Missouri Shuts Down Alleged White Supremacist Soliciting Katrina Donations Online - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


Missouri Shuts Down Alleged White Supremacist Soliciting Katrina Donations Online

A Missouri judge ordered several Web sites shuttered, after the state's Attorney General charged they were being run illegally and would only channel funds to white hurricane victims.

A judge in Missouri ordered several Web sites shuttered Wednesday after the state's Attorney General accused a St. Louis man -- an alleged racist and anti-Semite -- of illegally soliciting donations for Katrina relief efforts. It was the first known case of an official crackdown on Web scams taking advantage of the disaster in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

Early Wednesday, Attorney General Jay Nixon filed an injunction asking the court to shut down 10 sites, all which fed to a central hub at internetdonations.org, that were asking for donations to Katrina relief. Nixon also asked that all funds collected be returned.

"Among other things, the sites were concealing the fact that none were registered as a charitable organization," said Jim Gardner, a spokesman for Attorney General Nixon.

Nixon's lawsuit also claimed that the man behind internetdonations.org -- who had recently registered several sites, among them katrinafamilies.com, kartrinafund.name, donate-kartrina.com, and katrina-donations.com -- "support[s] white supremacy and that the money raised from the consumers will be only for use to help white victims of the hurricane."

"This is a horrendous use of the victims of Hurricane Katrina to the benefit of a hate group," Nixon said at a news conference. He added that Weltner is associated with the National Alliance, which his office described as "listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as one of the nation's most active neo-Nazi hate groups."

The National Alliance Web site currently features a large ad-style link on its home page that reads "Katrina: The Aftermath / Help White Victims."

Weltner also operates jewwatch.com, an anti-Semitic site that was in the news last year when Google listed it as the top-ranked hit on searches using the word "jew." The site is now ranked No. 2, behind an entry in Wikpedia.

"This was political motivated," said Weltner, contacted at his home in St. Louis. "They just want to stomp on people based on their political views. This whole thing is a misunderstanding. Every penny was going to tax-exempt charities like the Red Cross and the Salvation Army."

Weltner denied any connection with the National Alliance, and said he was not a racist or anti-Semite.

"I'm a racial egalitarian. Jewwatch.com is absolutely not an anti-Semitic site. It's actually a library of information about the history of Jews that's been hidden from people," Weltner said. "It's a clipping library, I'm a librarian."

Jewwatch.com's front page features a photo of Lenin posed facing a photo of Michael Chertoff, the head of the Department of Homeland Security, and collects links under such subject headings as "Jewish Controlled Press" and "Jewish Zionist-Soviet Anti-American Spies."

"The Bolsheviks were basically Russian Jews in exile living in New York," claimed Weltner during the interview.

The donation-collecting sites, as well as the internetdonations.org hub, are now offline. On Wednesday afternoon St. Louis Circuit Judge Julian Bush issued a temporary restraining order requiring Weltner to stop seeking contributions.

Weltner wasn't even sure who took down his sites. "I didn't take them down. Someone else may have done it."

"I may contest some of [the lawsuit]," said Weltner, "but I don't intend to do battle with the state of Missouri. I could have stood on the corner with a cup and collected money and there wouldn't have been any problem, but now I've been slandered and accused of collecting money for racist groups."

As far as he knew, Weltner said, he had not managed to collect any monies before the sites were shut down. "But if I had, I've said I would have written a check to the Attorney General.

"I just tried to help people," he said.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
Download this report to compare how cloud usage and spending patterns have changed in 2020, and how respondents think they'll evolve over the next two years.
CIOs Face Decisions on Remote Work for Post-Pandemic Future
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  2/19/2021
11 Ways DevOps Is Evolving
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  2/18/2021
CRM Trends 2021: How the Pandemic Altered Customer Behavior Forever
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  2/18/2021
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you.
White Papers
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll