Reuters, July 24, 2002
By Alan Elsner, National Correspondent
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – American neo-Nazis and white supremacists, stung by the death of one top leader and the serious illness of another, will try to regroup at an Aryan Nations World Congress this weekend in Pennsylvania.
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The meeting, to be held in Ulysses Township on the property of white supremacist August Kreis, is the first to be convened in the eastern United States for many years, according to the Anti-Defamation League, which monitors extremist hate groups.
The group’s Web site listed a number of white supremacist rock bands and speakers scheduled to appear at the gathering in a rural county of north-central Pennsylvania.
The group did not answer telephone calls. However, on its Internet site, it defines its ideology:
“Aryan Nations supports any and all efforts that disrupt the system and lead to system breakdown. Worse is better for now, and societal breakdown is absolutely necessary. … We are not a non-violent organization. We support the coming of a New Dawn in which white power will be a fact of life. Our soil will be cleansed, of this there is zero doubt,” it said.
Such groups have suffered significant setbacks in the past two years. On Tuesday, one of their top leaders, William Pierce, died of cancer at age 69.
Pierce, described by the Southern Poverty Law Centeras the “America’s number one neo-Nazi,” was leader of the National Alliance, which boasts 51 chapters nationwide. His novel, “The Turner Diaries,” helped inspire Timothy McVeigh to blow up the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995, killing 168 people.
Another prominent extremist leader, Richard Butler, is said to be terminally ill. Butler, who heads Aryan Nations, was forced to sell his 20-acre compound in Hayden Lake, Idaho, last year to pay a $6.3 million court verdict in favor of a woman and her son who were attacked and terrorized by Aryan Nations security guards.
The compound is being transformed into a human rights education center and museum.
But the Pennsylvania meeting is a sign that the Aryan Nations and groups like them are far from dead, said Mark Pitcavage, director of fact-finding for the Anti-Defamation League.
“The Aryan Nations has now split into three factions which are trying to outdo each other in their radicalism. They are preaching a very violent, dangerous ideology,” he said.
Extremist groups have organized a number of outdoor white power concerts this summer, including “Rudolph Hess memorial concerts” next month in Portland, Oregon and Orange County, California. Hess was a deputy to Adolf Hitler who committed suicide in prison in 1987, aged 93.