Nation (below): Turner was Sean Hannity's 'soul mate of hate'
White supremacist radio host Hal Turner was an FBI informant, his lawyer revealed in court today. The announcement is a confirmation of what hackers claimed nearly a year ago after allegedly gaining access to his e-mails.
Turner was arrested on June 24 for allegedly calling for the murder of three judges who supported the Chicago gun ban. The confession by his attorney came at a bond hearing Tuesday.
"Attorney Michael Orozco [...] said his client gave authorities information about a plot to assassinate President Barack Obama," reported the Associated Press.
However, prosecutors said they had no information about the alleged plot, but did confirm Turner had a relationship with the bureau. Attorney William Hogan told the wire service that relationship had ended "some time ago."
His recent arrest came after a complaint about an overt call for the murder of three judges.
"Let me be the first to say this plainly: these Judges deserve to be killed," he wrote on his Web site, according to MSNBC. "He included their pictures, phone numbers, work address and room numbers along with a photo of the courthouse in which they work and a map of its location, the FBI says."
"We take threats to federal judges very seriously. Period,"' said Patrick Fitzgerald, the U.S. attorney in Chicago," the network reported.
But perhaps the most interesting bit of Turner's recent history are his dealings with the users of the popular Internet forum 4chan, among others.
In July 2008, hackers -- who may or may not be connected to 4chan -- confronted Turner on his Web site's forums and claimed they had gained access to his e-mail, uncovering a message allegedly to his FBI handler in which he takes credit for "flush[ing] out another crazy."
The message was to one firstname.lastname@example.org, credited in the purported e-mail as "Haug, Stephen M.", and it told of an alleged plot to kill Democratic Senator Russ Feingold.
> I wrote an opinion piece on my site today in which I opine about
> 46 US Senators who I believe should be removed from office on
> July 4 for betraying their constituents and this nation.
> An anonymous person, posting on the outside, third-party visitor
> comments area of my web site wrote:
> "im going to kill senator feingold on july 4th. may thomas
> paine smile upon me and alexander hamilton bless my cause.
> praise the lord and pass the ammunition."
> As you are probably aware, Feingold is from Wisconsin.
> The posting was made today, July 1, 2007 at 4:34 PM EST from IP
> address 126.96.36.199 which comes back to the University of
> The posting can be viewed by the general public at:
> Once again, my fierce rhetoric has served to flush out a
> possible crazy.
> Please acknowledge receipt of this warning. Of late, both of
> you have become remiss in acknowledging e-mails.
The message drew a rather terse response:
> Got it thanks. I think you forget that I no longer have my
> blackberry and thus no real-time link to the email. I have to be
> logged on to a server to access it. As you know, I don;t have
> one growing out of my ass...Some emails require no comment...
Allegedly, he goes on to take credit for "single-handedly" stopping President Bush's immigration legislation. He adds: "Thank God some of the Marines at the White House feed me info. You'd be shocked what they hear standing there opening doors all day."
And, to note, I say allegedly because I do not know these hackers, nor am I certain that these e-mails are real. I report it only because these e-faring rogues of the Web hit the nail on the head well before Turner's lawyer sealed the coffin.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups in the United States, emphasizes how crazy this gentleman is:
In 2006, Turner told his audience to “clean your guns, have plenty of ammunition … [and] then do what has to be done” to undocumented workers. Around the same time, he suggested that half the U.S. Congress “may have to be assassinated.” A year earlier, he suggested “drawing up lists of yeshivas,” or Jewish religious schools. He once started a website called www.killtheenemy.com for the purpose of posting photos and names of those who marched in favor of immigrant rights. Hearing that anti-racist activist Floyd Cochran was visiting Newark, N.J., last June, Turner said he had “arranged for a group of guys to physically intercept” Cochran and added that Cochran would likely “get such a beating that his next stop is going to be University Hospital.” In a July letter, Turner wrote to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which publishes the Intelligence Report: “If you do not change your stance soon, you will face a wrath of fury that you will never be able to defend yourself against. We have the ability to reach out and touch someone.”
Last July, Turner posted photographs of a pro-immigrant activist being taken away by an ambulance outside Turner’s North Bergen home. "Click the images below to see how I kicked the shit out of one such douchebag," he wrote.
For months, Turner was hounded by 4chan'ers who would stage "raids" on his radio show making dozens of phone calls and mimicking ethnic stereotypes or subversively making fun of his racism by burying pop culture iconography in supposedly legitimate calls.
And for a time, his Web site was besieged by denial of service attacks, cutting down significantly on the number of listeners he could reach.
Here's a clip which, though it contains some racist language, is nevertheless hysterical just for the sheer inventiveness of the prank caller:
If you did not catch that, the caller was reciting the motto of the evil Team Rocket from the Poke'mon cartoon. (You could hardly be blamed for not knowing it, but on the Internets, cultural fluency is a must.)
There's a ton more Turner raids recorded and on YouTube, but curious viewers should be warned of Turner's frequent use of rambling, profane, racist nonsense . The 'Rocket Roll' video above is actually the least offensive I found.
After so long and untold amounts of pranking and harassment, Turner quit, explaining that the "free market has not supported this show."
Then the arrest.
And now we find out, for sure, that he was an FBI informant -- out there for years, whipping the crazies up into a frenzy, drawing out the true believers ready to commit violence, then turning them over to the FBI, even though they're seemingly going along with what he was promoting.
Makes one think, is all.
-- Stephen C. Webster
Update: Nation: Turner was Hannity's 'soul mate of hate'
It was brought to my attention via the comments that Mr. Turner was associated with one Fox News pundit by the name of Sean Hannity, and a little Nation piece by Max Blumenthal from 2005 explained it all.
Turner was once a prominent activist in New Jersey's Republican Party. To area conservatives, he was best known by his moniker for call-ins to the Sean Hannity Show, "Hal from North Bergen." For years, Hannity offered his top-rated radio show as a regular forum for Turner's occasionally racist, always over-the-top rants. Hannity also chatted with him off-air, allegedly offering encouragement to Turner as he struggled to overcome a cocaine habit and homosexual leanings. Turner has boasted that Hannity once invited Turner and his son on to the set of Fox News's Hannity and Colmes. Today, Turner lurks on the fringes of the far right, spouting hate-laced tirades on his webcast radio show. Hannity, meanwhile, remains mum about his former alliance with the neo-Nazi, homing in instead on the supposed racism of black and Latino Democrats.
Hannity recognized his audience's thirst for red meat, racist rhetoric. However, he knew that if he wanted to avoid Grant's fate, he needed an air of deniability. When "Hal from North Bergen" began calling his show, Hannity found he could avoid the dangers of direct race-baiting by simply outsourcing it to Turner.
By this time, according to Jenkins, Turner and Hannity had bonded off-air. In 1998 Hannity received an anonymous e-mail linking to an AOL discussion board on which Turner had allegedly confessed to a cocaine problem and alluded to past homosexual trysts. Turner (or someone claiming to be Turner) wrote in an August 4, 1998, Google discussion forum that Hannity called him to clear the air: "Just last week, Sean phoned me at home from his job at FOX News to continue a conversation we'd begun earlier while he was at WABC," Turner wrote. "Sean advised that one of you sensitive souls sent him an e-mail about 'revelations I had made' here on the internet. He told me it was obviously and [sic] attempt to 'poison the water.' " Turner continued, "I told him that I've done things I'm not proud of, and had dark times in my life; and those experiences helped shape the way I live today...the right way. He [Hannity] laughed and commented that he knew the feeling." Turner added that such chats with Hannity were "not unusual," often occurring while Hannity held his calls during commercial breaks.
The crucial details were later confirmed by Turner, though Hannity dismisses their reported history outright.