Latest from The Spokesman-Review
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?
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?
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?
In this October 2003 AP file photo, 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. Butler, who has since died, was running for mayor, and Beck for a City Council position. Now, Beck is indicted in a racially motivated attack on a patron in a Vancouver, Wash., bar. See story here. (AP Photo/Jeff T. Green)
The Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations on Sept. 7 will
mark the Sept. 7, 2000, day when a civil jury in Coeur d’Alene returned a
verdict of $6.3 million against the white supremacist group after its
guards attacked two people. The verdict forced Aryan Nations
founder Richard Butler to give up his compound and the group eventually
withered away. Butler died a few years later. Other groups have cropped
up around the country that use the name Aryan Nations. The
ceremony will be outside the Kootenai County Courthouse, near the
downtown area where the Aryan Nations for years held public parades that
drew a handful of supporters and large numbers of opponents/Associated Press. More here. (AP file photo: Richard Butler & his followers rally in July 1999.)
Question: Did you ever encounter Richard Butler or one of his hirelings during the heyday of the Aryan Nations?
- Infamous Idahoans: Believe it or not, former Idaho U.S. senator Larry Craig was deemed more notorious than late Aryan Nations leader Richard Butler, in a poll that started Friday. a plurality of 46 of 137 respondents (33.6%) considered Craig to be the most notorious on a list of five provided by HucksOnline. 45 of 137 (32.8%) considered Butler the most infamous Idahoan. 20 (14.6%) felt Randy Weaver was the worst of the bunch, while 16 (11.7%) voted for killer Claude Dallas as worst. No one voted for Gutson Borglum, the Mount Rushmore sculptor who had ties to the KKK. 10 (7.3%) thought someone else was worse than these 5.
- LeBron James: 67 of 171 respondents (39%) said LeBron James’ decision to sign a new contract w/Miama shouldn’t have been a big deal since he was a free agent. 62 of 171 (36%) didn’t care about LeBron or sports. 21 (12%) said he betrayed his old team, Cleveland. 15 (9%) said they agree w/LeBron’s decision b/c Miami will be a talented team to watch now.
- Today’s Poll: Which major Coeur d’Alene summer event do you like most — Art on the Green, Car d’Lane, Fourth of July, or Ironman Coeur d’Alene?
Dave Walker has bad-mouthed me from the time that he finished his term on the City Council some time back, largely I suppose because he didn’t like the fact that I kept the heat on then mayor Steve Judy. Walker was one of the biggest allies of the Boy Mayor’s mediocre administration. Also, he continues to be an unabashed hydroplane race fan. In fact, he created a Web page ballyhooing the old Diamond Cup races. Why am I telling you this? Seems Walker compared me to Richard Butler today for having the audacity to bring up the riots of the 1960s as one of the reasons for the suspension of the hydroplane races. Here’s his quote today from Facebook: “If a vote were held to determine the one person who has done the most negative damage to North Idaho it would be a tossup between Richard Butler and Spokesman Review hack DF Oliveria. Why does he always work so hard to beat down CdA and North Idaho?” Seems Walker has forgotten this community voted 3-to-1 against allowing hydroplane races to return to North Idaho. If he’d bother to check the newspaper reports of the day, he’d recall that the oldtimers who voted against resurrecting the races remembered the riots. I could respond to Walker’s venom and hatred in kind. But the fact that he’d compare me to the dead Aryan Nations leader probably is all that you need to know about him any way/DFO.
In this August 2000 SR file photo, Edgar Steele, attorney for Richard Butler, leaves the Kootenai County Courthouse during a break in a civil trial that would eventually bankrupt the Aryan Nations. (SR File Photo: Kathy Plonka)
Item: North Idaho attorney charged in murder-for-hire plot: Prosecutors say Edgar J. Steele, long tied to hate groups, agreed to pay money to see his wife and her mother dead/Kathleen Kreller & Cynthia Sewell, Idaho Statesman
More Info: Steele is well known from his work for hate groups such as the Aryan Nations and other high-profile clients, including the McGuckin family, who held off police during a 2001 Idaho standoff. He’s also known for vocal anti-semitic and racist rants on the Internet.The witness told the FBI Steele paid $500 in cash for travel expenses and promised as much as $25,000 if the murders were completed on Friday. According to the affidavit, Steele promised the witness another $100,000 if an insurance policy paid out after his wife’s murder.
(Warning: Objectionable language) An organization that tracks hate groups says records show there are more such groups now than ever before. In an effort to help determine why, KOMO News got an exclusive interview with a member of the Aryan Nations and with those determined to stop the hate. Jerald O’Brien stamped his skin with symbols of the Aryan Nations. “We alone are his children,” he said. He named his daughter “Berlin.” “Hitler was a great man,” O’Brien said. And he hears the battle cry of a brotherhood in a race war. “Now we have a slave reigning over us,” he said, referring to President Barack Obama. And when O’Brien looks at the headstone of Pastor Richard Butler in a Coeur d’Alene, Idaho cemetery: “I promised Pastor (Richard Butler, pictured) and my father, who art in heaven, that I would not let this die and I won’t lose my faith”/KOMO. More here.
Question: The Southern Poverty Law Center gives three reasons for the rise of hate groups: Exploitation of the illegal immigration issue, the crumbling economy and the historic election of Barack Obama. Are you surprised that hate groups are taking advantage of current circumstances?