Political trends, including the militia movement and repeal of affirmative action programs, prove the Aryan Nations message is spreading, says founder Richard Butler.
As the message spreads, many joining his white supremacy movement are Vietnam veterans who feel betrayed by their government, Butler said Friday.
The loss of faith in government is fueled by events such as Waco and Ruby Ridge, Butler told reporters at the outset of this weekend’s Aryan World Congress.
Butler said he expects 300 to attend his annual conference for racists, neo-Nazis and white pride advocates from the United States and Canada.
They will hear speeches today from lifelong racist and Ku Klux Klan leader Louis Beam, who recently moved to Sandpoint.
After Beam’s remarks, the day’s events will conclude with a Ku Klux Klan-style cross burning.
“We have treason practiced from the White House on down,” Butler told reporters.
White people need to be proud of their cultural heritage, and have their own homeland, he said.
Many people are finding that homeland in North Idaho, he said.
The press conference was held after Aryan security guard Paul vonWolff, of Fresno, Calif., threatened to bar Coeur d’Alene Press reporter Mike McLean from the grounds “because of the color of your skin.”
Later, as reporters and photographers were being escorted by guards onto the grounds, vonWolff told KXLY-TV reporter Jennifer Jolly that he wished the media representatives were being “marched to the showers.”
The reference to the extermination of Jews angered Jolly, and she later asked Butler about the comment.
“I can’t account for what everybody says,” Butler responded. Later, vonWolff apologized to Jolly and other reporters.
Butler was joined by his second-in-command, Tim Bishop, who uses the title “colonel.”
Also at the briefing were Harold von Braunhut of Maryland; Charles Scott of Kelowna, British Columbia; and Katja Lane of St. Maries, Idaho.
Lane is the new wife of David Lane, a former Aryan Nations member and convicted member of The Order, a band of neo-Nazi terrorists. David Lane is serving a prison sentences totaling 180 years for conspiring to kill a Jewish radio talk-show host, and crimes committed by The Order.
Von Braunhut is Maryland state leader for the Aryan Nations. He lives on an estate near the Potomac River and made his fortune by selling toys marketed in comic books, including X-ray glasses and salt-brine shrimp called Sea Monkeys.
Beam, who is the Aryan Nations ambassador, did not show up for the press conference, but is listed as a conference speaker.
“Louis Beam refuses to talk with the media, doesn’t like the media,” Butler explained. “He’s trying to make a life for himself up in Sandpoint. He just wants to build his new home and contribute his part to the defense of his race.”
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