Aryan Nations ‘memo’ inquiry sought

A white supremacist group has recently posted on its Web site a purported law enforcement memo saying several Seattle area residents, most of whom are apparently connected through their participation in Democratic Party politics, are involved in a plot to assassinate the hate group’s leaders.

Although clearly fake, the memo posted by the Aryan Nations prompted the local Anti-Defamation League office yesterday to ask the FBI and Seattle police to investigate the matter — and caused concern among the people on the list, most of whose home addresses are listed.

“This was clearly intended to make (the people named) targets,” said Robert Jacobs, Pacific Northwest regional director for the ADL. “It shows that we still have to do more to be diligent, because this kind of false information can harm innocent people.”

Jacobs said the letter could be dangerous because it could incite Aryan Nations followers to act against those who are purportedly acting against the group’s leaders.

The memo, dated July 1, 2004, is purportedly written by an unnamed law enforcement office and is addressed to coordinators of a so-called Domestic Terrorism Task Force.

The letter claims that the 10 people listed are “recruits” who have been provided with guns and training, enlisted to kill the leadership of the Aryan Nations by Sept. 1.

“The sooner the extremists are dead, the better it is for the United States,” reads the letter, which is accessible from the main Aryan Nations Web page.

ADL officials said the memo was posted on the Web site within the last week. The Aryan Nations is a white-supremacist group that promotes anti-Semitic and racist beliefs.

According to some of those listed, the main way in which they are connected is through Young Democrats of Washington. One, Gayatri Eassey, is the president of the group. Eassey is also a fund-raiser for Christine Gregoire’s gubernatorial campaign.

Several others on the list are former presidents of the Democratic group, aimed at party supporters up through the age of 36. Perhaps the most prominent person mentioned is Joe McDermott, a Democratic state legislator from West Seattle. He could not be reached.

“It’s a little startling to see your name on a list like that,” said Marco Lowe, an aide to Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels who is on leave to run the Dave Ross congressional campaign.

One former Young Democrats president, James Apa, a spokesman for Public Health — Seattle & King County, said he was not fazed by the letter.

“Clearly, it’s a fabrication,” Apa said, echoing others who wonder why they ended up in such a letter. “Personally, I’m going to leave it to the FBI to do their work. It’s not going to affect me or how I go about my business. If that was their goal, they failed.”

Seattle police Sgt. Carmen Best said a police intelligence unit would be working with the FBI on the matter. She also said they will be contacting each of the people listed in the letter.

Seattle FBI spokeswoman Melissa Schuler said that the bureau planned soon to open an investigation into the matter.

She said it was too early to comment further.

An Aryan Nations follower denied in an e-mail to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that the letter was fictitious. “The memo was published just as received,” the e-mail said.

By many accounts, the Aryan Nations’ influence has waned in recent years.

Read the Seattle Post-Intelligencer online

In 2000, a lawsuit filed by area residents and the Southern Poverty Law Center resulted in a $6 million judgment against the Nations.

The ruling bankrupted the group, forcing it to give up its 20-acre compound near Hayden Lake in northern Idaho.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, USA
Aug. 7, 2004
Sam Skolnik

Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday August 7, 2004.
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