Nazis are useful.
Journalists should interview white supremacists much more often than they do. Nothing demystifies racists like listening to them talk.
Since racists believe they’re naturally superior, they’re often shocked when spics, kikes, niggers, and fags don’t crumple under the weight of their Aryan wisdom. That’s when they expose themselves as common thugs, not super-villains.
Yet some folks don’t want journalists interviewing racists. Just Google the term “normalizing hate speech.”
NPR listeners seem especially offended – and are just the kind of people to use words like “normalizing.” It’s repeated five times in this NPR interview with some of their brittle listeners.
A reporter at Minnesota’s NPR affiliate even asked, “Where is the point when an ethical news organization needs to make a stand against a repugnant idea?”
Here’s a better question: Why should news organizations “make a stand” at all?
Are impressionable Americans really listening to NPR’s interviews with racists and thinking, “Wow, those bigots are persuasive, and if NPR is talking to them, that must be a tacit endorsement of their violent viewpoints!”
How infantilizing. (I feel like that’s also a word some NPR listeners say a lot.)
In 1992, I spent a lunch and an afternoon with a half-dozen Nazis. They had made pre-Internet headlines in South Florida for a particularly brutal tactic: Inserting racist fliers into children’s books at several public libraries.
Back then, three of the nation’s Top 100 newspapers (by circulation) were located in South Florida: The Miami Herald, Palm Beach Post, and Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. A handful of their reporters had spoken on the phone with one of the shadowy cowards skulking in libraries, but none had met them in person.
At the time, I was a cub reporter at the Sun-Sentinel, but I had secretly started my own alternative monthly as a way to write what I wanted – and, let’s be honest, to meet girls. Because this underground rag circulated in seedy bars, it wasn’t difficult to meet people who knew people who could introduce me to Nazis.
Below is the editor’s letter and the cover story I wrote. The result? The people who knew people who knew the Nazis all tried to beat the crap out of them. Those Nazis never pulled another stunt, and I never heard from them or about them again.
By the skin of their heads
I had lunch with a Nazi last month. I met him at the Midtown Grill in downtown West Palm Beach. We went dutch.
His name is Michel Wanless. At only 21, he’s the leader of the Palm Beach County chapter of the Aryan National Front, a loose-knight but uptight fraternity of 50 young white supremacists, Nazi sympathizers, and (of course) skinheads.
Lunch was my idea, the Midtown Grill was his. We both realized a quick meal in a public place was the safest way to start the interviewing for the story on page 12.
I learned six things during lunch. First, Nazis prefer a lemon wedge in their glass of ice water. Second, Nazis eat BLTs, but only on Wonder Bread. (When the waitess asked, “Rye, wheat, or white on that, honey?” Wanless proudly replied, “White bread.”
Third, I learned when dining in public with avowed racist, it’s best to sit away from other people.
We had a small table near the center of the tightly packed dining room. All around us were middle-aged, well-dressed corporate executives who had descended the black-glass office tower next door (known locally as the Darth Vader building).
“The Jews run the abortion clinics because they want to kill all the white babies,” Wanless told me between bites of his BLT. That caused a pause at nearby tables.
The fourth lesson was the most important. Wanless’s Aryan National Front is not a gang. It’s a small business. And I was just another customer.
As we paid for lunch (fifth, I learned Nazis are lousy tippers), Wanless handed me his business card. Above the phone and PO Box numbers, it read: “We Must Secure The Existence of Our People and a Future for White Children.”
He asked for my card. I had to admit to him that I don’t have a business card, and I had to admit to myself that this racist group of mostly young toughs may be better at marketing and promotion than anyone at this magazine is.
“We want this story to run as much as you do,” Wanless told me on the way out the door. “Man, we can’t buy publicity like this.”
He was using me, of course. But I was using him, too. No political group – not the National Abortion Rights Action League or the Republican Party – agrees to an interview unless they think they can spin it in their direction. No publication – not the National Review or the Village Voice – conducts those interviews unless they think they can reverse that spin.
I thought iCe could handle these guys. Now I’m not so sure. Will the Aryan National Front get more recruits than flak from our coverage? I don’t know.
But I do know the mainstream media, from The Palm Beach Post to Channel 5, have done a poor job of investigating the Aryan National Front. They underestimate Wanless and his troops, painting them all as high school dropouts with shaved head and thick skulls. And the Front is thriving on the lack of attention.
That’s the fifth lesson I learned from a cheap, quick lunch with a racist in a downtown diner: Ignorance may be bliss, but it can also be dangerous.
Springtime for Hitler
After a busy summer, the Aryan National Front gears up for the season. Not bad for a bunch of kids that police call dim-witted skinheads…
I was driving through the historic Old Northwood neighborhood in West Palm Beach last month, with one hand on the wheel and one eye on the road. The other hand was clutching a yellow Post-It note, the other eye was looking for an address of the Aryan National Front I had scrawled down the day before.
I was having a hard time finding the house. The directions were easy, but I couldn’t believe the secretive headquarters of a neo-Nazi, white supremacist, punk-skinhead groups such as the ANF was here, in a neighborhood of impeccably and anally renovated historic homes.
The number of things I couldn’t believe really took off once I found the house. It was beautiful.
The tiny, squat Spanish-looking rental home was in mint condition. Any real estate would probably describe it as “cute” and “perfect for a young couple with their first child.”
So I accepted the fact that Palm Beach County’s Nazis live in a cute home and knocked on the door. Michael Wanless, the ANF’s local leader, opened it a crack.
It was dark inside. All I could see was the white of his right eye.
“Hey, come in, come in,” Wanless said, waving me through and quickly closing the door.
Every window had antique-looking wood shutters, all fastened shut. No lights were on, although sunlight blazed through the shutter’s slats. When my eyes adjusted, I saw it was cute inside, too. And clean.
Instead of finding a dozen teenage skinheads in ripped jeans and jackboots gulping beer and crushing the cans against their heads before throwing them on the floor, I saw four young men with buzzcuts and denim shorts sitting on the sofa reading The Palm Beach Post. (Didn’t they know it’s bad to read in the dark?)
Getting this far – in this dimly lit living room of distrustful teenagers – had taken three weeks of negotiation. Since Wanless assumed command of the county’s ANF in March, he’s orchestrated protests that have produced an amazing amount of media attention. But in almost every instance, he and his fellow Nazis have outrageously lied to reporters and police about their real names, their real numbers, and their real goals.
Summer of deception
The ANF was, after all, grabbing its share of headlines and air times without letting a nosy reporter sniff around its house. Consider this summer:
• On May 29, the ANF staged its first major media event under Wanless’ leadership: a “Dump Israel” rally near downtown West Palm Beach. Wanless recruited teenage skinheads to carry placards that read, “No more Jew blood money” and “Jews out.”
The teen skinheads made ideal TV footage – disturbing images of adolescents who had shaved heads but were too young to shave their faces. It also cloaked the real leaders of the ANF from police and media identification.
• Also in May, teenage ANF recruits stuffed leaflets into the racks of the Palm Beach Jewish World, a weekly county newspaper. The leaflets derided interfaith marriages and claimed The Holocaust was a fraud. The leaflets listed a West Palm Beach post office box and a telephone number, but no names or street addresses.
From that point on, the ANF became a fixture in (and a fixation of) the Palm Beach Jewish World.
• On June 6, ANF members stuffed leaflets into dozens of children’s books in the downtown West Palm Beach Library. Under the heading, “What they don’t teach you in school,” the anonymous articles described why African-Americans are inferior to whites. Again, no name, only a P.O. box and a phone number (really a Southern Bell voice mailbox).
That was the ANF’s media breakthrough. The story was carried by two local TV stations and three local newspapers, including The Miami Herald. Wanless created the pseudonym Jessie Coleman to field reporters’ questions.
• On Augst 22, AND members scattered thousands of tiny “White Power” leaflets in the parking lot of the Atlantic Coast Village Market Plaza on Okeechobee Boulevard. The plaza has a kosher butcher shop and a gift shop owned by a Jewish woman. The leaflets, trimmed in swastikas, railed again “race-mixers.”
Equal time for an unequal message
After four months of cleverly deceiving local police and the mainstream media, why would Wanless and his friends Dennis Malandro and Cory Satori agree to fess up now?
“We get a lot of attention from the media, but that’s all run by Jews, and they distort our message,” Wanless said.
“We want to speak our piece,” Malandro said. “The Jewish-owned media don’t provide us with equal time.”
I offered them 100 words, unedited and uncensored, if they gave me personal data – unedited and uncensored.
Malandro isn’t what most people think when they picture a young skinhead. He has long hair instead of a shaved head. He’s a college graduate instead of a high-school dropout, and along with Wanless, he’s a voracious reader.
In the Florida room of ANF HQ are three wall-mounted bookcases, each sagging under the weight of heavy volumes as Jews in America by Arthur Hertzberg, Jews and American Politics by Stephen D. Isaacs, and Great Ages and Ideas of the Jewish People, edited by Leo W. Schwarz.
I asked Wanless why he reads books about Jews written by Jews. “Know your enemy,” he said with a smile.
Not surprisingly, he and Malandro know more about their enemies than their enemies know about them.
Hitler Youth go high-tech
It’s not that the ANF is so adept at fooling the media. It’s really that media are very good at fooling themselves.
In this summer’s TV and newspaper accounts, reporters have connected the local ANF to the national ANF headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama, and other chapters around the country.
But the national office has little to do with the local chapters. This isn’t the Kiwanis Club. Besides a national newsletter called The Combat Report, the local chapters are on their own.
Many chapters are in Deep South or industrial Northern towns. Palm Beach County qualifies as neither. Although Wanless and Malandro won’t talk about what they do to personally earn a living, they do reveal how well-off their chapter is.
Wanless produces the ANF newsletter on Pagemaker, a $500 program that requires at least a $400 computer to run it. Essentially, they have the same equipment this magazine does, and a few things we wish we had. Like a copier, a big-screen TV, and a VCR.
I also spied in the house a Cannondale M500 mountain bike. I checked a local bike shop, which was selling the same for $500.
“We’re probably going to get another computer,” Wanless said. “Our mailing list is up to 212 and growing. People all over the county want to see our stuff. They just don’t want to publicize it.”
I asked to see the mailing list, promising not to write anything down or mention any names I see. Reluctantly, Wanless showed me a printed copy. A man in Palm Beach. A woman in Lake Worth. A family in Loxahatchee. Hobe Sound. Royal Palm Beach. Boca Raton.
And the money keeps coming in. From somewhere, from all over.
Ignorance is dangerous
When the ANF tossed those leaflets in the Atlantic Coast Village Market Plaza last month, The Post wrote a small story on page 2 of the Local News section.
It most quoted Louise Shure, Palm Beach County’s regional director of the Anti-Defamation League. The only attempt The Post made to contact the ANF was a phone call to the ANF’s voice mailbox…
The recorded voice on the phone message castigates two Jewish organizations as “terrorists” and “anti-free speech.” It then asks people to leave their names and addresses if they are prepared to take a pledge to “secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”
That’s the most The Post has ever done to get the other side of the story.
In fact, the aforementioned Louise Shure, a Boca Raton resident, seems to be the only person in Palm Beach County who takes the ANF as seriously as the ANF takes itself.
“I’ve been monitoring them since March,” Shure says. “I’ve noticed an increase of activity since May. They’re pretty ugly people. They are deeply anti-Semitic, they are deeply racist, and they are deeply anti-homosexual. I think they are very dangerous. If they saw a vulnerable homosexual, alone at night or something, they would beat him up for the fun of it.”
Shure’s comments have a way of appearing in nearly every story about the ANF, and that rankles Wanless.
What really infuriates him is that Shure manages to get her quote above his own (always under the guise of Jesse Coleman). In other words, Shure is also clever about her media manipulation.
“She’s a lousy Kike,” Wanless says.
But she’s also one of the reasons I got to sit the ANF’s living room.
A Shure thing
One insult Shure repeats often goes something like this…
The members of the Aryan National Front push this big macho image, and then they recruit by hiding their messages in children’s library books. How macho is that?
This comment has gotten under the ANF’s white skin. Wanless and his friends sat they stay behind the scenes because they know their views are unpopular.
“The Negroes and the Jews say we’re violent and they’re for peace, but if they knew where we lived, they’d come after us, you can be sure of that,” Malandro said, sitting in a living room with all the shutters closed.
Judging by some of their comments and literature, Malandro probably has a point.
Because Shure has so successfully countered their rhetoric in the local media, the ANF leaders don’t feel comfortable confiding in a reporter to present their side.
Wanless says he doesn’t fear so much for his own safety as that of his girlfriend and the younger ANF members.
When I first walked into the living room last month, Wanless’ girlfriend retreated to a back bedroom. three of the young men on the couch dropped their newspapers and left the house without saying a word.
“They’re just high school kids,” Wanless says. “You wouldn’t want to talk to them. They’re a wolfpack in Wellington.”
Wolfpacks are the ANF’s minor leagues. Now that the school year has begun, Wanless and his troops will fan out with thousands of leaflets and secretly recruit on the county’s high school campuses.
“They’re our vanguard,” he says. “We’ll train them, and one day, they’ll take over the group.”
That day is almost here. Wanless is ready to get out.
“I’m tired,” he says, “and my girlfriend is pregnant.”
How will he train his replacement? By sending the most promising Wolfpack member to law school.
Law school? I thought to myself: This ANF chapter has enough money for Nazi scholarships? Isn’t it time someone take these guys seriously?
Dancing and drinking with Nazis
The media aren’t the only ones blase about the ANF. The police aren’t too concerned, either.
Although I tried for two weeks, I couldn’t find anyone in the West Palm Beach police department who would talk to me about the ANF. At one point, the assistant police chief assured me Sgt. John English would return my phone call the next day. Two days later, I left him another voice mail, to no avail.
I spoke with a Boynton Beach police officer I know, and he said groups such as the ANF garner little attention these days. The buzzword in cop shops in the ’90s is “gang violence.” Pursuing youngsters who slip leaflets into library books isn’t considered a high priority.
“Outside of West Palm, it’s probably not a big deal, anyway,” the Boynton cop told me.
I didn’t tell him Palm Beach County’s first “Whit Power” party was held last month less than a mile from his police station.
It was at Cory Satori’s house. By this time, I wasn’t surprised to discover it was the biggest, nicest, and newest in the neighborhood.
While that probably wasn’t her real name – and unlike Wanless, I didn’t bother to check – the photos from her house party certainly weren’t faked. There looked to be about 50 people there, drinking and laughing and mugging for the camera, just like at other people’s parties. Except many of them were wearing whit T-shirts with “White Power” emblazoned on the front in red letters. And a Nazi flag was pinned over the couch in the living room.
Satori says she was pleased: “Our house didn’t get trashed. There was a stain on the carpet from some fruit juice, but that was it.”
About half of the partygoers appeared to be skinheads, and all looked young. (I have yet to see a 40-year-old skinhead.) It became clear to me that being a skinhead as a phase as well as a fashion. The ANF leaders, all in their mid to late 20s, are indistinguishable from “normal people.”
Wanless said he used to be a skinhead. Having dealt with skinheads before, I asked him to prove it. He pinched his lower lip and pulled it down, revealing a tattoo inside his mouth of a swastika and the word “skins.”
I asked him why he gave up the fashion.
“I’m gonna have a kid, man. All of this is very time-consuming, and it can be dangerous. Right now, I just wanna raise my kid and teach him how to be a good white person.”
Goodbye and Hiel Hitler
I turned off the tape recorder, said thanks, and got up to leave. Milandro tapped me on the arm and said, “You seem open-minded. Why don’t you join us?”
I told him I’m not the kind of person he’s looking for. I didn’t have the heart, or the balls, to tell him I’m Jewish.
IN THEIR WORDS
The Aryan National Front says the media distorts its message. We offered Palm Beach County’s ANF leaders 100 words – uncensored and unedited – to state their case…
We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children. These 14 words are what the ANF believes in and is fighting for. Nothing more and nothing less.
We believe that whites around the world must either unite, raise the battle flag and follow Adolph Hitler, or live in a mongrelized, Bolshevik, communist slave-world under the leadership of the Jews. There simply is no middle ground.
The Aryan National Front is a front group for the white public to achieve a white’s only imperative to survive as a cultural entity.