Racist Website Targets Truth Commissioners
Attempts by the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission to engage racist right activists on the matter of the 1979 killings of five communist labor activists in the Morningside Homes housing project have prompted some ugly and unsettling rhetoric on the right.
The Commission staff was alerted on April 29 to a list of home addresses and phone numbers of Commission members and others ‘— some of them incorrect ‘—posted on a white supremacist online discussion forum. The list is composed as an intelligence dossier with biographical information and negative research that allegedly links commissioners and others to communist groups and African anti-colonial movements. Some of the biographies are barbed with obscenities and insults.
Those included in the list are the seven Commissioners; Dr. Martha Nathan, a survivor of the massacre and executive director of the Greensboro Justice Fund; and Lisa Magarrell, a consultant to the Commission who works for the International Center for Transitional Justice in New York.
At the bottom of the list, the poster added the comment: ‘“What scumbags. I’d like to reconcile them with the end of my 12-guage,’” adding an ominous implication to the personal information.
Executive Director Jill E. Williams said the Commission has reported the web content to the Greensboro Police Department.
‘“We want to take this threat very seriously and make sure nobody ends up getting hurt, particularly the people whose names and phone numbers were incorrectly cited,’” she said. ‘“That said, when we entered these conversations we knew we were making ourselves vulnerable to these kinds of public reactions, but we still hold that we can engage in genuine one-on-one conversations with members of the Klan and Nazis. This is their public face they probably feel they have to put on, which is perhaps different than what they would say one on one.’”
The list and comment are attributed to white supremacist activist Bill White. On his own website, White posted several articles related to the Greensboro Massacre and the truth commission’s efforts to examine its effect on the city. One of the articles warns young racist activists to treat efforts by Commission Research Director Emily Harwell to engage them in dialogue with suspicion. White states a belief that the Commission is part of a Jewish-communist conspiracy attempting to advance the agenda of the Workers Viewpoint Organization members who survived the massacre.
‘“The Greensboro_TRC poster is a communist Jew troll who should be treated as such,’” he writes. About the Commission’s alleged communist agenda, he adds: ‘“Their face is a Jew inciting and paying Negroes to engage in racial violence against whites. Greensboro was yet another example of that, and any communist Jew who attempts to cast it differently should be treated as filth by the white community.’”
Bill White is a former left-wing anarchist who ran for county commission in suburban Maryland’s Montgomery County before making a wild shift to the right in which he campaigned for conservative Patrick Buchanan for president and set up one of the most widely-read racist right websites, according to research by the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that monitors hate groups. White also manages several rental properties in Roanoke, Va.
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