A wise man once said, “Old extremists never die. They just change uniforms.”
That seems to be the case for long-time Illinois white supremacist Dennis Michael McGiffen. In the 1990s, McGiffen and other white supremacists (most associated with a Klan group or Aryan Nations) formed a group they dubbed The New Order, after the 1980s terrorist organization known as The Order. In 1998, McGiffen and five other members were arrested by the FBI on weapons and explosives charges in connection with alleged plots to rob banks and armored cars, poison public water supplies, and to attack blacks, Jews, and civil rights organizations. Five of the defendants, including McGiffen, pleaded guilty, while a sixth was convicted in court. McGiffen received a seven-year prison sentence.
Now McGiffen, 50 years old and living in Wood River, Illinois, has once again found a leadership role in the world of white supremacy. McGiffen is president of the Sadistic Souls Motorcycle Club (SS-MC), a white supremacist biker gang that started in 2010. In July 2012, the SS-MC formally merged with the neo-Nazi group Aryan Nations, with which McGiffen has had past ties.
The Sadistic Souls are a small Illinois-based gang with approximately two dozen members and associates. The bulk of the membership comes from small towns outside of East Saint Louis, such as Wood River, Edwardsville, Brighton, Godfrey, Alton, and Jerseyville. The gang’s “colors” (i.e., the emblems they put on their vests and jackets) include a Totenkopf death’s head and SS lightning bolts. Most members have added an Aryan Nations patch to their colors.
Since the merger, Aryan Nations has heavily promoted McGiffen and the SS-MC, even “donating” one of its registered Web sites for the use of SS-MC. On that site, the SS-MC dubs the relationship “a new beginning.” The site sells SS-MC merchandise and also promotes the McGiffen-owned Peckerwoods Gym and Fight Club. Morris Gulett, the current leader of Aryan Nations, is clearly staking much on this relationship, perhaps because of recent defections.
In April of this year, McGiffen and fellow Sadistic Soul Ryan R. Duckett were arrested by the Madison County Sheriff’s Department and charged with felony mob action for an alleged assault at a bar in Godfrey, Illinois. Both posted bond and were released.