While two of the country’s most prominent white nationalist websites have been taken down in the aftermath of the deadly violence in Virginia, a Missouri-based site operated by a neo-Nazi remains active.
Vanguard News Network, run by longtime white supremacist Alex Linder, of Kirksville, Mo., continued to operate on Monday. The network, whose motto is “No Jews. Just Right,” includes an online forum with tens of thousands of threads.
On Monday, it featured discussions of everything from President Donald Trump’s pardon of former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio to a thread called “Diversity Is: Hatred of White People.”
A rival site, Stormfront — the country’s oldest white supremacist website — was taken down Friday night, making it the second such site in two weeks to be forced offline. It was taken down by its website host, Network Solutions, and the domain was officially put on hold.
“It was a total surprise,” said Don Black, a former Ku Klux Klan leader. “They didn’t notify me. They didn’t send anything. They just did it.
“I think it’s criminal theft. I’m talking to lawyers right now.”
Black, of West Palm Beach, Fla., said Network Solutions put the domain name under a “legal lock.”
“I can’t do anything with it,” he told The Star. “I can’t even try to transfer the domain right now. They’re claiming the right to just delete it or give it to someone else, which is ludicrous. I’ve got the servers. They still work. But the domain is gone.”
Black, a key figure in the white nationalist movement, succeeded David Duke in the late 1970s as grand wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. In 1981, federal authorities arrested Black and nine others for plotting an invasion of the Caribbean island of Dominica to help put an ousted prime minister back in power. Black was sentenced to three years in prison.
Black left the Klan in 1987 and launched Stormfront in 1995. He says the site now has 50,000 to 60,000 visitors daily. Shutting it down, Black said, was a First Amendment violation.
“I’ve got all kinds of concerns,” he said, adding that he’s looking into other ways to get the site back up. “There are other registrars. And there’s also an effort underway to set up our own registrar.”
The action was the result of efforts by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. The organization wrote Web.com on Aug. 21, asking that the company and its affiliates, including Network Solutions, “take immediate action against www.stormfront.org to terminate its domain registration services, as this website was created and has been used with the explicit purpose to be a place where racist rhetoric could be discussed and spread.”
The letter said that “the Stormfront website was used along with dailystormer.org to organize and encourage participation in the violent and fatal ‘Unite the Right’ rally held in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend.”
Kristen Clarke, the organization’s president and executive director, tweeted on Saturday that “Stormfront is no longer ‘longest-running white supremacist site.’ We took action to shut them down.”
And on Sunday, Clarke tweeted: “We will continue fighting against white supremacists who incite racial violence and hatred in our country.”
Two weeks ago, another white supremacist site, The Daily Stormer, was booted by GoDaddy and Google after publishing a derogatory story about Heather Heyer, the woman killed in the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville. Both said the forum, operated by Andrew Anglin, had violated their terms of service.
Linder, a former member of the neo-Nazi National Alliance, did not respond to a request for comment. He talked about the actions on Vanguard News Network’s blog on Saturday.
“The last time I checked, White men gave Americans something called the First Amendment (i.e., free speech),” he wrote. “Has the First Amendment been voided by the U.S. Supreme Court? As far as I know, it has not been. Speech is legal except when you incite imminent violence. Did Stormfront incite imminent violence? If so, when? Is there a quote somewhere?”
Linder, who started his online site in 2000, was among supporters of avowed neo-Nazi F. Glenn Miller Jr., who shot to death three people at Jewish facilities in Overland Park in 2014. Prior to the shootings, Miller had posted more than 12,000 times on the forum under the name “Rounder.”
Linder later worked behind the scenes to help gather materials for Miller’s defense at his murder trial and was a witness for Miller in the death penalty phase of the trial. Miller was sentenced to death.
Those posting on the Vanguard News Network forum over the weekend expressed concerns that their site could face a similar fate.
“Just a heads up that this site may be next,” posted someone using the name Blusnayl. “You folks should best prepare. White Nationalists are having to move to the darknet. I’d look into it if you still value a social medium in the times that are about to come.”