American Freedom Party

Emma Best filed this request with the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America.

It is a clone of this request.

Tracking # 1363797-000, DOJ-AP-2017-002346
Due Jan. 25, 2017
Est. Completion None
Status
Awaiting Response

Communications

From: Michael Best

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

Records relating to or mentioning American Freedom Party . The American Freedom Party (formerly American Third Position) is a political party initially established by racist Southern California skinheads that aims to deport immigrants and return the United States to white rule. The group is now led by a coterie of prominent white nationalists, including corporate lawyer William D. Johnson, virulent anti-Semite Kevin MacDonald and white nationalist radio host James Edwards. David Duke’s former right-hand man, Jamie Kelso, helps with organizing. The party has big plans to run candidates nationwide.

The American Freedom Party (formerly American Third Position, A3P) was officially formed in October 2009, but its foundations were laid five months earlier. In May 2009, a racist skinhead group named Freedom 14 created the Golden State Party (GSP) in order to establish what was meant to be a respectable white nationalist political party. Members of Freedom 14, which organized via the hate Web forum Stormfront, were known for handing out anti-immigration fliers with white supremacist themes in Orange County, Calif.

The Golden State Party’s mission statement began, “The Golden State Party exists to advance the political interests of European-Americans, to save from destruction our unique culture, to safeguard our identity,” and its policy statements carried strong white nationalist themes. Freedom 14 members handed out fliers promoting the GSP over the summer of 2009. But that effort fell apart in September of that year, when it was revealed that Tyler Cole, the chairman of the GSP, had previously been convicted of two felonies and had been using pseudonyms like “Eugene Cameron” and “Tim Robbins” to hide his criminal past.

Embarrassed by the incident, Freedom 14 members decided to try for a fresh start. On Oct. 15, 2009, they held a meeting to form a party with a new name and new leadership. They elected racist corporate lawyer William Daniel Johnson as chairman of the newly renamed political party, American Third Position. Johnson had been advocating for the deportation of all non-white immigrants and U.S. citizens, including anyone with any “ascertainable trace of Negro blood,” since 1985, when he wrote a book arguing for a constitutional amendment to do just that. Johnson promoted his book far and wide, including at the 1986 Aryan Nations World Congress.

The A3P holds all the same positions that the GSS did. Some paragraphs of the A3P policy statements are precisely the same as those on the old GSP website. The A3P wants all immigration to cease immediately and for all undocumented immigrants to be deported as soon as possible. Its members believe that whites deserve a nation of their own and that non-whites endanger white culture and society. To mitigate this threat, the party wants to offer financial incentives for recent immigrants to return to the countries where they came from.

One of the group’s policy statements injects a touch of neo-segregationist language into an already racist platform. It describes government policies that aim to encourage integration in schools and diversity in workplaces as “tyrannical and racist.” To counter this, the party declares, “Parents have a right to choose where and with whom their children are schooled,” a line of reasoning also adopted by segregationists during the civil rights movement.

Unlike most racist organizations, the A3P has a relatively capable cast of established white nationalists running the show. In early January 2010, it was revealed that Kevin MacDonald had become a director of the A3P. MacDonald is a notoriously anti-Semitic professor at California State University, Long Beach, who theorizes that Jews are genetically programmed to weaken the societies that they live in. In his 2004 book Understanding Jewish Influence: A Study in Ethnic Activism, MacDonald described Jews as “hostile toward American Christian culture” and claimed that they work aggressively to attack and subvert that culture. White supremacists regularly cite his works to provide “evidence” for their anti-Jewish conspiracy theories.

In mid-January 2010, A3P members in California began their first publicity campaign. They canvassed door-to-door in a Southern California neighborhood and passed out fliers detailing the positions of the party. Meanwhile, Johnson was thinking big: In a video post that same month for the party’s supporters, he asked for assistance in getting the party on the ballot in Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Mississippi and Vermont.

On Jan. 21, 2010, the A3P’s website announced that James Edwards had become a director. Edwards is a board member of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white nationalist group that decries race mixing and has described black people as “a retrograde species of humanity.” Edwards runs a radio show called “The Political Cesspool” that has interviewed a “Who’s Who” of the white nationalist movement as well as extremists of other stripes. Edwards has personally accused Jews of using pornography as a “subversive tool” against white people and is regarded as a young and promising leader among white nationalists.

On March 6, 2010, Johnson and MacDonald attended a meeting of the Institute for Historical Review, a Holocaust-denial group that publishes an anti-Semitic journal. Tomislav Sunić, a former Croatian diplomat and professor, gave a speech at the meeting. Two weeks later, Sunić became the third director of the American Third Position. Sunić has spoken at several events put on by hate groups, including a leadership meeting of the Council of Conservative Citizens in 2008. He has been interviewed for former Klan leader David Duke’s Internet radio show and has written several books, one of which talks about how Jewish influence has shaped the U.S. and supposedly threatens its European heritage. Anti-diversity themes resound throughout his works.

Don Wassall became a director on May 4, 2010. Wassall was once the leader of Council of Conservative Citizens chapters in Nevada and Pennsylvania. He has been active in the white supremacist movement for decades, running the American Nationalist Union and its newspaper The Nationalist Times since 1985. A subscription to the magazine is now included in the A3P membership package. Wassall was prominent in the Populist Party during its brief existence: during that time, he worked on both David Duke’s 1988 and Bo Gritz’s 1992 presidential campaigns.

Rounding out the A3P’s white nationalist team is Jamie Kelso, who has in the past worked for David Duke and served as a moderator for Stormfont, the first major hate site on the Web. The A3P website does not mention Kelso’s official position, but he has described himself as the “executive assistant” to William Johnson. Kelso is a behind-the-scenes player at the A3P, but an influential one — he is responsible for bringing in Wassall as a director.

With this group of white nationalist leaders assembled, the party is now seeking active dues-paying members and recruiting voters to register as members of the party for the 2010 California elections. Johnson plans to target a number of different groups in order to assemble the party’s base. He developed contacts with Republicans and libertarians who supported Ron Paul during the 2008 U.S. presidential election, holding a $2,000-a-plate fundraiser for Paul’s campaign in September 2007. In a July 1, 2010, Internet radio broadcast, Kelso said: “There’s a great overlap in Patriot activities and Patriot causes, and we have, we will have a big effect on this much larger movement, the Ron Paul Revolution, that has millions of people engaged … we’ll be pulling them from the right.” The A3P also has shown up at Tea Party rallies to try to fulfill this goal.

To appeal to extremists without upsetting less radical supporters, Johnson has used coded language to indicate his ties to the white supremacist movement. Compare Johnson’s statement from a video address, “We … embrace principles that will secure the existence of our people and a future for our children” with the late white supremacist terrorist David Lane’s “14 Words”: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” The “14 Words” are derived from a passage in Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf and are a rallying cry for neo-Nazis and white supremacists in the United States. By speaking in codes while trying to mainstream his party, Johnson is attempting to make his party radical enough for neo-Nazis and moderate enough for mainstream voters.

In an interview with the Southern Poverty Law Center in January 2010, Johnson said that he intended to qualify “high-level people,” meaning prominent white nationalists, for campaigns on the A3P ticket in a large number of states. He did not elaborate on what states or offices, or precisely when, but said that they would be decided in coming months.

On June 27, 2010, the group absorbed the League of American Patriots, a New Jersey-based group. The league is best known for passing out racist fliers and requiring its members to be heterosexuals of “complete European Christian ancestry.” The merging of the two groups advanced the A3P’s goal of developing active chapters throughout the United States.

Early in 2013, A3P decided to change its name to American Freedom Party (AFP), following what the website claimed was a “surprisingly strong finish” in the 2012 presidential elections. AFP ran candidate Merlin Miller, an independent filmmaker and military veteran who has expressed dislike for interracial marriage and claimed that Hollywood is under “Jewish-Zionist control.” He has written for the Holocaust-denying Barnes Review and the white nationalist Occidental Observer. In September 2012, on a trip to the Middle East, he managed a brief meeting with former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. One of the topics of discussion was the “Zionist-controlled media” in the West. Miller garnered about 2700 votes nationwide in the election.

The AFP attempts to appeal to a perhaps more independent or Libertarian demographic, in addition to white nationalists. Its mission statement and “Issues” section on the website express concern over crime, the economy, drone attacks and government surveillance as well as a financial mismanagement and a “gutted industrial base” and “crumbling infrastructure.” Its mission statement is where a mention of the AFP’s true leanings occurs. Toward the bottom, after it takes issue with both Democrats and Republicans, it states that it is a party “that represents the interests of White Americans and all Americans who support our interests.”

Please conduct a search of the Central Records System, including but not limited to the Electronic Surveillance (ELSUR) Indices, the Microphone Surveillance (MISUR) Indices, the Physical Surveillance (FISUR) Indices, and the Technical Surveillance (TESUR) Indices, for both main-file records and cross-reference records of both HQ and all field offices for all relevant names, agencies, organizations, companies and events including but not limited to those cited in the previous paragraphs and/or links. My request includes but is not limited to 137, 157, 176, 177, 183, 184, 188, and 214 files. If previously released records are available, then I request a rolling release consisting of those records while additional records are located and processed for release.

I am a member of the news media and request classification as such. I have previously written about the government and its activities for AND Magazine, MuckRock and Glomar Disclosure and have an open arrangement with each. My articles have been widely read, with some reaching over 100,000 readers. As such, as I have a reasonable expectation of publication and my editorial and writing skills are well established. In addition, I discuss and comment on the files online and make them available through the non-profit Internet Archive, disseminating them to a large audience. While my research is not limited to this, a great deal of it, including this, focuses on the activities and attitudes of the government itself. As such, it is not necessary for me to demonstrate the relevance of this particular subject in advance. Additionally, case law states that “proof of the ability to disseminate the released information to a broad cross-section of the public is not required.” Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Dep’t of Justice, 365 F.3d 1108, 1126 (D.C. Cir. 2004); see Carney v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice, 19 F.3d 807, 814-15 (2d Cir. 1994). Further, courts have held that "qualified because it also had “firm” plans to “publish a number of . . . ‘document sets’” concerning United States foreign and national security policy." Under this criteria, as well, I qualify as a member of the news media. Additionally, courts have held that the news media status "focuses on the nature of the requester, not its request. The provision requires that the request be “made by” a representative of the news media. Id. § 552(a)(4)(A)(ii)(II). A newspaper reporter, for example, is a representative of the news media regardless of how much interest there is in the story for which he or she is requesting information." As such, the details of the request itself are moot for the purposes of determining the appropriate fee category. As such, my primary purpose is to inform about government activities by reporting on it and making the raw data available and I therefore request that fees be waived.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Michael Best

From: FOIPAQUESTIONS

Dear Mr. Best,
The request was received on 12-29-2016 (actual date request was scanned into the FOIPA Document Processing System) and assigned FOIPA Request Number #1363797-000. The request was closed on 12-30-2016. Correspondence indicating a No Record response was mailed to your attention on 12-30-2016.
Please verify a current mailing address in order for us to resend the material.
Information regarding the Freedom of Information Act/Privacy is available at http://www.fbi.gov<http://www.fbi.gov>/ or http://www.fbi.gov/foia/. If you require additional assistance please contact the Public Information Officer.
Thank you,

Holly Early
Government Information Specialist
Record/Information Dissemination Section (RIDS)
FBI-Records Management Division
170 Marcel Drive, Winchester, VA 22602-4843
PIO Line: (540) 868-4593
Direct: (540) 868-4854
Fax: (540) 868-4391 or (450)868-4997
Questions E-mail: foipaquestions@ic.fbi.gov<mailto:foipaquestions@ic.fbi.gov>

Do you have further questions about the FOI/PA process? Visit us at http://www.fbi.gov/foia

Please check the status of your request online at https://vault.fbi.gov/fdps-1/@@search-fdps. Status updates are performed on a weekly basis.

From: Michael Best

No such correspondence was received. Please resend it.

From: FOIPAQUESTIONS

Dear Mr. Best,

The FBI has received your additional correspondence regarding your Freedom of Information Act/Privacy (FOIPA) request and it has been forwarded to the assigned analyst for review.

Additional information regarding the FOIPA may be accessed at http://www.fbi.gov/ or http://www.fbi.gov/foia/.

If you require additional assistance please contact me.

Thank you,

Holly Early
Government Information Specialist
Record/Information Dissemination Section (RIDS)
FBI-Records Management Division
170 Marcel Drive, Winchester, VA 22602-4843
PIO Line: (540) 868-4593
Direct: (540) 868-4854
Fax: (540) 868-4391 or (450)868-4997
Questions E-mail: foipaquestions@ic.fbi.gov<mailto:foipaquestions@ic.fbi.gov>

Do you have further questions about the FOI/PA process? Visit us at http://www.fbi.gov/foia

Please check the status of your request online at https://vault.fbi.gov/fdps-1/@@search-fdps. Status updates are performed on a weekly basis.

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

A no responsive documents response.

From: Michael Best

I am appealing the integrity of the search, on the basis of, but not limited to, the search performed did not meet the parameters specified. Specifically, I requested "a search of the Central Records System, including but not limited to the Electronic Surveillance (ELSUR) Indices, the Microphone Surveillance (MISUR) Indices, the Physical Surveillance (FISUR) Indices, and the Technical Surveillance (TESUR) Indices, for both main-file records and cross-reference records of both HQ and all field offices for all relevant names, agencies, organizations, companies and events including but not limited to those cited in the previous paragraphs and/or links. My request includes but is not limited to 137, 157, 176, 177, 183, 184, 188, and 214 files. If previously released records are available, then I request a rolling release consisting of those records while additional records are located and processed for release." I believe many of these searches, including field offices and cross-reference searches with the information provided.

From: OIP-NoReply@usdoj.gov

02/17/2017 05:43 PM FOIA Request: DOJ-AP-2017-002346

From: OIP-NoReply@usdoj.gov

DOJ-AP-2017-002346 has been processed with the following final disposition: Completely reversed/remanded.

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