Posts tagged: Aryan Nations
Morris Dees, a lawyer and major foe of the Aryan Nations in the North Idaho hate group's heyday, said Tuesday at the University of Idaho that the work of fighting for equality continues on fronts such as U.S. immigration, health care and public education. “There are millions among us who find neither opportunity nor justice,” Dees said, speaking to a full ballroom inside the Student Union Building on the university campus. Reflecting back on Martin Luther King Jr.'s success decades earlier, Dees said, “I don't think Dr. King intended for his dream to be a static thing.” Dees said the “march for justice” continues on numerous issues/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Lewiston Tribune photo, of Morris Dees)
Question: Do you think the fight against discrimination is over in North Idaho?
Shaun Patrick Winkler waves to Mark Eliseuson while entering his compound on the evening of a cross burning ceremony near Priest River. You can see more of Matt's photos of Winkler and the compound he's attempting to build here. (Photo credit 2012: Matt McKnight)
There’s a new effort to build a white supremacist compound in the Northwest. The Southern Poverty Law Center has reported that a man in remote north Idaho has been developing property to revive the Neo-Nazi presence there. Shaun Winkler’s beliefs are no secret in north Idaho. The 34-year-old was a protégé of Richard Butler, the former leader of the Aryan Nations, once headquartered here. More recently, Winkler has picketed Mexican restaurants and a Martin Luther King Day event in Coeur d’Alene. So when Winkler announced he was running for county sheriff, photojournalist Matt McKnight asked to meet with him. “It was pretty obvious to me that what he’s after is building a compound, having that compound for people to live on,” says McKnight. McKnight met with Winkler four times at his property in the Hoodoo Mountains of north Idaho last spring/Jessica Robinson, Northwest News Network (NPR). More here.
DFO: I'm running this because it's the story behind the story that was triggered by Bill Morlin's story for the Southern Poverty Law Center re: the possibility of a new Aryan Nations compound in Bonner County's Hoodoo Mountains.
Photographer Matt McKnight shot this photo of a cross-burning on Shaun Winkler's property in Bonner County's Hoodoo Mountains earlier this year, during Winkler's unsuccessful campaign for county sheriff. McKnight was invited by Winkler to photograph the activities of his group and him. You can see 18 more photos of Winkler & Co. by Matt McKnight here.
A neo-Nazi protégé of Aryan Nations founder Richard G. Butler is building a new compound in North Idaho where he hosts Ku Klux Klan cross burnings and anti-Semitic Christian Identity church services. Shaun Patrick Winkler — who studied the Christian Identity message of hate under Butler until the iconic racist leader’s death in 2004 — purchased 17.3 acres of timbered property last year in the Hoodoo Mountains of Bonner County, Idaho, not far from the former site of the Aryan Nations “world headquarters” in adjoining Kootenai County. He reportedly plans to open it up for families affiliated with the Klan or Aryan Nations to move in and build residences. Construction of the new Aryan-style compound is sending shivers down the spines of area human rights activists who applauded when Butler’s 20-acre hate compound was turned into a cow pasture more than a decade ago/Bill Morlin, Southern Poverty Law Center. More here.
Question: Do you expect to see a revival of the Aryan Nations in North Idaho?
Tom Metzger — a wily, iconic racist ideologue who has for years espoused “lone-wolf” terrorism — could soon find himself facing criminal charges filed by the federal government he’s excoriated for decades. Federal investigators, fresh off a related mail-bombing conviction in Arizona, may be pressing for what could develop into a major Justice Department criminal case against “Terrible Tommy” Metzger, as he likes to call himself. Court records filed in three states show the investigators strongly suspect Metzger provided the Arizona bomber with explosive-making instructions, knowing they would be used in the commission of a crime of violence. At 74, Metzger, who now lives in Warsaw, Ind., has “celebrity status” as the founder of White Aryan Resistance (WAR), court documents say, and is a dean of white supremacists/Bill Morlin, Hate Watch (Southern Poverty Law Center). More here. (Photo courtesy Southern Poverty Law Center)
DFO: Metzger was a close confidante of the late Aryan Nation leader Richard Butler who came to several of the Aryan Nation Congresses above Hayden Lake and attended at least one Coeur d'Alene neo-Nazi parade.
Question: Am I the only one in Hucks Nation who witnessed an Aryan Nations parade in downtown Coeur d'Alene?
It ain’t easy jettisoning public art devoted to tolerance. But the Bonner County commissioners are trying. Artist David Kraisler’s “Tolerance” – a 10-foot steel-and-wood piece – has “graced” the courthouse lawn in Sandpoint for 11 years, since its creation in response to a planned 2001 Aryan Nations parade that didn’t happen. The city of Sandpoint got first shot at hosting “Tolerance,” but passed on it, claiming at the time that lack of a policy for public art was the problem. Trouble is, the sculpture resembles two giant stick figures coupling. “Tolerance” has many detractors. An arsonist once tried to burn it down. The Bonner County Daily Bee reports on the balancing act performed by commissioners. They support the idea behind “Tolerance,” but not necessarily the offbeat sculpture. Besides, the wood is rotting. And courthouse expansion plans could crowd “Tolerance” off the lawn. Maybe it’s time to check back with Sandpoint city leaders to see if they have finally adopted a public arts policy/DFO, SR Huckleberries. Complete Sunday column here.
Other SR weekend columns:
Question: What do you do when public art is too weird or ugly?
Middle school students in Coeur d'Alene are viewing film footage of their own community this morning, as part of a classroom lesson on racism. The Idaho Public Television special, “The Color of Conscience,” is being shown to Lakes Magnet Middle School students. Following the showing of the film, students in all the school's advisory classes will participate in teacher-led followup discussions on racism. Produced by Idaho Public Television host, Marcia Franklin, “The Color of Conscience” first aired in May. The documentary examines the past 30 years of the modern human rights movement in Idaho, and chronicles the efforts of local human rights activists who in 1981 founded the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Tony Stewart, of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations, holds up a 1988 Oregonian story re: the Aryan Nations)
Question: Should local schools offer classes on a local history of racism involving the Aryan Nations and the response by the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations?
“I always thought I'd like to end my career with one big case involving real government tyranny and genuine wrong-doing that you can point to and people would be marching in the streets,” Steele said. “Lo and behold — ironically — I've almost got the case and its mine.” Steele made a name for himself ten years ago, representing those on the fringe. He represented the McGuckins, a North Idaho family whose children held government agents at bay with guns and guard dogs for days on end. He also represented the Aryan Nations in a civil case that bankrupt the movement. You can't talk to Steele without hearing his views on race.”People live in North Idaho and they're here for the weather, they're here for the lack of population, they're here for the good shopping, they're here for the transportation,” he explained. “Those are acronyms, code words, for living apart from other races. I don't use those code words. I just say I prefer to have my family live somewhere that is not riddled with the crime that comes with Mexicans and blacks living all around you”/Melissa Luck, KXLY. More here.
Question: Do you feel sorry for Edgar Steele?
Sgt. Christie Wood responds to an allegation made by Jeff Ward in his Reagan Republicans newsletter: “In your newsletter to your supporters you made a blatantly false statement accusing me with the following:
“This May, with the aid of his cohort, city police spokeswoman Kristy Wood and their nattering anonymous henchmen at HBO blog, he launched a scurrilous attack, on Tom Hamilton, Terri Seymour, Citizens for Better Education and the Reagan Republicans slandering us by attempting to link us with Aryan Nazis”. You clearly have me confused with someone else, and have done sloppy research (let alone exaggerated what I recall reading on HBO about this topic) before posting your newsletter. I do not appreciate your fabrication, or your clear intention to link my professional life and title to your political blog. My expectation is that you have the integrity to correct your false statement.
LastDemoInIdaho: We sure remember this place (Great American Restaurant). My wife and daughter just loved it because it got them out of the house and the wife didn’t have to cook that night! The pasta was OK, I guess, but we are not professional pasta critics. One evening we looked across the room and saw where we were breaking bread with the Aryan “King” Butler, in uniform no less We were not happy, but just finished our meal and left. Decided then that if there was a next time we would leave and let the management know why. Seems like that was 100 years ago.
Question: I once ran into Aryan Nations leader Butler while dining at Charlie Nipp's old restaurant, Mr. Steak, on Lincoln Way. Did you ever had a dining encounter with Butler & his goose-steppers?
The Hate Watch Blog of the Southern Poverty Law Center reports that former Sandpoint racist Vincent Bertollini has resurfaced: “Recently released after several years in federal prison, Richard Vincent Bertollini has moved across the country and changed his name in order to make “a fresh start.” But the energetic propagandist of yesteryear is still peddling his same brand of vitriolic hatred directed at Jews and the U.S. government. Bertollini — an ordained minister of the neo-Nazi group Aryan Nations, formerly based in northern Idaho — now calls himself “Vince Bert,” Hatewatch has learned. The would-be stealth racist, aiming to shed his North Idaho reputation and remain under the radar, recently moved to Albuquerque from Santa Fe, N.M., where he maintains a post office box.” More here. (Photo: Hate Watch blog)
Question: Do you remember Bertollini and the 11th Hour Remnant Messenger?
Yes, this area remains largely monocultural, but at least we’re a slightly darker shade of pale. Here, about one person in 10 belongs to a racial minority. Nationally, more than a fourth of Americans do. Still, the degree of change deserves admiring mention. Spokane County and the state of Idaho achieved diversity growth at a slightly faster pace than the nation as a whole. That’s good, but Kootenai County’s figures showed a demographic shift four times as fast as the rest of the country. Kootenai County – the same Kootenai County where neo-Nazis, skinheads and other racist misfits burned crosses and paraded down Sherman Avenue – made diversity gains over the past 20 years that tower over other areas/Spokesman-Review Editorial Board. More here. (SR file photo: Jesse Tinsley)
Question: Do you notice more diversity in Kootenai County and North Idaho?
Baseball clubs retire numbers of famous players. Mebbe the U.S. Postal Service should retire P.O. box numbers of infamous customers. Take the Aryan Nations, for example. Please. Seems P.O. Box 1167 outlived racist Richard Butler’s Church of Jesus Christ Christian in Coeur d’Alene. Earlier this year, that number was bestowed on Citizens for Better Education, a group backing conservative candidates in the Coeur d’Alene school trustee elections Tuesday. The post office number created a brief hubbub in the local blogosphere Thursday as some wondered if there was a connection between the two organizations. No one knew for sure who was involved in Citizens for Better Education until activist Duncan Koler, of Hayden, came forward to tell Chelsea Bannach of this newspaper that his group “strongly opposes” anything to do with the Aryans. It’s time to deep-six P.O. Box 1167/DFO, Huckleberries Online. More here.
Local bloggers, social media users and callers to the Press newsroom spent time Thursday speculating and asking questions about a website promoting Zone 2 school trustee candidate, Tom Hamilton (shown in photo from his Facebook page), and Zone 3 candidate, Terri Seymour. They discovered that the site, idahoc4be.org, lists its mailing address as a Coeur d’Alene post office box number once assigned to the Church of Jesus Christ Christian, the white supremacist church once led by Richard Butler, the now deceased leader of the Aryan Nations. The website belongs to Citizens for Better Education, described as a “nonprofit association.” “I am not a CBE member, nor are they affiliated with the Aryan Nations,” Hamilton told the Press. “Phone numbers get recycled, post office boxes get recycled. It’s just a very unfortunate coincidence”/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Should the post office retire the P.O. Box number formerly held by Richard Butler's Church of Jesus Christ Christian?
The Kootenai County Democratic Club will host an address by Tony Stewart (pictured), a co-founder of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations more than 30 years ago, on Friday, May 13 at Noon. The luncheon will be held at the Iron Horse Restaurant in Coeur d’Alene. Stewart will address the topic “The 2010 United States Census Confirms the Failure of the Aryan Nations to Create an All-White Homeland in the Inland Northwest.” … Stewart will discuss his findings with regard to the goal of the Aryan Nations and Richard Butler to make this region as well as the five Northwest states of Wyoming, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana into an all-white homeland. More here.
Question: Are you aware that Richard Butler and the Aryan Nations sought to transform the Inland Northwest into a white homeland under their “territorial imperative” doctrine?
It was said, half in jest, that Bill Wassmuth was selected as the chairman of the resurrected Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations because he was single. No one laughed about that after he and his home were targetted in a fall 1986 bombing by three individuals aligned with Richard Butler's Aryan Nations. Wassmuth was sitting in the living room 10 to 12 feet away when the pipebomb exploded outside his rear door shortly after midnight. I remember that he was still dazed by the event after sunup as he showed me the damage during a tour of his parsonage. This year is the 25th anniversary of that bombing and the bombing of the downtown area by racists.
Marshall Mend, of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations, holds a picture of the first documented hate crime in Hayden — the cowardly attack on Sid Rosen's restaurant that stood at the corner of Government Way & Miles. The attack prompted the creation of the task force. Rosen, a respected chef who was targeted by local racists because he was Jewish, died on Monday at age 90. A graveside service was held for him today and then a memorial at Nosworthy's to commemorate a productive life that wasn't stopped by the hatemongers. You can read Sid's obituary here. And you can read the role that Rosen and his restaurant played in the local human rights movement here. You can also read an editorial that I wrote in February 2001 about the local human rights movement and the role Sid Rosen played in it in the drop-down box below.
Question: Have you attended an event sponsored by the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations?
The Aryan Nations sent out a video press release this weekend that states the organization had nothing to do with the attempted bombing in Downtown Spokane last week.Pastor Morris Gullet, who says he’s the World Leader of The Aryan Nations, speaks in the nearly six minute video and denies the organization’s involvement in the attempted bombing.“We condemn that, we do not condone it, any of our members who are known to be caught up in this type of activity will no longer be members of The Aryan Nations,” Gullet said. He went on to say that Martin Luther King was a sexual degenerate, a liar and plagiarist.The website says the racist organization is now based in Calhoun, Louisiana/Erik Loney, KXLY. More here.
Question: Our good friend Phaedrus is disappointed that I've made the KXLY video available here? What do you think?
Human-rights leader Tony Stewart (pictured in SR file photo) of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations today visited the two Mexican food stands that were picketed by white supremacists before the Martin Luther King holiday this month. In a phone interview, Tony told Huckleberries that he told the vendors (of Chiludo's, at 3000 Government Way, and Taco Works, at 5th & Appleway) that the racist protesters don't represent Coeur d'Alene values — and promised to tell his friends and acquaintances to frequent the business in a show of support. Tony and task force VP Christie Wood were en route to Spokane for a 3 o'clock meeting with Mayor Mary Verner and others to recommend how to respond to the attempted bombing that appears to have targeted the MLK Day parade this week. Also, Tony said he talked to CNN reporters three different times Thursday, to explain Coeur d'Alene's response to racist activity in the past and also to the Wall Street Journal and the Missoulian.
Question: Have you considered buying a meal from the two Mexican food stands to show your support for them, after the supremacist protest?
Christie Wood (re: Aryans stage protest near Human Rights Institute): I drove by them on my way to drop off some food for the Martin Luther King Gala event hosted by the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations. All of the good thoughts I had been having about our event, including the 26th year of the children's program hosted on MLK birthday at NIC, were suddenly dampened by the sight of hate. But I reminded myself that our unfortunate history in this arena is why I joined the Task Force two years ago- to help victims of hate, to help promote human rights and equality for all, and work with our community to celebrate diversity.
Question: Is Kootenai County fertile for the second coming of an Aryan Nations HQ?
Aryan Nations founder Richard G. Butler, left, displays his new campaign signs, along with Aryan follower Zack Beck, right, outside Butler's home in Hayden on Oct. 1, 2003. At the time, Butler was running for mayor, and Beck for a City Council position. Both failed badly in their bid to win seats. Now, Beck has renounced his racism. (AP Photo/Jeff T. Green)
In a front-page apology in the Coeur d'Alene Press Sunday, former white supremacist Zach Beck writes: “You may recall me and my old associates and the many times I graced the front pages of your paper. If not, good for you. I want to formally apologize for the image of hate that I helped bring upon this decent community. I could tell you I was ordered to do what I did and that I was young and dumb, manipulated and lied to, but it doesn't change the fact that it was still me. I wish I could take it back. You don't have to forgive me and I don't blame you if you don't, but I need you, Coeur d'Alene, to know that I and so many before and after me are wrong. Hate is pointless, destructive to everyone involved, selfish, childish, and cowardly. I'm sorry.” More here.
Question: What do you make of this apology by a former white supremacist who became a disciple and confidante of Aryan Nations leader Richard Butler after Butler lost his compound?