In its crusade against hate groups, the hacktivist group Anonymous obtained (read: stole through malicious online attacks) records that they say establish close connections between Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul and a Southern California-based racist political party.
The story, like Paul's overall candidacy, hasn't and likely won't make the center ring in the GOP primary circus, but it's been picking up traction on the fringes. Anonymous says it has emails that prove Paul communicated with ranking members of American Third Position (A3P), a political party identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League.
Paul's campaign, of course, denies the allegations.
In September 2010, CityBeat covered A3P's attempts to recruit in San Diego and the organization's ties to the Neo Nazi movement. Members we spoke to did not deny their involvement in white nationalist organizations, but say this is a change in strategy. Instead of engaging in combative activities, the group attempts to be more inclusive by appealing to the "regular white guy on the street” with patriotic messages that aren't overtly racist. Its overall aspiration is to become a political force, using the electoral process to gain traction, just as the far-right British National Party has in England. ---
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Based in Orange County, the political group registered itself with the California Secretary of State late in 2009. Representatives have set up tables and small demonstrations in Long Beach and Huntington Beach, where young men and women wave U.S. flags and hold posters that say “Support Arizona” and “American Jobs for American People.” San Diego County may be the next target for the group, which is, on its face, indistinguishable from a Tea Party or other libertarian organization.
There is a difference, though: A3P aspires to be the party that exclusively represents the interests of white people. It's this element that has attracted the attention of local groups like the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, which has republished articles from the Southern Poverty Law Center, an anti-hate group, on its blog. The Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish group that tracks anti-Semitism, has compiled extensive dossiers on the group's leaders and their ties to alleged racist and extremist organizations.
Rather than deny it, A3P Chairman William Johnson, an L.A.-based attorney, puts the group in context with the current political climate.
“I've been quite involved for maybe close to 30 years, and I've worked in different organizations, and they've never been successful,” Johnson says. “They've always caused a lot of grief to my family and me because a lot of people dislike my views. But this is the first time now that I'm finding an acceptance toward my positions. I think we're seeing a monumental shift in public opinion. While I've not changed my views, public perception of my views is changing even as we speak.”
For more background, read the full story here.