Archive for the ‘Mark Potok’ Category

Groups: Fla. shooting stirs extremists

The New Black Panther party has offered a $10,000 bounty for George Zimmerman’s capture.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

(CNN) — The national conversation over Trayvon Martin’s killing is loud and intense. In some places, it’s also vile and violent.

The case — in which a Hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer killed the unarmed black teen in Sanford, Florida, on February 26 — has sparked a national controversy. It has also stoked extremist views, particularly on the Internet, experts say.

George Zimmerman said he shot Martin in self-defense after the teen attacked him. Martin’s family has disputed that.

Investigators have not charged Zimmerman.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, the civil rights group that fights bigotry, saidthe case has stirred up “extremists on both sides of the racial divide.”

A visitor to the website of one white supremacist group, for example, left a comment calling Martin “a punk negroe who messed with the wrong guy.”

Meanwhile, the New Black Panther Party has offered a $10,000 reward for anyone who “captures” Zimmerman, an offer that Martin’s family has condemned.

The Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights, which fights bigotry, said that “white nationalists are trying to inject their poison” into the case, too, portraying the teen as a “scary black man who deserved what he got.”

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Groups: Fla. shooting stirs extremists

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April 1, 2012   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed

"If y'all come to get me, bring body bags"

By Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY

TRINIDAD, Texas – Gary Thomas will never forget the letter he received in early 2000. It was from John Joe Gray, a suspect in a felony assault case, offering a not-so-subtle warning to the area’s chief criminal investigator: He had no intention of answering charges that he had attacked a state trooper.

“What he said was this: ‘If y’all come to get me, bring body bags,’ ” said Thomas, now a local justice of the peace.

Thomas remembers the message clearly, not because of its unvarnished threat, but because – after 12 years – Gray, who doesn’t acknowledge the authority of any government, continues to dare police to come and get him.

Sequestered on a 50-acre, wooded compound in East Texas since jumping bail more than a decade ago, Gray and his clan have effectively outlasted the administrations of four local sheriffs, all of whom have decided that John Joe’s arrest is not worth the risk of a violent confrontation.

“The risk of loss of life on both ends is far too great,” said Anderson County District Attorney Doug Lowe, who first sought to prosecute Gray for the alleged Christmas Eve 1999 assault of Texas Trooper Jim Cleland. “I believed it then; I still feel that way.”

The stalemate, perhaps the longest-running standoff in the U.S. between law enforcement and a fugitive living in plain sight, is also emblematic of what the FBI believes is a troubling re-emergence of an anti-government movement that vaulted to notoriety in 1995. Then, one of its disaffected sympathizers, Timothy McVeigh- angered by the government’s botched 1993 raid of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas – detonated a truck bomb outside the Oklahoma City federal building, killing 168 people in what was at the time the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

In the past three years, there has been growing concern over activities of so-called “sovereign citizens,” who like the Grays and many of their anti-government predecessors “claim to exist beyond the realm of government authority,” according to a January FBI bulletin to state and local law enforcement officials warning of the potential for violence.

The sovereign movement, estimated by the Southern Poverty Law Center to number 100,000 ardent followers and about 200,000 sympathizers across the country, is rooted in an ideology that rejects government authority at its most basic levels, from its power to tax to the enforcement of criminal laws, including common traffic regulations. The law center, which tracks extremist groups in the USA, based its estimates partly on its reviews of tax disputes and court documents involving people who do not recognize government authority.

Although the FBI does not track sovereigns by number, the bureau does not dispute the law center’s estimates, which have swelled dramatically within a national anti-government network of related “patriot” and “militia” groups. Since 2008, the number of groups surged from 149 to 1,274 in 2011, the law center reported this month.

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"If y'all come to get me, bring body bags"

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March 31, 2012   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed

Trayvon Martin case stirs extremists, groups say

The New Black Panther party has offered a $10,000 bounty for George Zimmerman’s capture.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

(CNN) — The national conversation over Trayvon Martin’s killing is loud and intense. In some places, it’s also vile and violent.

The case — in which a Hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer killed the unarmed black teen in Sanford, Florida, on February 26 — has sparked a national controversy. It has also stoked extremist views, particularly on the Internet, experts say.

George Zimmerman said he shot Martin in self-defense after the teen attacked him. Martin’s family has disputed that.

Investigators have not charged Zimmerman.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, the civil rights group that fights bigotry, saidthe case has stirred up “extremists on both sides of the racial divide.”

A visitor to the website of one white supremacist group, for example, left a comment calling Martin “a punk negroe who messed with the wrong guy.”

Meanwhile, the New Black Panther Party has offered a $10,000 reward for anyone who “captures” Zimmerman, an offer that Martin’s family has condemned.

The Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights, which fights bigotry, said that “white nationalists are trying to inject their poison” into the case, too, portraying the teen as a “scary black man who deserved what he got.”

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Trayvon Martin case stirs extremists, groups say

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March 31, 2012   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed

Case stirs extremists, groups say

The New Black Panther party has offered a $10,000 bounty for George Zimmerman’s capture.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

(CNN) — The national conversation over Trayvon Martin’s killing is loud and intense. In some places, it’s also vile and violent.

The case — in which a Hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer killed the unarmed black teen in Sanford, Florida, on February 26 — has sparked a national controversy. It has also stoked extremist views, particularly on the Internet, experts say.

George Zimmerman said he shot Martin in self-defense after the teen attacked him. Martin’s family has disputed that.

Investigators have not charged Zimmerman.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, the civil rights group that fights bigotry, saidthe case has stirred up “extremists on both sides of the racial divide.”

A visitor to the website of one white supremacist group, for example, left a comment calling Martin “a punk negroe who messed with the wrong guy.”

Meanwhile, the New Black Panther Party has offered a $10,000 reward for anyone who “captures” Zimmerman, an offer that Martin’s family has condemned.

The Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights, which fights bigotry, said that “white nationalists are trying to inject their poison” into the case, too, portraying the teen as a “scary black man who deserved what he got.”

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Case stirs extremists, groups say

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March 31, 2012   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed

Hometownstations.com-WLIO- Lima, OH News Weather SportsRipples likely from militia case loss, experts say

By ED WHITE Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) – The stunning acquittal of seven Michigan militia members charged with conspiring to go to war against the government could make federal agents reluctant to pursue certain investigations at a time when the number of so-called patriot groups is increasing nationwide, experts said Wednesday.

The FBI ran an 18-month probe of the Hutaree militia, placed an informant and undercover agent inside the group and emerged with major charges of conspiring to rebel against the government and use weapons of mass destruction.

After six weeks of trial, however, a judge this week said the case didn’t even deserve to go to the jury and declared all seven not guilty.

“It’s an embarrassment to the government to lose this case,” said Mark Potok, who tracks extremist groups at the Southern Poverty Law Center, a noted civil rights organization in Montgomery, Ala. “I very much worry this could discourage officials from moving forward on the most open-and-shut cases in the future. I’m not trying to criticize the judge at all, but it might have ramifications.”

Potok said most members of militias never will commit a crime but the “militia movement has produced an enormous level of criminal violence.” The law center counted more than 1,200 anti-government groups last year and lists them on its website. The FBI recently said it is focusing on “sovereign citizen” extremists who don’t recognize government authority.

For weeks, jurors in Detroit heard secretly recorded conversations between militia leader David Stone and an FBI informant and agent. He talked about killing police, building bombs and engaging an international coalition of freedom-hating law enforcers and foreign troops he called the “brotherhood.”

For two years, from the day Stone and others were swept up in a series of highly publicized raids mostly in southern Michigan, federal authorities said the Hutaree wanted to kill an officer, attack the funeral, cause chaos in the countryside and launch war against the government. But prosecutors this week acknowledged there was no specific plan – an admission that clearly irritated the judge.

“What the government has shown, instead of a concrete agreement and plan to forcibly oppose the authority of the government, is that most – if not all – of these defendants held strong anti-government sentiments,” Roberts said in a 28-page decision. “But the court must not guess about what defendants intended to do with their animosity.”

The judge called evidence “minuscule” and “woefully lacking” and said it would be “incredible” for her to infer militia members understood Stone’s desires and had struck some kind of agreement for war.

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Hometownstations.com-WLIO- Lima, OH News Weather SportsRipples likely from militia case loss, experts say

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March 29, 2012   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed

Could a Cleveland grave become neo-Nazi shrine?

If relatives of convicted Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk get what they want, their patriarch will be buried in suburban Cleveland a prospect not sitting well with Jewish advocates who argue the retired autoworker could, in death, become a magnet for neo-Nazis.

Demjanjuk died Saturday in Germany at age 91, and his family in Seven Hills, Ohio, wants to return his body for burial. Even though his U.S. citizenship had been revoked and he was deported, there is no prohibition against returning the body to this country, the U.S. attorney’s office in Cleveland said.

A Demjanjuk funeral in his adopted hometown would turn into a spectacle, said Efraim Zuroff, who leads the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem.

“I have no doubt that a funeral in Seven Hills would turn into a demonstration of solidarity and support for Demjanjuk, who’s the last person on earth who deserves any sympathy, frankly,” Zuroff said in a telephone interview.

Demjanjuk had guarded his privacy carefully, posting a “no trespassing” sign outside his house and turning aside interview requests over the decades.

His attorney appealed Monday to German authorities to arrange for his body to be sent home to Ohio, and son John Demjanjuk Jr. confirmed that, but there was no word on any arrangements or whether a funeral might be done in secret.

The Ukraine-born Demjanjuk was a retired U.S. autoworker who maintained over three decades of legal battles that he had been mistaken for someone else.

He came to the U.S. on Feb. 9, 1952, claiming to have spent much of World War II in a German prisoner of war camp. He eventually settled in the middle-class Cleveland suburb of Seven Hills and worked as a mechanic at Ford Motor Co.’s engine plant in nearby Brook Park.

That idyll ended in 1977, when the Justice Department alleged that he had hid his past as the feared Treblinka death camp guard “Ivan the Terrible” and revoked his citizenship. The Israeli Supreme Court returned him to the U.S. after it received evidence that another Ukrainian, not Demjanjuk, was Ivan the Terrible.

Eventually, after many legal twists and turns, Demjanjuk was convicted in May of 28,060 counts of being an accessory to murder at the Sobibor death camp in occupied Poland and sentenced to five years in prison. He died in a nursing home while awaiting appeal.

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Could a Cleveland grave become neo-Nazi shrine?

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March 20, 2012   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed

U.S. Demjanjuk grave neo-Nazi shrine?

CLEVELAND – If relatives of convicted Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk get what they want, their patriarch will be buried in suburban Cleveland — a prospect not sitting well with Jewish advocates who argue the retired autoworker could, in death, become a magnet for neo-Nazis.

Demjanjuk died Saturday in Germany at age 91, and his family in Seven Hills, Ohio, wants to return his body for burial. Even though his U.S. citizenship had been revoked and he was deported, there is no prohibition against returning the body to this country, the U.S. attorney’s office in Cleveland said.

( See timeline of photos of life of John Demjanjuk )

A Demjanjuk funeral in his adopted hometown would turn into a spectacle, said Efraim Zuroff, who leads the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem.

“I have no doubt that a funeral in Seven Hills would turn into a demonstration of solidarity and support for Demjanjuk, who’s the last person on earth who deserves any sympathy, frankly,” Zuroff said in a telephone interview.

Demjanjuk had guarded his privacy carefully, posting a “no trespassing” sign outside his house and turning aside interview requests over the decades.

His attorney appealed Monday to German authorities to arrange for his body to be sent home to Ohio, and son John Demjanjuk Jr. confirmed that, but there was no word on any arrangements or whether a funeral might be done in secret.

John Demjanjuk Jr. said in an email Tuesday that any suggestion of his father’s burial or gravesite turning into a spectacle was unwarranted.

“Over the past 35 plus years our family has had NO association with any part of the neo-Nazi groups, ever. We have condemned Nazi crimes as my father is himself a victim of the Nazis regardless of whose version of the case you believe,” he said.

The Ukraine-born Demjanjuk was a retired U.S. autoworker who maintained over three decades of legal battles that he had been mistaken for someone else.

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U.S. Demjanjuk grave neo-Nazi shrine?

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March 20, 2012   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed

Demjanjuk burial plans raise spectre of a neo-Nazi shrine

Date: Tuesday Mar. 20, 2012 1:19 PM ET

CLEVELAND If relatives of convicted Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk get what they want, their patriarch will be buried in the U.S. — a prospect not sitting well with Jewish advocates who argue the retired autoworker could, in death, become a magnet for neo-Nazis.

Demjanjuk died Saturday in Germany at age 91, and his family in Ohio wants to return his body for burial. Even though his U.S. citizenship had been revoked and he was deported, there is no prohibition against returning the body to this country, the U.S. attorney’s office in Cleveland said.

Munich state court spokeswoman Margarete Noetzel said Tuesday that under German law, because Demjanjuk died before his final appeal could be heard and because a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty, he is still technically presumed innocent.

But that doesn’t mean the conviction is somehow wiped from the record, she said. “The verdict exists. It is not voided. It was pronounced and based in fact.”

A Demjanjuk funeral in his adopted hometown would turn into a spectacle, said Efraim Zuroff, who leads the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem.

“I have no doubt that a funeral in Seven Hills would turn into a demonstration of solidarity and support for Demjanjuk, who’s the last person on earth who deserves any sympathy, frankly,” Zuroff said in a telephone interview.

Demjanjuk had guarded his privacy carefully, posting a “no trespassing” sign outside his house and turning aside interview requests over the decades.

His attorney appealed Monday to German authorities to arrange for his body to be sent home to Ohio, and son John Demjanjuk Jr. confirmed that, but there was no word on any arrangements or whether a funeral might be done in secret.

Demjanjuk Jr. said in an email Tuesday that any suggestion of his father’s burial or grave site turning into a spectacle was unwarranted.

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Demjanjuk burial plans raise spectre of a neo-Nazi shrine

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March 20, 2012   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed

Could a US Demjanjuk grave become neo-Nazi shrine?

CLEVELAND (AP) If relatives of convicted Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk get what they want, their patriarch will be buried in suburban Cleveland a prospect not sitting well with Jewish advocates who argue the retired autoworker could, in death, become a magnet for neo-Nazis.

Demjanjuk died Saturday in Germany at age 91, and his family in Seven Hills, Ohio, wants to return his body for burial. Even though his U.S. citizenship had been revoked and he was deported, there is no prohibition against returning the body to this country, the U.S. attorney’s office in Cleveland said.

A Demjanjuk funeral in his adopted hometown would turn into a spectacle, said Efraim Zuroff, who leads the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem.

“I have no doubt that a funeral in Seven Hills would turn into a demonstration of solidarity and support for Demjanjuk, who’s the last person on earth who deserves any sympathy, frankly,” Zuroff said in a telephone interview.

Demjanjuk had guarded his privacy carefully, posting a “no trespassing” sign outside his house and turning aside interview requests over the decades.

His attorney appealed Monday to German authorities to arrange for his body to be sent home to Ohio, and son John Demjanjuk Jr. confirmed that, but there was no word on any arrangements or whether a funeral might be done in secret.

The Ukraine-born Demjanjuk was a retired U.S. autoworker who maintained over three decades of legal battles that he had been mistaken for someone else.

He came to the U.S. on Feb. 9, 1952, claiming to have spent much of World War II in a German prisoner of war camp. He eventually settled in the middle-class Cleveland suburb of Seven Hills and worked as a mechanic at Ford Motor Co.’s engine plant in nearby Brook Park.

That idyll ended in 1977, when the Justice Department alleged that he had hid his past as the feared Treblinka death camp guard “Ivan the Terrible” and revoked his citizenship. The Israeli Supreme Court returned him to the U.S. after it received evidence that another Ukrainian, not Demjanjuk, was Ivan the Terrible.

Eventually, after many legal twists and turns, Demjanjuk was convicted in May of 28,060 counts of being an accessory to murder at the Sobibor death camp in occupied Poland and sentenced to five years in prison. He died in a nursing home while awaiting appeal.

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Could a US Demjanjuk grave become neo-Nazi shrine?

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March 20, 2012   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed

Groups: Fla. shooting stirs extremists

The New Black Panther party has offered a $10,000 bounty for George Zimmerman’s capture. STORY HIGHLIGHTS (CNN) — The national conversation over Trayvon Martin’s killing is loud and intense. In some places, it’s also vile and violent

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April 1, 2012   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed

"If y'all come to get me, bring body bags"

By Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY TRINIDAD, Texas – Gary Thomas will never forget the letter he received in early 2000. It was from John Joe Gray, a suspect in a felony assault case, offering a not-so-subtle warning to the area’s chief criminal investigator: He had no intention of answering charges that he had attacked a state trooper.

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March 31, 2012   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed

Trayvon Martin case stirs extremists, groups say

The New Black Panther party has offered a $10,000 bounty for George Zimmerman’s capture.

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March 31, 2012   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed

Case stirs extremists, groups say

The New Black Panther party has offered a $10,000 bounty for George Zimmerman’s capture. STORY HIGHLIGHTS (CNN) — The national conversation over Trayvon Martin’s killing is loud and intense. In some places, it’s also vile and violent.

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March 31, 2012   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed

Hometownstations.com-WLIO- Lima, OH News Weather SportsRipples likely from militia case loss, experts say

By ED WHITE Associated Press DETROIT (AP) – The stunning acquittal of seven Michigan militia members charged with conspiring to go to war against the government could make federal agents reluctant to pursue certain investigations at a time when the number of so-called patriot groups is increasing nationwide, experts said Wednesday. The FBI ran an 18-month probe of the Hutaree militia, placed an informant and undercover agent inside the group and emerged with major charges of conspiring to rebel against the government and use weapons of mass destruction. After six weeks of trial, however, a judge this week said the case didn’t even deserve to go to the jury and declared all seven not guilty.

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March 29, 2012   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed

Could a Cleveland grave become neo-Nazi shrine?

If relatives of convicted Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk get what they want, their patriarch will be buried in suburban Cleveland a prospect not sitting well with Jewish advocates who argue the retired autoworker could, in death, become a magnet for neo-Nazis.

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March 20, 2012   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed

U.S. Demjanjuk grave neo-Nazi shrine?

CLEVELAND – If relatives of convicted Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk get what they want, their patriarch will be buried in suburban Cleveland — a prospect not sitting well with Jewish advocates who argue the retired autoworker could, in death, become a magnet for neo-Nazis. Demjanjuk died Saturday in Germany at age 91, and his family in Seven Hills, Ohio, wants to return his body for burial

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March 20, 2012   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed

Demjanjuk burial plans raise spectre of a neo-Nazi shrine

Date: Tuesday Mar. 20, 2012 1:19 PM ET CLEVELAND If relatives of convicted Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk get what they want, their patriarch will be buried in the U.S.

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March 20, 2012   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed

Could a US Demjanjuk grave become neo-Nazi shrine?

CLEVELAND (AP) If relatives of convicted Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk get what they want, their patriarch will be buried in suburban Cleveland a prospect not sitting well with Jewish advocates who argue the retired autoworker could, in death, become a magnet for neo-Nazis. Demjanjuk died Saturday in Germany at age 91, and his family in Seven Hills, Ohio, wants to return his body for burial

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March 20, 2012   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed


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