National Alliance

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 # 1363825-000
Est. Completion None
Status
Partially Completed

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 the National Alliance, which was for decades the most dangerous and best organized neo-Nazi formation in America. Explicitly genocidal in its ideology, NA materials call for the eradication of the Jews and other races and the creation of an all-white homeland. Explicitly genocidal in its ideology, NA materials call for the eradication of the Jews and other races — what a principal foundational document describes as "a temporary unpleasantness" — and the creation of an all-white homeland. Founded by William Pierce in 1970, the group produced assassins, bombers and bank robbers, among other things. Pierce's novel, The Turner Diaries, was the inspiration for Timothy McVeigh's 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City and many other acts of terror. After Pierce died unexpectedly in 2002, the group suffered several splits and ultimately lost most of its members.

For nearly thirty years, the National Alliance, headquartered at a rural hilltop compound outside the village of Mill Point, W. Va., was the most dominant and dangerous hate group in America. Founded and long led by William Pierce, a one-time university physics professor, the neo-Nazi group peaked in the late 1990s, when it developed a remarkably successful business model and Pierce's ideological influence stretched across much of the Western hemisphere. Pierce had a long history of racial activism, having served as an associate of the assassinated leader of the American Nazi Party (ANP), George Lincoln Rockwell, and been editor of the ANP's magazine, National Socialist World.

The National Alliance developed out of the National Youth Alliance (NYA), which had formed out of the remains of an organization called Youth for Wallace that backed Governor George Wallace's 1968 presidential campaign (Wallace ran on a pro-segregationist platform). The NYA broke into factions as a result of infighting, and Pierce gained control of the largest faction in 1970 and continued the organization under that name until its reorganization in 1974 as the National Alliance.

The group, which mentions in its platform statement the "temporary unpleasantness" that will follow its accession to power, is explicitly genocidal in intent; Pierce once described how he hoped to lock Jews, "race traitors" and other enemies of the "Aryan" race into cattle cars and send them to the bottom of abandoned coal mines.

Over the years, the NA produced huge amounts of effective propaganda, most famously Pierce's novel The Turner Diaries, which inspired numerous acts of terror including the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building that left 168 people, including 19 children, dead. The manuscript, which was first published in 1978 under the pseudonym of Andrew Macdonald, described a future race war in which Jews and others are slaughtered by the thousands, with its hero at one point promising to go "to the uttermost ends of the earth to hunt down the last of Satan's spawn" — Jews, that is. Over the years, The Turner Diaries has become one of the most important pieces of extremist literature ever written in America. In 1983, for instance, Bob Mathews, the Alliance's Pacific Northwest coordinator, broke away to form a major terrorist group called The Order (aka Silent Brotherhood, or Bruders Schweigen) — that was clearly patterned on The Organization described in The Turner Diaries. (The Order carried out several murders and a series of armored car heists before Mathews was killed in a 1984 shootout with the FBI.) Eleven years later, Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh had photocopies of pages of The Turner Diaries sealed in a plastic bag in his car when he was arrested, apparently to explain his motivation in the deadly attack in case he was killed. (McVeigh called an NA phone line seven times the day before the bombing.)

In all, NA members were connected to at least 14 violent crimes between 1984 and 2005, including bank robberies, shootouts with police and, in Florida, a plan to bomb the main approach to Disney World.

Despite its organizing successes, the NA was for most of its life a kind of cult of personality. Pierce was the group's chief asset, editing the group's magazine, National Vanguard and the members-only National Alliance Bulletin. He also wrote another race-war novel, Hunter. In addition to his writings, Pierce appeared regularly on "American Dissident Voices," a shortwave radio show broadcast (and later simulcast on the Internet) by the group. Pierce was explicitly Hitlerian in ideology, seeking to create a Nazi-like state in which the NA would rule the nation. He was also, in effect, a Leninist, in the sense that he never believed that the white masses — people whom he regularly referred to as "lemmings" — could lead themselves. Instead, the NA would be the "vanguard party," much like the Bolsheviks in Russia, that would lead them in a racially based, authoritarian society that would be marked by Germanic music and "healthy" racial values. That ideology and Pierce's embrace of Hitler's "leadership principle" kept members of the group dependent on Pierce personally, a situation that would damage the Alliance later.

In the 1990s, Pierce networked energetically with major hate group leaders in Europe, becoming an increasingly important figure there as well as in the United States. It was during that decade that the NA became the most important hate group in America. At its height, it had chapters in several European countries, and The Turner Diaries was translated and made available free in half a dozen languages. By 2002, the Alliance had 1,400 carefully vetted, dues-paying members.

It was also profitable, thanks to the business model Pierce devised. Basically, the NA for years had derived its income from members, who paid at least $10 a month in dues, and sales from its National Vanguard Books division. But in 1999, Pierce added a key component — Resistance Records, a racist "white power" music label started years earlier by skinheads associated with another neo-Nazi group that had become moribund. Pierce paid some $250,000 for the company, which he quickly built up with the addition of a warehouse on the Alliance's West Virginia compound and a slick advertising campaign, fronted by the magazine Resistance. By 2002, the NA was grossing about $1 million from all these sources (the biggest chunk from Resistance Records), allowing Pierce to pay salaries to 17 national staff members — an accomplishment unmatched by any other contemporary hate group.

On July 23, 2002, Pierce, then 68 and thought until just weeks before to be in good health, died unexpectedly of kidney failure and cancer, leaving control of the group in the hands of Cleveland unit leader Erich Gliebe, a man who used to box professionally as the "Aryan Barbarian." A hard-edged and humorless leader, Gliebe faced an uphill battle in holding the group together.

A little over a month after Pierce's death, the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Report undermined Gliebe's new authority by publicizing a videotape of Pierce's last speech, given in April of that year at one of the group's semi-annual secret "leadership conferences" that were held at the compound. The Report published excerpts of the speech, in which Pierce pilloried members of other hate groups as "freaks and weaklings" and "human defectives." In his own speech, Gliebe reiterated Pierce's points. That story had the effect of setting off a firestorm among non-Alliance racist extremists — in particular, the very skinheads and others who'd formed the customer base for Resistance Records. A boycott of Resistance quickly developed, as those who were ridiculed attacked the group. In the end, the Report's revelations had the effect of squeezing off much of the NA's income.

Gliebe's command of the organization weakened further when an NA regional coordinator based in Georgia, Chester Doles, was arrested for being a felon in possession of firearms. In 2004, Doles was sentenced to 5 years and 10 months in federal prison. Doles was released in 2008. Gliebe, who'd doubted Doles' loyalty, refused to lift a finger in Doles' defense. This angered many Alliance members sympathetic to Doles, and hundreds flocked around the independent fundraising efforts of maverick NA member Alex Linder, who managed to raise almost $75,000 for Doles' high-powered defense team, led by former Republican congressman Bob Barr. This success further undermined Gliebe's leadership and the faltering NA, which by fall of 2003 had slipped to an estimated 800 dues-paying members.

From there, it only got worse. The Intelligence Report also published a series of other embarrassing facts in coming months, including the revelation that a Resistance calendar meant to highlight Aryan female beauty in fact featured a bevy of strippers from an all-nude men's club regularly patronized by Gliebe. The magazine also reported details of wasted money and political infighting within the group. Gliebe's 2005 marriage to a former stripper and Playboy model hurt his prestige further.

Between these kinds of revelations and massive resentment against Gliebe and his second-in-command, Shaun Walker, for their dictatorial management style, the National Alliance lost most of its key activists and unit leaders. Resistance Records and National Vanguard Books became unprofitable. In a desperate bid to keep the group alive, Walker replaced Gliebe as chairman in early 2005, while Gliebe was relegated to running Resistance. But by 2006, Gliebe was back in as chairman after Walker was arrested and denied bail for badly beating up two men in separate incidents in Salt Lake City, Utah, bars. Walker was convicted in 2007 and sentenced to 87 months. Walker was resentenced in 2009 to 37 months. By 2007, the NA was down to some 100 members and had lost much prestige. By 2009, Gliebe's wife was seeking a divorce and the Alliance, once the ideological and criminal powerhouse of the American radical right, had become almost irrelevant.

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 as well as a cross-reference with the Southern Poverty Law Center to include any information provided by the SPLC. My request includes but is not limited to 137, 157, 176, 177, 183, 184, 188, 214 and 266 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: FOIPARequest

Good afternoon,

The FBI has received your Freedom of Information Act/Privacy (FOIPA) request and it will be forwarded to Initial Processing for review. Your request will be processed under the provisions of FOIPA and a response will be mailed to you at a later date.

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Thank you,

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Government Information Specialist
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From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.

From: Michael Best

I am appealing the decision to not perform the cross-reference searches and field office searches explicitly requested.

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

From: OIP-NoReply@usdoj.gov

02/15/2017 12:22 PM FOIA Request: DOJ-AP-2017-002281

From: Michael Best

I am appealing the decision to provide only preprocessed records, despite providing criteria for the search which included "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."

From: OIP-NoReply@usdoj.gov

03/17/2017 04:10 PM FOIA Request: DOJ-AP-2017-002999

From: OIP-NoReply@usdoj.gov

DOJ-AP-2017-002281 has been processed with the following final disposition: Completely reversed/remanded.

From: OIP-NoReply@usdoj.gov

DOJ-AP-2017-002999 has been processed with the following final disposition: Closed for other reasons -- Duplicate request or appeal.

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