is LEGAL to call for criminal acts or killings as long as such utterances are made in a context which does not lend itself to IMMINENT lawlessness.

Hal Turner