Kansas City, Kansas -- The Aryan Nations - one of the most notorious neo-Nazi groups in the United States - is moving its national headquarters to Kansas City, Kan., causing alarm among civil rights groups.
The group's members, who believe that Jews are "the children of Satan" and African-Americans are "beasts of the field," chose Kansas City, Kan., because of its central location, said "High Counsel" August B. Kreis III.
Kreis, who lives in Florida, said Wednesday that the Aryan Nations national director, Charles Juba, recently relocated to the Kansas City metropolitan area from Pennsylvania with the aim of enlisting new members.
It was unclear how significant the move is, because the group has never revealed how many members it has and it is in the process of rebuilding after its leader was bankrupted as the result of a lawsuit in 2000.
A spokesman for the FBI in Kansas City could not be reached for comment. But those who watch the radical right said Kansas City area residents should be concerned about such groups.
"I can say without equivocation that the (Aryan Nations) is the most violent wing of the white supremacist movement," said Leonard Zeskind, president of the Kansas City-based Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, and a board member of the Jewish Community Relations Bureau. "He (Juba) has vowed to rebuild the organization ..."
Devin Burghart, of the Center for New Community, a Chicago-based group that monitors the right-wing movement, said he found the move to Kansas City unsettling.
"The presence of groups like this is always something to be concerned about, especially given the Aryan Nations' track record of violence," Burghart said.
Juba could not be reached for comment. Kreis, however, didn't dispute that members of his group have been connected to violent incidents.
"But it's the same thing with any organization," Kreis said. "There's going to be good and bad people in all organizations."
White supremacist groups again are in the national spotlight following the murders this week of the husband and mother of a federal judge in Chicago.
Authorities were investigating whether Monday's shooting deaths were carried out by hate groups linked to white supremacist Matt Hale. Hale, leader of World Church of the Creator, is facing up to 40 years in prison for trying to arrange the murder of the judge, Joan Humphrey Lefkow, who presided over a case involving the group.
When asked about the murders, Kreis said his group wasn't involved, but added: "We love it!"
Among the incidents involving people with ties to the Aryan Nations:
Buford O'Neal Furrow Jr., shot a mail carrier to death in 1999 after wounding five persons at a Jewish community center in Granada Hills, Calif. He was a former security guard at the Aryan Nations headquarters in Idaho.
Aryan Nations chaplain James Wickstrom is a Christian Identity minister from Michigan and a leader of the anti-government group, Posse Comitatus. Wickstrom spent time in prison for counterfeiting.
Robert Mathews, who died in a 1984 shootout with federal agents in Washington, recruited Aryan Nations members for his group called The Order. Order members killed Jewish radio host Alan Berg in Denver in 1984, and Missouri Highway Patrol trooper Jimmy Linegar in 1985.
Aryan Nations members were sued in 1999 by a mother and her son who alleged they were shot at by the group's security guards. As a result, the group lost a $6.3 million judgment in 2000, forcing the group to close its Idaho compound.
In a letter to followers dated January 2005 and posted on its Web site, Juba announced the group's move and directed supporters to send mail to a Kansas City, Kan., post office box.
"This move is intended to further advance our goals of an Aryan Homeland in the North American Continent," Juba wrote. "Three years ago with the assistance of our High Council, we centralized authority on an organization level, eliminating the need for public display of officers at a state-by-state, country-by-country level. With this move, we have completed this format by centralizing the physical authority, thus making our membership more accessible in all points of travel."
Juba said the goal was to open up either a storefront or an office in the Midwest before the end of 2005.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Juba started out in the white supremacist movement as a teenager, when he joined the Invisible Empire Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. At age 21, the center said, Juba became grand dragon of the International Keystone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania.
In early 2002, after the Aryan Nations lost its compound in Idaho as the result of the lawsuit, Juba joined with Kreis and another man to replace leader Richard Butler, who was ailing. The group splintered and, after Butler's death in 2004, Kreis took over the group he called the "true Aryan Nations."
Another faction calling itself the real Aryan Nations moved to Alabama last year.
An Aug. 8, 2002, article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review mentioned Juba's plans to build a new headquarters on a 10-acre farm in northern Pennsylvania. The article quoted a man who said he had infiltrated the group and that members held meetings with members of the World Church of the Creator.
Kreis acknowledged that the Aryan Nations "will work with any pro-white group," but wouldn't discuss how many people belong to his group.
"But I'll tell you what," he said. "We're doing very well. I'm not talking about financially. But if you're talking about bringing the message to the people, we're doing a good job of it."