Talk Nation Radio for June 11, 2009
Chip Berlet and Max Blumenthal on America’s Militant Right Wing
(6-12-09 4:47 PM) Updated, see transcript below
This program was taped Wed. June 10, 2009
TRT: 29:33 music fades long
Download at Pacifica’s Audioport here or at Archive.org and Radio4all.net for various formats.
Music by Fritz Heede www.fritzheede.com Fritz Heed wrote and performed the sound track for the film, The Oil Factor.
See part one of our interview with Chip Berlet.
Comments at end about the shooting at the publiceye.org.
Welcome to Talk Nation Radio, a half hour discussion on politics, human rights, and the environment. I’m Dori Smith
Intro: We produce Talk Nation in Connecticut, where over the past few weeks there have been several arrests made over threats to members of the State Legislature and court authorities. At issue have been hot button issues like abortion, immigration, gay rights, church finances, and the Middle East, and while the internet has revolutionized political organizing, some of the tactics and messages are actually part of a longer history of right wing organizing. It includes bullying, fear mongering, and the use of fear tactics to try to intimidate more moderate voices. Messages often seem to be about political issues, but in the background lurk special interests, corporations and ambitious politicians who are providing support. — Over the next half hour we continue our discussion with Chip Berlet of Political Research Associates in the Boston area. Last time Chip Berlet explained that right wing radio show host Michael Savage may have referenced German society under the Third Reich and Wiemar Republic, but he was actually revisiting old rationalizations about the scapegoating of gays, immigrants, and other vulnerable groups that date back to early John Birch Society organizing tactics:
Chip Berlet: This is something that goes way back to the early John Birch Society in the the late 1950′s, 1959-1960, where they developed the theory that ‘liberalism’ because of its ‘decadence’ and its moral relativism, was going to destroy America ‘just like’ you saw with a previous historic civilization.
Then Max Blumenthal joins us to discuss another story out of Connecticut, the arrest of Harold “Hal” Turner, for inciting injury to persons or property. Turner was charged in the State of Connecticut for threats he made as he urged readers of his blog to take up arms against Representative Mike Lawlor and Senator Andrew McDonald:
Max Blumenthal: Which indicates that Hal Turner is an agent provocateur. Even if he is he is still inciting violent neo-Nazi elements which have killed before. — Hal Turner has called for my assassination so I’m sure that, I wouldn’t doubt that the charges are true.
President Obama asked both sides in the abortion debate to come together over efforts to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. We asked Chip Berlet to comment on what he had said:
Chip Berlet: I think the Obama administration has followed up what it did during the election campaign by crafting a very specific model of seeking the reduction of unwanted pregnancies. And I think that that’s a very good way to put it because it puts it in a frame work that is a human rights frame work in which you talk about abortion as one element of a larger strategy of reducing unwanted pregnancy, so the issue is not reducing abortion, the issue is reducing unwanted pregnancies. Which results in a reduction of abortion.
If you start out by saying the target is reducing abortion the very first thing that happens by that frame is you stigmatize abortion when in fact its a basic right for women. So I don’t want to be part of any compromise or common ground that starts out by liquidating the basic human rights of a constituency of our country. You see the same thing with people who talk about homosexuality. You know it’s not OK to talk about gay marriage. Let’s talk about other things. Well, if there are basic human rights in society they should apply to everyone, that includes women and gay people.
What you see now with some centrist Democrats, OK? Who are back sliders on these issues. They are willing to negotiate away basic human rights for women and gay people. And they have started by negotiating away basic human rights for women. And they have started out a dialogue with anti abortion activists who want to end abortion rights entirely, and they have agreed on a common ground of reducing the number of abortions. This is folly. This is adopting a right wing frame again. I understand that when you are in Washington you might be tempted to negotiate with people but a basic rule of organizing among progressives is that you don’t enter into coalitions and compromises by stabbing your existing allies in the back. I think there have been some serious mistakes among some very well meaning people inside the beltway. But I think its very important to say, common ground and dialogue is good, negotiating away basic human rights is bad. So I have no problem talking to people who are anti abortion. I get invited to some fundamentalist Christian settings where I’m talking to people who are anti abortion but I’m talking about other issues like apocalypticism or hate groups, or bigotry. And I say up front, we’re going to have to agree to disagree on the issue of abortion.
You know people who are anti abortion, that’s a view protected by the First Amendment. But basic human rights are not something that we then throw into the pile for negotiating. There is a big difference. And so I think what you are seeing now is centrist Democrats and skillful organizers on the political right around the issue of abortion trying to sucker punch well meaning people in the Democratic Party and in progressive religious activism to basically sell out a whole sector of society and I think people realize that that’s what’s happening. So this is an ongoing discussion. I’ve been struggling with some very decent people in a number of progressive religious organizations to try and say this is not the right way to do things.
I’ve made some missteps and I have apologized for them because you know I do tend to get a little hysterical sometimes. So if my hyperbolic criticism of this compromise plan has wounded people I’ve tried to step back from that. But I think the issue here is clear. Right wingers who are out of power right now are trying to find ways to lure the people who are closer to power to move them into a common language and common ground in a way that is not acceptable. So yes, dialogue? Absolutely. Finding commonality? I’ve worked with anti abortion people around sex education programs in schools by talking about, let’s set aside some of the hot button issues but what are things that both and anti abortion parents can agree on in terms of the context of teaching about sexuality and pregnancy in school. And when you say let’s set aside what makes everyone angry, condoms, there’s a lot of hot button issues. Let’s put those off he table and say, what can we say? Can we teach about how HIV is spread? Let’s do that. Can we teach about how women get pregnant? Don’t laugh. Some young women don’t know. Do we teach about the basic facts of life from a scientific perspective? Most people say yes. Can we throw out of the curriculum those things that are not scientifically valid. Sure, why not? So, it’s easy to find common ground in settings where you are trying to reach to areas where there is common agreement. But that’s different from immediately starting out a conversation by giving the other side everything they want. And what kind of negotiator does that? It’s just not smart.
Dori Smith: In April and in early May we were hearing that Homeland Security was warning of potential violence from the right wing. Then there was violence at Jewish temples in NY and in Connecticut. What should people of faith, people who go to temple or to the Christian churches, think about all of this and how it affects them? How can we understand what’s going on here and what should be done about it?
Chip Berlet: The government report about potential right wing violence was a report that made a good point in terms of it being a period when right wing violence is possible. But the report itself lumped together all sorts of conservative and right wing activists who have never broken any law and have never suggested any law be broken. So I immediately spoke out against that report even though I had just written for the Progressive a warning that this is a period where people had to have heightened security concerns because of the potential for right wing attacks. But the government should not be in the business of looking at conservative and right wing people whose rhetoric and whose actions do not fall outside the law. And I think that’s a very important issue and its not OK to tell the government to go after everyone in the Sovereign Citizen Movement now, it’s not OK to tell the government, it’s OK to round up all the militant anti abortionists. It’s not the job of government to enforce our political struggles. It’s the job of government to enforce the law and the murder of Dr. Tiller is a violation of the law so let’s prosecute that. But let’s be very careful that we don’t give the government power against the right that it will turn around immediately and use against us.
The other thing is this question of the rise and fall of both anti antisemitism and Islamophobia. And at Political Research Associates we have a project now studying how Islamophobia and anti antisemitism interact in our society and sort of feed on each other in a kind of heightened form of rhetoric and demonization. And so yes, it’s true, for both Muslims and Jews in the United States right now, that they are more at risk than they have been in certain periods of U.S. history for being lumped separately in kind of model of conspiracy allegation and for Jews it’s, they ‘run the U.S. foreign policy’, the ‘Mossad is basically behind everything that’s bad in the United States.’ And all of these conflations where its very difficult to have a very serious critique of the wrong doing of the government of Israel without having someone then trying to expand that into an antisemitic stereo type. So people who are critics of Israel need to be very very careful that they don’t allow that criticism to leap over into historic anti Jewish conspiracy theories. And at the same time the government of the United States, and let’s talk about Mr. Lieberman in Congress with his hearings that is a parade of Islamophobic so-called ‘experts’ and government studies that stereotype Muslims and the kinds of attitudes towards not just Muslims but Arabs as well who are conflated with Muslims in another form of stereotyping that we see our own foreign policy expert arena split between people who talk about late Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations versus people who say, let’s have a foreign policy that looks at Israel, that looks at the Muslim countries in the Middle East and the Arab countries in the Middle East from a sane and calm perspective and reach out to them in a way that builds common ground again, a common ground built around common purpose that could build stability in that region.
So you can look at these government collections of data where you will see antisemitism and Islamophobia going up and down over time. I think right now, even though some statistical work shows some variation in this, that we are in a period when antisemitic stereo typing and anti Muslim and Islamophobia stereotyping, and even anti Arab prejudice thrown in, is a problem that we all need to be sensitive about.
Dori Smith: Chip Berlet is a leading expert on the right and co–author of, ‘Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort’. He is also editor of the book, ‘Eyes Right! Challenging the Right Wing Backlash’. Both received a Gustavus Meyers Center Award for outstanding scholarship on the subject of human rights and bigotry in North America. You can read an archive of his articles from the Progressive Magazine and other publications online at www.publiceye.org.
Ongoing Story: There have been a total of three arrests in Connecticut on charges related to threatening politicians. Dominic Vita, the former vice president of Connecticut’s chapter of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, was arrested on charges relating to an email he sent in which he threatened State Senator Toni Boucher, a Republican from the 26th District. Vita has since apologized for the letter, but the group has lost it’s national affiliation with NORML over this incident. Vita said he made an error as he sent an email, that the letter about Boucher was actually written in jest. Connecticut teacher, Timothy Kane, was arrested and he has now apologized for threatening lawmakers, he completed an anger management course. Kane’s threats were erily similar to those of the third man arrested on Connecticut charges, Harold “Hal” Turner of North Bergen, New Jersey, apparently urged listeners and readers of his blog to take up arms against Representative Mike Lawlor and Senator Andrew McDonald. (Hal Turner’s lawyer, has said his case is about free speech. Connecticut’s Capital police chief Michael J. Fallon said quote: “Mr. Turner’s comments are above and beyond the threshold of free speech,” Capitol Police Chief Michael J. Fallon said in an e-mail announcing the warrant. “He is inciting others through his website to commit acts of violence and has created fear and alarm. He should be held accountable for his conduct.”)
See, Max at The Daily Beast
You can find Max Blumenthal’s articles here, here and here and you can also find his work on politics, the media, and the evangelical right wing at Huffington Post, The Nation, where he is a Puffin Foundation writing fellow at the Nation Institute based in New York City. He was also a Media Matters research fellow.
Max Blumenthal joins us next to talk about Hal Turner. He is an award winning journalist and author of a forthcoming book on the Republicans titled: “Republican Gomorrah,” His articles and video documentaries appear in The Daily Beast, The Nation, The Huffington Post, Salon.com, Al Jazeera English and many other publications.
In his June 3, 2003 story in The Nation Magazine, Blumenthal described Turner as Sean Hannity’s “Soul-Mate of Hate”. Hannity is a right wing pundit for Fox Network. He begins this story: ‘This year a man named Hal Turner sat before his computer at his suburban home in North Bergen, New Jersey, posting bomb-making tips on his website, hailing the firebombing of an apartment containing “Savage Negroes” and calling for the murder of immigrants. “When enough illegal aliens get killed they will stop coming to the country!” Turner wrote’. –Max Blumenthal, just give us an overview of this 2005 story:
Max Blumenthal: Well the reason that I did the piece was that I thought it was important to recognize that one of the major voices of the Republican Party’s propaganda machine, Sean Hannity, who is a top rated broadcaster for FOX News, FOX radio, used Hal Turner who would call in as ‘Hal from North Bergen’. And he would use Hal Turner as a cudgel against Black people, use him to attack minorities and mock them, and not only that, they had a close friendship off air. To the extent that Sean Hannity allegedly counseled Hal Turner on overcoming his cocaine addiction and homosexual tendencies during a private phone call.
He brought Hal Turner and his family back stage to Hannity and Coles when the show first started. Then, when Hal Turner became a liability and became openly Neo-Nazi and began affiliating with the violent thug element of the Neo-Nazi fringe, only then would Sean Hannity cut him off. Before then Hal Turner was a pal of Sean Hannity’s. It was only a short distance between the language that Sean Hannity has used and the language that Hal Turner uses. Sean Hannity;s hostility to minorities is couched behind Republican code words. The language Hal Turner uses is naked racism. That’s the principle difference between these two former friends.
Dori Smith: But you write in your story that there was another reason Sean Hannity dumped Hal Turner. That had to do with a political race that Hal Turner was entered in in Hudson County right?
Max Blumenthal: That was the point when Hal Turner said he became radicalized, when the Republican Party, he was running for a house seat in the district around Bergen County. And the Republicans said it’s a diverse district, you can’t really win a race against a Democrat there if you were running a hard right Republican position, so the Republican Party threw its support behind a dark skinned Latina woman. Hal Turner blamed this, what he considered ‘racism’ for the destruction of his political ambition and then he shifted to the Neo-Nazi right, when he was once a low level Republican official in Bergen County and an active member of Sean Hannity’s radio community.
Dori Smith: This man Hal Turner has been as you know arrested on charges of inciting violence, threatening representatives in Connecticut’s legislature and members of the court here. What do you make of those charges. I know there have been comments on various web sites, the Southern Poverty Law Center, about Hal Turner working as an informant for the F.B.I, as well. Can you just sort of explain the inconsistencies in this man’s credentials and history?
Max Blumenthal: Well Hal Turner has called for my assassination so I’m sure that the, I wouldn’t doubt that the charges are true. He probably called for my death I think several times. That’s the way he talks. And he may well be an agent provocateur of the F.B.I. and there is evidence that Southern Poverty Law Center produced, I think it actually came from some blogger who, no it actually, these allegations were brought to light by several Neo-Nazis who discovered that Hal Turner was forwarding messages to F.B.I. agents and they actually produced the messages; and that he turned in someone who seemed to have a serious plot to murder the Senator from Wisconsin, the Democratic Senator Russ Feingold, which indicates that Hal Turner is an agent provocateur. Even if he is he is still inciting violence against people and he is still making life difficult for people, inciting violent Neo-Nazi elements which have killed before to murder people, and he is releasing home addresses of lawmakers and judges and he is releasing phone numbers.
So let’s say someone does get killed and Hal Turner is an agent provocateur of the F.B.I.? What is the difference? The only difference is that the F.B.I. has to take responsibility for its role in inciting this violence and working with someone as dangerous as Hal Turner. And they have constantly worked with people like that in the past. They did it through COINTELPRO against the left during the 1960′s and early 1970′s. So I don’t doubt that this is happening but it’s still a huge problem.
Beyond that the F.B.I., there should be freedom of information requests so that the F.B.I. releases all of its files on Hal Turner if he is going to be put on trial. That all needs to come to light, and if they have a greater role than we know its a major scandal and people should be, there should be Congressional Hearings on what the F.B.I. has been doing because if they were involved with Hal Turner they were a catalyst for the threats against all of these lawmakers.
Dori Smith: Hal Turner also apparently endorsing the recent murder of Dr. George Tiller.
Max Blumenthal. Oh. You expect Hal Turner to endorse this. You know what’s interesting is the lack of denunciation from the official big fish of the Christian right. Or from the rhetoric of Operation Rescue Founder Randall Terry who I interviewed the other day who said, we shouldn’t blame Scott Roeder, (the man accused of killing Dr. Tiller in Kansas over his work doing late term abortions who was found to have relied on Operation Rescue to keep track of Dr. Tiller) or we shouldn’t blame Operation Rescue for this killing, we should blame Moses because Moses said, ‘Thou shalt not kill’ and George Tiller was a mass murder therefore he deserved what he got. –That’s what Randall Terry said.
At the same time he refuses to take any responsibility for the death. But if he is saying one abortion doctor deserves what he gets then you know this next abortion doctor who his Operation Rescue cadres are targeting will also deserve what he gets. Therefore, Randall Terry, who is doing press conferences at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., who is on the phone with reporters like me all the time, is inciting the assassination of health care professionals. And he has been responsible at least indirectly in the past for assassination.
James Kopp who worked out of Randall Terry’s Binghamton New York office was the assassin of Barnett Slepian. You know who were the guys who were in Barnett Slepian’s front yard? Barnett Slepian was a Buffalo based abortion provider. They were Rob and Paul Schenck, they were heads of Operation Rescue, and they went around with Randall Terry. They were detained at one point with Randall Terry for dangling aborted fetuses in Bill Clinton’s face at the Democratic National Convention. I mean these are sick characters.
Right now Rob Schenck and Paul Schenck are ministering to Republican congressmen in the Capital. They have an office set up across from the Supreme Court and Republican staffers go and pray in the offices every day, I’ve visited there and I know Rob Schenck. And they gave a special security clearance, a week before Barack Obama’s inauguration through a Congressman named Paul Brown, to anoint the door to the inaugural walkway that Barack Obama would walk through.
So these people, you know the Christian right isn’t dead. These people who have been intimately connected to the assassination of health care providers are getting special security clearance in the Capital and maintain intimate connections to Republican members of Congress. And it reflects a greater trend which is that the Republican party is more dominated by these elements than it ever has before, all of the moderate forces that served as a check on these elements are gone.
They have all been voted out or moved to the Democratic Party.
What you are seeing now is not just, you know Hal Turner or Randall Terry, are not just some fringe extremists, you are seeing the forces that have driven the Republican Party to the far right, marginalized it, but maintain a degree of influence that is genuinely dangerous.
Dori Smith: We are speaking with award winning journalist Max Blumenthal, you can find his articles and videos at www.maxblumenthal.com and you can also find his work on politics, the media, and the evangelical right wing at Huffington Post, The Nation, as well as Media Matters where he was a research fellow. — Max Blumenthal what about the defense Hal Turner’s lawyer is making in Connecticut? Claiming Turner is merely exercising his right to free speech?
Max Blumenthal: Yeah I’m not a legal expert and I hope the United States remains the freest country in the world. I’m not in favor of regulating speech as they do in Europe. I don’t think Hal Turner’s speech threatens our Democracy. But when you start publishing addresses of lawmakers and calling for their assassination you should at least be investigated and again there needs to be an investigation into what the role of the F.B.I. is in this as well.
We are going to see these sort of campaigns of incitement and murder as a result, we are going to see that intensify in the coming years, because the Republicans are out of power and the far right no longer has any means of exerting its influence on government. So the only way, one of the means of acting, and venting their frustrations, is through domestic terrorism. We saw it in the 1990s. And we are going to see it more and more. And friends of mine like Dave Neiwart, the blogger Orcinus who is an expert on domestic terrorism. He was mocked by Andrew Sullivan for making this prediction one day before George Tiller’s murder. And so I think there is going to be a lot of back peddling from people who say this is just paranoia.
So there has to be some sort of legal means of preventing this. That’s why during the 1990s the Justice Department did the RICO Act to prevent Randall Terry and other people from getting close to critics and abortion doctor’s houses. They used the same method they used against the Mafia against domestic terrorist linked anti abortion groups, and it worked. There has to be some legal measure. But I don’t think regulating speech is the answer and I don’t think what happened with Hal Turner is just a speech issue.
Dori Smith: It was reported on Democracy Now that staff at a clinic alerted the authorities that Scott Roeder tried to super glue their clinic doors shut twice over two weeks prior to the killing of Dr. Tiller. He could have been in federal custody long before the shooting. (See interview with JEFFREY PEDERSON, DN, June 3, 2009.)
Max Blumenthal: Absolutely. I don’t see why people who are implementing these tactics aren’t being monitored more closely except that the Justice Department under Bush redirected its focus to environmental extremists like the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front, and the F.B.I. and Department of Homeland Security identified these groups, which only destroy property, and don’t actually attack people, as their primary domestic terrorist threat and stopped monitoring anti abortion groups.
You know John Ashcroft was a close friend of the guy I named before, Rob Schenck, who camped out on the assassinated abortion doctor, Barnett Slepian’s lawn, who actually prayed with Rob Schenck and sang gospel music at his home with Rob Schenck, was the Attorney General for something like four years. So there was a roll back in attempts to limit the threat of anti abortion extremists. I don’t know what is going on at the Justice Department now but hopefully there will be more attention. (See Max Blumenthal’s story ‘God’s’ Country.)
The tactics that Scott Roeder was using before he killed George Tiller, are detailed and advised in a manual that’s distributed by the Army of God. Every anti abortion terrorist has been affiliated with the Army of God which is, they organize according to the model of the leaderless resistance. Which means this manual just goes around but its not distributed officially by any organization. And this manual is the only link to the organization. (See story by Blumenthal.)
The manual advises all kinds of tactics from property destruction to harassment to assassination and means of assembling explosives. It’s still going around, it’s still out there and it’s online at the Army of God’s web site. That needs to be recognized too. That there is a, I hate to use the word conspiracy, but there are people who are conspiring to do violence against abortion doctors but they do so through very covert means. So they are hard to identify except by their tactics.
Dori Smith: Max Blumenthal I know right now you are very jet lagged from your trip to Israel. You have just returned. I hope you will join us to talk about that trip and also about your forthcoming book, Republican Gomorrah. What is it about? (Nation Books, Republican Gomorrah.)
Max Blumenthal: My book which is coming out late this summer chronicles how the Christian right took over the Republican Party and eventually drove it to the margins and shattered the party. It’s called Republican Gomorrah, inside the movement that shattered the party. And I also tell my story of covering this movement for five years.
Dori Smith: Max Blumenthal thank you so much for joining us.
Max Blumenthal: Thank you so much for having me.
Max Blumenthal’s web site is www.maxblumenthal.com and he has agreed to join us again to talk about his trip to Israel and Gaza.
We taped our interview with Max Blumenthal at 1 PM June 10, 2009. Even as we were talking on the phone, news was breaking about a 12:50 p.m. shooting at the Holocaust Museum at the nation’s capital. We would later learn that a white supremacist named James W. von Brunn, age 88, shot and killed security guard Stephen Tyrone Johns, age 39, an African-American. Johns had been at the museum for six years, and according to AP he was from Temple Hills, Maryland. The Holocaust Museum’s Director, Sara Bloomfield, said Johns “died heroically in the line of duty.” –von Brunn was also shot and is listed in critical condition at an area hospital.
President Barack Obama has issued a statement saying quote: ‘I am shocked and saddened by today’s shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. This outrageous act reminds us that we must remain vigilant against antisemitism and prejudice in all its forms. No American institution is more important to this effort than the Holocaust Museum, and no act of violence will diminish our determination to honor those who were lost by building a more peaceful and tolerant world’.
We will be producing several radio specials this week about a call to impeach torture lawyers, our interview with philosophy professor and US Military Veteran for Peace Camilo Mac Bica, how the Afghan War will become Obama’s Vietnam, Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell’s veto of an act that would have abolished the death penalty, and more, and you can find links to these and other programs at our web site
For Talk Nation Radio I’m Dori Smith. The show is taped at Talk Nation Radio studios in Storrs, Connecticut. firstname.lastname@example.org with your comments.
Our music is by Fritz Heede. www.fritzheede.com
Notes to this interview:
Orcinus, David Niewart’s blog and do see his book, ‘The Eliminationists, how hate talk radicalized the American right’.
The media has been all over the map on this story. FOX Network hosts the majority of the country’s top right wing broadcasters so it was interesting to see how they covered this story. Here is one piece from the day after the shooting: In a piece on the Political web site of FOX, Judson Berger put this paragraph at the top of the page: ‘The Web has over the past decade grown as a forum for hate groups and twisted individuals whose views would leave them otherwise isolated. But Wednesday’s shooting at the Holocaust Museum demonstrates how difficult it is to flag those individuals who are at the breaking point — when words become actions.’
The story also contains this interesting quote from ‘anonymous’ F.B.I. officials: “Two FBI officials, who spoke with FOXNews.com on condition on anonymity, said law enforcement have to handle suspect individuals on a “case-by-case basis,” and although the Internet provides useful information, they are limited to investigating criminal activity — in other words, a specific threat to kill or harm someone.”
Soon FOX’s Glenn Beck was spinning the von Brunn story. Apparently, conservatives hope to put a little distance between themselves and von Brunn. Beck’s coverage indicates he was a leftist’. —’Several conservatives in the media have suggested that the alleged Holocaust museum shooter, reportedly a neo-Nazi, was a leftist.’
White separatist says von Brunn gave away computer
The Associated Press
BALTIMORE – A white separatist who talked with James W. von Brunn a few weeks ago says his e-mails became increasingly violent, but then the accused shooter suddenly gave away his computer.
John de Nugent, who lives near Pittsburgh, said Wednesday night that von Brunn was unhappy with his living arrangements and said his Social Security had been slashed, which he believed was in direct retaliation for his views.
Times Online re shooting here.
“James W von Brunn, who was convicted in 1983 for running towards the boardroom of Washington’s Federal Reserve building with a shotgun, entered the Holocaust Museum just before 1pm wearing a Confederate hat, and opened fire “indiscriminately” with a long rifle. Witnesses said that he had parked his red car directly outside, displaying a disabled badge.
A guard, named as Stephen Tyrone Johns, was hit and later died of his injuries. Two other security officers at the heavily guarded museum, less than a mile from the White House, hit von Brunn in the head with return fire. He was taken to George Washington University Hospital in a critical condition. Officials said he may not survive. ”
See USA Today on shooting at the Holocaust Museum
Huffpo by Sam Stein on von Brunn as member of ‘birther’ movement, questioning Obama’s birth.
AP, Yahoo, Shooter’s seething anger, ‘A frustrated artist and an angry man, the suspect in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum shooting once tried to kidnap members of the Federal Reserve board, a “caper” thwarted when a guard captured him outside a board meeting carrying a bag stuffed with weapons.’
…’Von Brunn was sentenced in 1983 to more than four years in prison for attempted armed kidnapping and other charges in his Fed assault. He was released in 1989.’