According to a later memo from the Justice Department: “Thefts and counterfeiting have been discussed as ways to fund the movement. Bombings and assassinations have been discussed as a way to achieve desired goals.
Between 1983 and 1985, white supremacists were behind a nationwide criminal frenzy. CSA members bombed a gas pipeline in Arkansas, killed a pawnshop they mistakenly believed to be Jewish, and attempted to assassinate a federal judge and an FBI agent. Members of the Order, a secret offshoot of the Aryan nations of which Mr. Beam is believed to have been a part, have stolen a series of armored cars in Washington and California. In Denver, they shot a Jewish radio show host in his driveway.
As all of this was going on, online proselytizing escalated. Mr. Beam launched his Liberty Net online bulletin board system in 1984. Shortly before, George P. Dietz had launched the first white supremacist bulletin board system, which he called “the only one. computerized bulletin board system and uncontrolled information medium in the United States. States of America Dedicated to Disseminating Historical Facts – Not Fiction! Next, skinhead leader Tom Metzger started his own message board network, which quickly overtook Mr. Beam and Mr. Dietz’s sites in popularity. Before most American homes even had a computer, the white supremacist movement was very cyber-literate, skillfully using the first Internet to spread its message.
Mike German, a 16-year FBI veteran of domestic terrorism, said: “The first time I heard the word e-mail was from neo-Nazi skinheads.
In 1985, the Justice Department viewed the national network of white supremacists as a threat to national security. Federal prosecutors have decided to use the declaration of war at the World Congress of Aryan Nations as the basis for an ambitious and highly unusual charge: the seditious conspiracy. The United States Criminal Code defines crime as an act in which two or more people “conspire to overthrow, suppress, or forcibly destroy the United States government, or to wage war on them.” In a multi-state sweep, the FBI arrested Louis Beam and 13 other white supremacist leaders, and took them to Fort Smith, Ark. To be judged there.
Chaos gripped the normally quiet working-class town as the trial began in February 1988. The KKK held 15 rallies outside the Federal Courthouse, broadcasting “God Bless America” through loudspeakers. Anti-Klan protesters carried signs that read: “Evil cone heads, go.” The courthouse galleries were crowded, while snipers were positioned on the roof of the building. Steve Snyder, a deputy US attorney handling the case, recalled carrying a handgun in court in his briefcase every day.
Judge Morris Arnold, who now sits on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, presided over the case and carefully instructed the jury on the complex nature of the charges. According to Judge Arnold, he told them: “The fact that you may think it was impossible for the accused to overthrow the government is not a defense to the prosecution. What mattered, Justice Arnold said, was that the defendants believed they could overthrow the government and took steps to that end.