Aryan Leader Says L.A. Shootings Part Of Race War

Reuters/August 20, 1999
By Martin Wolk

Seattle -- The leader of the Aryan Nations said Friday he believed last week's shootings at a Los Angeles Jewish community center, allegedly by a member of his neo-Nazi group, were understandable in the context of what he called a "war against the white race."

Richard Butler, in a telephone interview with Reuters, described indicted shooting suspect Buford Furrow Jr. as a "good soldier" in his Idaho-based organization. Butler, however, said he had not seen or heard from the former aerospace engineer since 1994 or 1995.

"He was a good soldier at that time," Butler said. "I guess he just went off his rocker. That's all I know. I'm not a psychiatrist."

Butler, 81, founded the Aryan Nations in the mid-1970s when he moved his Church of Jesus Christ Christian from California to northern Idaho, which he imagined would be the capital of a future all-white nation carved out of the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

The group has been described as combining neo-Nazism, including a hatred of Jews, with a white supremacist brand of biblical fundamentalism called Christian Identity.

Furrow, 37, an avowed racist, is charged with murder in the death of Philippines-born postman Joseph Ileto, 39, as well as five counts of attempted murder for wounding three boys, a 16-year-old girl and a 68-year-old woman in the Aug. 10 attack on the North Valley Jewish Community Center.

Prosecutors say Furrow has told investigators that he considered Ileto a "good target of opportunity" to kill because he was a nonwhite and worked for the federal government.

Butler said he would neither condemn nor condone the Los Angeles shootings, but said the attacks should be seen in the context of a broader alleged race war.

"There is a war against the white race," Butler said from his compound in Hayden Lake, Idaho. Butler described a graphic litany of what he described as rapes, tortures and killings of white children by Jews, blacks and others.

"This goes on all the time," he said. "I don't know whether this affected Furrow or not." Butler said the race war would continue until there was complete separation of whites, blacks and other races.

"God never intended for them to be together, and they should be all separated as they were in the beginning," he said. "Africa for Africans, Asia for Asians, Europe for Europeans and America for Europeans."

This week, Butler canceled a planned march and rally in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, that was scheduled for Labor Day weekend amid speculation he was trying to distance himself and the group from the Los Angeles shootings.

He told Reuters that the group, which has marched through the northern Idaho resort town twice in the past several months, still planned to hold a third march this year once the current controversy subsides.

Butler and his group are facing a civil lawsuit over a 1998 assault and face the possibility of more litigation stemming from the Los Angeles attacks. Butler said he had nothing to do with Furrow or with the Aryan Nations security guards who chased and attacked passing motorists in the 1998 incident.

One guard was sentenced to up to five years in prison in the case and two others fled Idaho before they could be prosecuted. The civil lawsuit, brought by the anti-racist Southern Poverty Law Center, is expected to come to trial late this year or early next year, said Norm Gissell, an Idaho attorney working on the case.



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