INTRODUCTION: The April 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City has focused national attention on white supremacy and militia organizations around the country. The ideas of many of those organizations are often so bizarre as to be amusing. (e.g., codes on interstate signs to lead invading UN troops, UN helicopter training at Mt. Mitchell etc.) However, the feelings behind those fears are real. The Oklahoma bombing demonstrates the horror produced when even a small number of people act on those fears. Western North Carolina has its share of supremacy and militia organizations. Rather than sweep them under the rug and hope they go away, we need to learn as much about them as possible. It is equally important that our communities show that they stand for something healthier than the principles espoused by those organizations. It is useful to know that while many militia groups are not based in white supremacy ideology, white supremacists are key players behind the national militia movement. For example, Oklahoma bombing suspect Timothy McVeigh is thought to have contacted white supremacist leaders and organizations shortly before the bombing. The following is an update on what we know about the CAUSE Foundation and other organizations around western N.C.:
1. CAUSE FOUNDATION PROVIDES LEGAL ADVICE TO MILITIAS
2. LYONS ATTENDS KEY MILITIA ORGANIZING MEETING
3. LYONS SPEAKS AT D.C. GUN OWNER RALLY WITH G. GORDON LIDDY
4. CAUSE FOUNDATION ENDORSED BY 'SOLDIER OF FORTUNE' MAGAZINE
5. LYONS' BEST MAN A KEY MILITIA STRATEGIST
6. LYONS FEATURED ON ASHEVILLE CABLE TV SHOW ADVERTISEMENT ALONG WITH CHRISTIAN IDENTITY PREACHER
7. LYONS TRIES TO DISTANCE HIMSELF FROM KKK
8. LYONS' NEO-NAZI CONNECTION UNCOVERED IN BOOK
9. OTHER ASPECTS OF LYONS' WORK IN BLACK MOUNTAIN
10. NORD DAVIS AND NORTHPOINT TEAMS BASED NEAR ANDREWS
12. HAYWOOD COUNTY MILITIA
13. NEW HAMPSHIRE/MAINE KKK LEADER MOVES TO YANCEY COUNTY
14. CHRISTIAN IDENTITY CHURCHES/ACTIVITY IN WNC
15. WILLIAM PIERCE/TURNER DIARIES CONNECTION TO WNC
1. CAUSE FOUNDATION PROVIDES LEGAL ADVICE TO MILITIAS: The CAUSE(Canada, Australia, United States, South Africa, Europe) Foundation which moved from Houston to Black Mountain in 1992 portrays itself as a "civil rights" organization for the right wing. It is actually an integral part of the overall national white supremacy movement. In 1991, its director Kirk Lyons was named by the Southern Poverty Law Center(SPLC) as one of the white supremacy movement's ten national leaders. SPLC in its 1995 listing named CAUSE a national hate group. In a June 26, 1995 Greensboro News & Record article, Lyons says about militias and those wanting to start militias:
"They call me all the time. I tell them this. I tell everybody this. If you want to stay out of jail, keep your ...damn mouths shut because there's a good chance you're going to get infiltrated." The article describes Lyons as the "unofficial legal advisor for militia leaders."
2. LYONS ATTENDS KEY MILITIA ORGANIZING MEETING: According to KLANWATCH, in 1992 Lyons was one of 160 white men to accept an invitation to a militia strategy gathering in Estes Park, Colorado to respond to the Randy Weaver situation. The meeting was called by Christian Identity preacher and white supremacist Rev. Pete Peters. Peters is featured with Lyons on advertisements for a weekly TV show on TCI Cablevision's Channel 10 in Asheville (More on that subject in item no. 6). The Estes Park meeting is credited by KLANWATCH with leading to the formation of most of today's hardcore supremacist militias.
3. LYONS SPEAKS AT D.C. GUN OWNER RALLY WITH G. GORDON LIDDY: At a June 4, 1995 rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., G. Gordon Liddy told the crowd "just don't obey the damn law" should any be passed that infringed on their right to bear arms. At that rally, Lyons told of receiving a few days before the Oklahoma bombing an anonymous call saying: "Lawsuits are going nowhere, we need real action." The Asheville Citizen-Times editorialized June 14 that extremists such as Liddy and Lyons "exploit the fears of a few, prey upon them as despots do, all the while claiming that those who put their lives on the line to protect us are the despots." The editorial went on: "The hate peddlers insult us as Americans with their message" and concluded that such people "like the dark where half-truths, misinformation, and paranoia prevail because they don't long survive in the light."
4. CAUSE FOUNDATION ENDORSED BY 'SOLDIER OF FORTUNE' MAGAZINE BUT APPARENTLY SPURNED BY NRA: In its 1995 issue, "Soldier of Fortune" magazine called on "patriots, militiamen, and everyone else concerned over what happens to our freedom" to help support CAUSE. CAUSE's own half page ad asking for contributions ran in the same issue urging readers to "Help Stop Reno and Her Gun Grabbing Goons." (See Page 3) According to a statement made to WNCCEIB by an investigative reporter, "Soldier of Fortune" claimed that they were unaware of Lyons's connections to white supremacy and anti-Semitic movements. A November 2, 1995 Rolling Stone article by Leonard Zeskind, "Armed And Dangerous:The NRA, Militias, And White Supremacists Are Fostering A Network Of Right Wing Warriors," features Lyons' quotes and photo. The article states that Lyons asked the NRA in 1994 for $50,000 to finance his work on Waco cases but has not received any funding to date. (See Item 9) Lyons' assistant Dave Hollaway was quoted as writing that some NRA fund trustees were concerned about Lyons' political pedigree. Zeskind goes on to state that Larry Pratt and Gun Owners Of America (an organization considered to the right of the NRA) stepped in to help fund Lyons and CAUSE.
5. LYONS' BEST MAN A KEY MILITIA STRATEGIST: Louis Beam, former Grand Dragon of the Texas KKK was best man at Kirk Lyons' 1990 wedding in the Christian Identity Church on the Idaho Aryan Nations compound. Beam is credited with updating and furthering the "Leaderless Resistance" paramilitary organizing model being used by many militia groups. In a report on Louis Beam's background, the Portland, Oregon-based Coalition For Human Dignity stated: "Behind Louis Beam's commitment to building the paramilitary wing of the racist movement is a philosophy rooted in white supremacy and a anti-Semitism and a strategy of using above ground propaganda to build the underground tools of racist terrorism." In his essay on "Leaderless Resistance", Beam outlines a way of organizing based on small groups acting independently, noting that this method "presents no single opportunity for the Federals to destroy a significant portion of the Resistance." He goes on: "It goes almost without saying that Leaderless Resistance leads to very small or even one man cells of resistance. Those who join organizations to play 'let's pretend' or who are 'groupies' will quickly be weeded out. While for those who are serious about their opposition to federal despotism, this is exactly what is desired." Beam has been a reporter for the Christian Identity "Jubilee" and has recently moved to Idaho.
6. LYONS FEATURED ON ASHEVILLE CABLE TV SHOW ADVERTISEMENT ALONG WITH CHRISTIAN IDENTITY PREACHER: "Uncensored Truth" began airing on TCI Cablevision Channel 10 on July 1 with a show in which Kirk Lyons defended himself and referred to his detractors as "insidious insects". Later shows included 'sermons' by Rev. Pete Peters of the Christian Identity church. That church, to which Lyons' in-laws belonged in Idaho, preaches that people of color belong to sub-human "mud races", that Jews are "Satan's spawn", and that Anglo-Saxons are the Bible's real covenant people. According to the Coalition For Human Dignity, Peters' book, The Death Penalty for Homosexuals Is Prescribed In The Bible, advocates the systematic murder of gay and lesbian people. "Uncensored Truth" is being aired Saturdays at 11:30 am on the channel that was set aside in Asheville's 1967 cable charter as being free-of-charge for "the exclusive use" of the Asheville City School System. The school system only uses a few hours each week allowing TCI Cablevision to operate the remaining hours on a "local origination" commercial basis with income going to TCI Cablevision. According to the charter, the channel is supposed "to carry only educational information about the schools and programs of an educational nature..." School officials indicate that the school board has voluntarily relinquished programming decisions to TCI Cablevision. According to TCI Cablevision, "Isrealite(sic) Productions", producers of "Uncensored Truth" pay $100 per week for air time and another $100 plus for production work, mainly editing Peters' talks. Ads for "Uncensored Truth" featuring Lyons and Peters appeared in local newspapers and on a billboard on US Highway 19/23 west of Asheville.
7. LYONS TRIES TO DISTANCE HIMSELF FROM KKK: After the May 7, 1995 KKK recruitment march in Black Mountain, Lyons told the Black Mountain News that the march's leader Virgil Griffin of Mount Holly near Charlotte, is a "world-class moron." Lyons' past connections with the KKK belie that criticism. e.g.: -In the fall 1992 KKK publication "Jew Watch", Lyons is described as a "Christian Patriot" and is pictured standing in front of a burning cross with the KKK's then-theological leader Robert Miles. (See Page 7 excerpt provided by Simon Wiesenthal Center) -Lyons is interviewed in the KKK's "Klansman" publication in 1990 saying: "Our business is to go on the offensive, defend people who are on trial and file lawsuits on behalf of people in our movement so that we can start taking the war into the enemies court." (emphasis added) -Lyons was quoted in a 1992 German neo-Nazi publication saying, "It would be good if the Klan followed the advice of former Klansman Robert Miles: 'Become invisible. Hang the robes and hoods in the cupboard and become an underground organization. This would make the Klan stronger than ever'."
8. LYONS' NEO-NAZI CONNECTION UNCOVERED IN BOOK: In Hitler's Shadow, An Israeli's Amazing Journey Inside Germany's Neo-Nazi Movement" is a book authored by Yaron Svoray and Nick Taylor and published by Doubleday in October 1994. It recounts the infiltration by an Israeli investigator into the neo-Nazi movement in Germany. On page 169 of this book available in the Buncombe County Library, the Israeli undercover agent is talking with a neo-Nazi leader who begins to reveal his connections with right wingers in the United States. The first one he names is Kirk Lyons. Details are not given but the neo-Nazi may have met Lyons when Lyons toured England and Germany in 1992 speaking to "Holocaust-didn't-happen" type conferences and meetings. At that time, community groups in England tried to have Lyons deported.
9. OTHER ASPECTS OF LYONS' WORK IN BLACK MOUNTAIN: -Lyons continues to be involved in suits involving a Waco survivor and British families of other Waco victims. On June 29, 1994, Lyons held a news conference on the Buncombe County Courthouse steps with survivor David Thibodeau. He was featured in a February 28, 1995 Asheville Citizen-Times article about the many years such suits may take to complete. "We're in a war to the finish," Lyons is quoted as saying. -A Lyons neighbor has written letters to the paper praising Lyons as a man "of honor and integrity. He does not lie." The neighbor did not, however, counter any facts that had been written about Lyons' activities.(Asheville Citizen-Times 6-27-95) -Lyons reported that he is helping in the lawsuit of an African-American who accuses the Hendersonville, NC police of beating him. Lyons used the case to show that he defends all and is not racist. However, on the TV show mentioned in item 6 which appears aimed at a white sympathetic audience, Lyons didn't mention that the victim is black, only that he was harassed by police. -Lyons does not have a license to practice law in North Carolina but is using a local attorney in the Hendersonville case. -Lyons'car has a Texas plate though he's lived here since 1992. -Lyons attended Black Mountain's Dr. Martin Luther King Prayer Breakfast in January 1995 for the second time. His assistant Dave Hollaway attended in 1993.
10. NORD DAVIS AND NORTHPOINT TEAMS BASED NEAR ANDREWS: Two weeks after the Oklahoma bombing, Christian Identity proponent and militia advocate James 'Bo' Gritz spoke in Andrews to 250 people who paid $5.00 apiece to attend. He said he was going to sue a television network over a news item that had aired after the bombing. That clip showed Gritz saying that the Oklahoma bombing was a masterpiece, "a Rembrandt." According to the Greensboro News & Record (June 26, 1995), Gritz has conducted six SPIKE trainings for Nord Davis in Andrews. SPIKE stands for Specially Prepared Individuals for Key Events and includes survival, paramilitary, and medical training. In that same newspaper article, Davis said that, "Your children are not going to live like we did. It's already over. There's no choice now not to go into a New World Order dictatorship. What you've been seeing in Bosnia for the past three years, you'll be seeing here." "In less than a year, this will all be gone," he said looking over his 130-acre peaceful mountain home in Topton near Andrews. Davis says that he goes deep into the Bible. He says, "If you are an enemy of God, I am obliged to kill you." The commandment, "Thou Shalt not kill" refers only to "innocents" and that adultery in the Bible refers to "interracial marriage." When Gritz ran for President on the Populist Party ticket in 1992, he indicated that Nord Davis would be his choice for Secretary of Defense.
12. HAYWOOD COUNTY MILITIA: Jeremy Davis (apparently no relation to Nord Davis) is organizer of what he reports as a 200-member-strong militia. There are no indications of white supremacy connections and Davis emphasized to the Asheville Citizen-Times "We are not a neo-Nazi group, we are not a hate group.' Davis says they have a firing range but no compound and focus mainly on medical treatments. However, in a June 25, 1995 "Greensboro News and Record" series, the comments of members of this group indicate they share with other militias paranoia and the same distrust of government: e.g. Amy Honaker, a Waynesville Wal-Mart check-out clerk, said in the article she joined after being asked by a customer to scan the back of her hand where an implanted micro-chip served as the customer's credit card. That micro-chip, Honaker said, is the "mark of the beast" from the book of Revelations in the Bible and "another indication to me that a New World Order is coming..."
13. NEW HAMPSHIRE/MAINE KKK LEADER MOVES TO YANCEY COUNTY: Tom Herman who has described himself as a Klan recruiter and the "Grand Secretary" of the KKK in New Hampshire and Maine has apparently moved to Yancey County outside Burnsville. Herman first moved to Gulf, NC in 1991 from Exeter, New Hampshire. Apparently he moved into Yancey County about two years ago, but has kept a low profile while operating an electronics business out of his remote home. Both the Center for Democratic Renewal and the Southern Poverty Law Center have dozens of news clippings about Herman from his New Hampshire days. One shows him and several other Klansmen in hoods and robes waving to passing traffic from a bridge over I-95. In 1989, Herman was fired from his job as a part-time sheriff's deputy in Newfields, NH because of his KKK activities.
14. CHRISTIAN IDENTITY CHURCHES/ACTIVITY IN WNC: -Stone Kingdom Ministries, based in Asheville and headed by Rev. James Bruggeman, is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center in its 1995 listings. With no church building and apparently a small local following, the church has occasional meetings inside and outside the Asheville area. Bruggeman is more well-known nationally for short-wave radio programs in which he has participated and his participation in national Christian Identity meetings. For a short time several years ago, Bruggeman was a volunteer Sunday School teacher at a state-run agency near Asheville. -New Beginnings, based in Waynesville, is also Christian Identity but is not officially listed by the SPLC as a hate group. Their monthly mailing includes a World News section that repeats many of the same 'one-world-government' fears the militias espouse. (See Christian Identity theology in Item 6 above.) -Isrealite(sic) Productions based in Asheville is producing cable TV shows featuring Christian Identity preacher Rev. Pete Peters. (See Item 6 above)
15. WILLIAM PIERCE/TURNER DIARIES CONNECTION TO WNC: The Turner Diaries, written under a pen name by West Virginia supremacist William Pierce, is credited with being the blueprint for the Order/Posse Comitatus violence in the mid 1980s and more recently for the bombing in Oklahoma City. In 1992, Pierce was sold 22 acres of land near Otto in Macon County by Ben Klassen founder of the Church of the Creator, a virulently supremacist sect. Klassen committed suicide in 1993. Pierce later sold the land. The Southern Poverty Law Center is suing Pierce for his profits. The Center claims that Klassen sold the land to Pierce at half its $200,000 value to avoid losing the land to judgments resulting from a civil suit after Klassen's followers murdered an African-American Gulf war veteran in Florida in 1991. The case is still in the courts.
CONCLUSION: As the motto on the bottom of our letterhead says, "Saying YES to Human Rights is the best way to say NO to racism and bigotry." We urge everyone in our community to become informed, to be wary of today's not-so-easy-to-see hoods and robes, and to work within your own homes, churches, civic clubs, and other institutions to send a message of love, tolerance, and equality. Through such public expressions, we can create an atmosphere in which bigotry is less likely to grow. Please contact us for more information and to learn how other communities have addressed the challenge that hate groups and militias present today.
WNCCEIB thanks volunteers and supporters who helped put this memorandum together.
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