On November 14, 2009 Daniel Smeriglio had a message for his detractors as his group Voice of the People USA held a rally against amnesty in his town of Hazelton, PA: "It's not a race issue. And for those who use that against us, constantly, consistently, they have no argument. They're tired, they're old and they're pathetic."
And this article can be found in a post on Stormfront by former Klansman, current Keystone United member, and regular Voice of the People associate Steve Smith who opined in that post that the rally showed "how White Nationalists should act at a Tea Party rally." What's getting tired, old and pathetic is attempts by conservatives to deflect charges of racism when the racism is this apparent, and Daniel Smeriglio amounts to a rather lame attempt to do so.
Back in 2006, the town of Hazelton, PA was put on the map when Mayor Lou Barletta and the Town Council passed something called the Illegal Immigration Relief Act. The ordinance was supposed to discourage hiring or renting to illegal immigrants, not to mention make English the official language of Hazelton. As we have often seen with such local ordinances however, this ran afoul of the Constitution, particularly not only the First and Fourteenth Amendments, but the Supremacy Clause (Article VI, Clause 2) which makes the Constitution Federal Statutes, and U.S. treaties as "the supreme law of the land" that states must adhere to, even if their own local laws conflict. After outrage, protests and lawsuits, the law was struck down by the federal courts but it made Mayor Barletta a national hero to the anti-immigration crowd. Voice of the People (VOTP) came out of that, founded in April 2007 by Smeriglio and Andrew Woodring.
Born in Queens, NY and raised in Milford, PA, Smeriglio was by this time an active member of a group called 9/11 Families for A Secure America, an anti-immigration group that focuses on the concern for terrorism as the reason why borders should be secured. According to Smeriglio, he lost an uncle and a great-uncle in the Sept. 11 attacks and that was what prompted him to become politically active. In 2007, VOTP held a series of rallies in Pennsylvania, and Smeriglio started hobnobbing with not only with Mayor Barletta, but also with anti-immigration hatemonger Rep. Tom Tancredo. In August 2007, Smeriglio stood with Tancredo on the steps of City Hall in Newark, NJ attempting to pit the Hispanic community against the black community with the then-recent murders of four black youths allegedly at the hands of the gang MS-13, which by this time was the anti-immigration activists bogeyman for them to parade around. But it was during an appearance at an anti-immigration rally a month before when it was apparent for the first time that something was up with VOTP.
In July 2007, a rally was held to support a plan by the mayor of Morristown, New Jersey, to deputize law enforcement officials to enforce immigration laws. This particular rally was significant because a number of local neo-Nazis attended semi-incognito (they still carried signs promoting the white supremacist website Stormfront), and one of them Erick Weigel of the Nationalist Coalition ended up in a fight with antifa right after the rally. During the rally, both Woodring and Smeriglio were on hand to speak, and they promoted their upcoming Sept. 1 rally in Harrisburg, PA. Smeriglio noted that the MC of the event would be John Clark of the American Immigration Control Federation, one of the immigration groups designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group, particularly because its founder John Vinson is a white supremacist who is also a member of the Council of Conservative Citizens. Also scheduled to speak was Paul Topete and his band Poker Face was scheduled to perform. Poker Face and especially Topete are well-known anti-Semitic activists and Holocaust deniers, who had performed at a VOTP rally in Hazelton. They were recently spotlighted as associates of the Hutaree Christian Militia when they were arrested in May 2010 for conspiring to attack police officers. Add Smeriglio's comment during his speech that his personal hero was United Patriots of America's Ron Bass, who has opined in the past that "The perverted Civil Rights ideology has infected our entire American civilization" and that "It's time for White America to stop being cowards", and all the flags start going up.
By the time Harrisburg's rally took place those flags had come with enough fireworks that pretty much everyone saw them. The event was supposed to be the biggest to date for Voice of the People with hundreds upon hundreds supposedly attending on Labor Day Weekend, but after a number of conservatives activists and elected officials started hearing the alarms being sounded about VOTP - like Stormfront members repeatedly hyping up and attending each VOTP rally - they began to back out of the event, resulting in only a mere 150 persons coming out. VOTP tried to stem the controversy, proclaiming as they always do that they were not involved with "any hate, white power, nationalist, or Aryan group." Not even the black conservatives Smeriglio often references and works with were able to deflect the racism charge. Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, who was scheduled to speak, backed out of the event and his friend John Clark (yep, the AICF guy) explained at the podium that he was scared away by death threats that do this day have never been confirmed.
In the end the majority of those 150 attendees, while some but very few of them of color, were well-known white supremacist activists, including Erick Weigel, who was involved in the Morristown melee. Poker Face ended up not performing, although Paul Topete took to the podium to speak. Other than VOTP flyers, the only other literature seen being passed out was a flyer coming from a racist website and the newspaper the Nationalist Times, a conspiracy theory-tinged publication from the white supremacist American National Union, currently based in Nevada. While we are at it, the only politician who kept his date with VOTP was State Senator Daryl Metcalfe, who maintains a good working relationship with Smeriglio to this day.
A rather interesting thing happened, by the way. The local media covered this rally and spoke to the white supremacists who told them who they were, what they were about and where you can reach them. They were seen carrying their literature. They even interviewed the other side to get their take on the WPs that came out. But only one newspaper noted that they were there, and that reporter wasn't even there. A number of television and print outlets even had pictures of the white supremacists prominently in attendance, but still the media chose not to mention it. History Channel's program Gangland did though, using a number of photos from that particular rally in one of their episodes to show how white racist gangs are attempting to get into the mainstream. This would not be the last time Pennsylvania media does this either, and their inability to report on this could be one of the reasons Smeriglio feels comfortable moving about as he does.
Unfortunately for that media and Smeriglio, we are going to do such reporting and being that One People's Project played a large part in making this rally a huge fail, Harrisburg became more of an anti-OPP rally than an anti-immigration one. Smeriglio started off his time at the podium with a rather odd rant towards Daryle Lamont Jenkins:
"Daryle I'm a child molester huh? Very original. Know the person you're making the accusations against. You are a racist, you are a scumbag, and you are un-American and that is the fact. How dare you label us! How come everybody, it doesn't matter what color hair you have, you're a racist. If you're bald you must be a racist. Receding hairline, racist. African American, racist. No matter what you are you are a racist. Yes, I see you coming up here now. Good, what are you going to do? Try and make a scene regardless of the fact that's not the reason why we're here.
We give people like that the time of day, it makes us no better than them. So, for all those that want to try to talk a good game and put us down here we are today. We made it, we're doing it and we've had it. And it's thanks to all of you out there."
To this day, we don't where the hell this child molester crap came from. Neither DLJ or OPP ever wrote about or discussed Smeriglio being a child molester, but he wants to insist that we did. Okay fine, but while it made him look like a victim for about five minutes, the fact that he could never point to where anyone made such an accusation made him look real bad. He then goes on to defend Erick Weigel, who was painted as a victim of those who opposed his beliefs.
The next major event put on by VOTP brought out the numbers they would have loved to have seen in Harrisburg, six hundred, as well as the white supremacists, particularly Keystone United, at the time still called Keystone State "Skinheads". It also was the rally that drew a hell of a lot of unwanted attention towards the groups nature. On July 12, 2008 a Mexican national named Luis Ramirez was beaten to death by a group of five white high school students. The case flared up ethnic tensions and it all but exploded a year later when two of the group were only convicted of simple assault. After some outrage however, the case was investigated by the US Attorney General's office and now not only are they charged with federal hate crimes but four local cops including the Sheriff were arrested and charged by the feds in connection with corruption and for covering up the killing. The rally that Smeriglio put on for Aug. 30, 2008, just over a month after the killing was in support of the five white students. The mantra of the rally, which by this time was said repeatedly in the weeks prior, came from regular VOTP speaker Ruth Miller of IllegalProtest.com, when she stepped up to speak: "Don't go demonizing these poor kids…I think Mr. Ramirez would have been alive today if he would have stayed in his own country." Miller's a load of laughs too, by the way. She opined on her website that "Ramirez was here illegally. He does not get "'civil rights'"
And this is the kind of people that Daniel Smeriglio surrounds himself with.
Soon after this rally, the bottom fell out. Radio show hosts and newspaper editorials began to call Smeriglio out for promoting hate politics, and infighting amongst VOTP supporters and members started playing itself out on the internet, particularly against Smeriglio who his former friends were calling an egotistical little brat. Well he showed them. He shut down the VOTP website and just went away. Somewhere along the way he got into a little tif with Mayor Barletta and started talking trash on him as well. We actually would have had this article up a year ago were it not for the fact that people stopped caring about this clown. But then, this missive showed up on his MySpace blog:
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have returned to remind anyone and everyone just how much I could simply give a shit about people's biased bullshit thoughts and hate spewed at me! Understand my group is setting up for a major re-launch and yet again I wanna put all of the corrupt cowardly bastards on notice that I will be a thorn in your side and I will expose you and do my all to bring you down!
To the media (Except for FOX NEWS!) Kiss my ass in hell!
To the critics, stop wasting your time hating me! I enjoy it too much and besides you are the ones that just couldnt (sic) stop talking about the shit i've (sic) done and ultimately you have been the inspiration behing (sic) my comeback!
Former friends, you're (sic) transparent and I see through your facade, you lose and I win.
To the rest, I am back and for the true honest and real friends that I have, I love you all
Oh fucking well…back to work.
On Nov. 14 it was apparent that he was more than happy to play the game he always played, pretend that racism was not playing a part in his activities while working closely with white supremacists. This is where we come in again. Nov. 14 was a day set up by Americans for Legal Immigration for anti-immigrant groups to hold a "Tea Party Against Amnesty" and there was a number of those Tea Parties that had some neo-Nazis in attendance. As noted in this article, we hit up William Gheen, the head of ALIPAC. This guy, by the way, has been getting a lot of press in recent weeks because he believed that Sen. Lindsay Graham was a little too accommodating to the Latino community, from his supposed support for what Gheen called amnesty to his endorsement of then-Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. Gheen said given the rumors that surrounds him, "I need to figure out why (Graham) trying to sell out your own countrymen and I need to make sure you being gay isn't it." And that crap even got ALIPAC longtime board member Lou Dobbs calling for Gheen's resignation.
So anyway, we inquired about the Keystone United members that participated in Hazelton that day sponsored by VOTP, and William Gheen was dismissive as expected. "Dan Smeriglio called me yesterday, he wrote us in an email. "I asked him about the skinheads and he denies any involvement with them and says they were not present at his event. If you (One People's Project) have any evidence that Dan lied to me, I want to see it as I would not associate with Mr. Smeriglio if he lied to me or worked with racists. Dan said that when the news crews were there early on in the day his crowd was fairly small, that he knew all the people there, and that none of them were associated with the racist groups in the area."
Well, we didn't know how sincere Gheen was because he not only has distanced himself from the obvious evidence that Smeriglio is running with the WPs (like this video- that shows Smith holding the megaphone), he went on to get pissed at us for - get this - "violating the civil rights of every American that attended that event for our side." Yes, Gheen wrote that. In an email. Addressed to us. Which also added that…No wait; let's just post it all here:
"You are violating the civil rights of every American that attended that event for our side. You are mischaracterizing them in a way that some would deem them worthy of violence because according to your account they were all in cahoots with a group that wishes violence against ethnic minorities.
You are doing to us the exact same evil that was originally wrought upon blacks and Jewish people. Does it make you powerful to accuse people of doing what it is that you are actually doing?
How do you feel to know that your lies are going to get people hurt or killed? I guess that is just fine by you eh?
I'm going to put a stop to people and groups that are doing what you are doing to innocent Americans.
Free speech is one thing but your defamation of Americans is becoming dangerous civil rights."
There's another email from him about how we are making neo-Nazis out of his activists by calling them out for being neo-Nazis, but you get the idea of what we are playing with here...
Anyway, we were all ready to write off Gheen as yet another apologist for the likes of Smeriglio, but then, something happened. As we post this a major rally in Arizona is being planned for June 5, 2009 in support of the racist "Papers Please" law that threatens to violate the rights of every person in the state of Arizona in the name of fighting illegal immigration. Dan Smeriglio and his Voice of the People are one of the sponsors of the rally, which was originally a caravan from Hazelton, PA to Phoenix, AZ, and William Gheen's ALIPAC was backing the whole thing up. But whatever white supremacist connections that Smeriglio had made before were even more apparent with his Facebook account. By simply looking at his friends, his personal pages and who is supporting Voice of the People on their Facebook pages it is obvious that Smeriglio is corresponding regularly with neo-Nazis in Pennsylvania and New Jersey Listed among his friends on his personal Facebook page is the aforementioned Steve Smith and Erick Weigel. In addition, his page has him listed as having joined the page for the Council of Conservative Citizens and counts among his favorite music the Swedish neo-Nazi singer Saga. But to be safe a few black conservatives are there to throw anyone off.
This time, Gheen took notice of the information we presented on this site, and found some of his own as well. It was enough for him to fire off the following missive that can be found on the ALIPAC website:
"We are sad to announce that ALIPAC is withdrawing support for any rallies in Arizona in June to support SB1070 due to the discovery of racist group involvement and the actions of former Congressman Tom Tancredo."
Tancredo got into the mix because he is one of the speakers and has decided to back up Smeriglio even with this spotlight on him. This has divided camps in the anti-immigration scene between those who applaud Gheen for his principled stance, and those who are pissed at him for what they say are lies about Smeriglio (one of the more popular refrains from conservatives when the charge is levied) or not accepting neo-Nazis among the ranks as part of recognizing there is some common ground in a larger struggle (that's one of the other more popular refrains). One guy with only five posts on the ALIPAC discussion board at the time of this writing screen name "Gonendunit" posted "I consider this to be a cowardly decision and, as a result, I will no longer stand up for ALIPAC." Considering that Gonendunit's avatar is a logo from the Christian Idenitiy organization Posse Comataus, Gheen might have dodged another bullet.
Tancredo will go on to tell a reporter at the Denver, CO alternative weekly Westword that while he will still participate in the rally, he has never met Smeriglio. An odd thing to say really, considering this video has Smeriglio standing right behind Tancredo while he is staging a protest in Newark, NJ. In addition to Tancredo, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Arizona State Senator Russel Pearce, who wrote SB1070 and has white supremacist connections himself, Pennsylvania State Senator Daryl Metcalfe will be speaking at this rally. Metcalfe, who had announced a bill for Pennsylvania similar to SB1070, had Smeriglio standing behind him with as he held the press conference announcing his anti-immigration bill.
Dan Smeriglio explanations are not for the benefit of people who know what's up. Smeriglio is hoping people do not look close into his dealings. With each passing day, those hopes are being dashed because this is now how everyone sees him, as a neo-Nazi or at the very least an associate of them. The elected officials and more prominent persons who lobby in Washington and around the nation over the issues he cares about and currently work closely with him are definitely going to have a lot to answer for if they continue to support someone this much of a poison. And we as a people are going to have to ask ourselves just how much are we going to allow people like Dan Smeriglio to get away with. Odds are not much, and he brought it upon himself. So stop your crying about people talking about racial concerns in regards to you, Danny. You aren't fooling a damn soul.