Extremist Chatter Praises Eric Rudolph as 'Hero.'
New York, NY, June 3, 2003 … In the days since the arrest of domestic terrorist Eric Robert Rudolph in connection with a series of deadly bombing attacks, including the 1996 bombing at the Olympic Games, extremist chatter on the Internet has praised Rudolph as "a hero" and some followers of hate groups are calling for further acts of violence to be modeled after the bombings he is accused of committing.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which monitors extremism and reports its findings to law enforcement and the public, warned that the extremist chatter on Rudolph's arrest is "a dangerous mix" of twisted conspiracy theories about Jews and calls to violence.
"What some hatemongers and extremists are saying is, this person is a hero whose crusade against abortion and the government is noble and praiseworthy," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "What is even more troubling is that some of the chatter is calling for violence or lone-wolf acts to be carried out in Rudolph's name. Others are using the arrest as an excuse to spread twisted conspiracy theories about Jews. As we have seen in the past, this can be a dangerous mix."
Rudolph had connections from childhood to a number of anti-Semitic, racist and anti-government movements or groups, especially Christian Identity such as the North Carolina-based Northpoint Tactical Teams, founded by the now-deceased Nord Davis Jr., and the Missouri-based Church of Israel headed by Dan Gayman.
Following are some examples of extremist Internet chatter that has been generated by the arrest of Eric Rudolph. These were reactions posted on Internet bulletin boards, Web sites and e-mail lists from May 31 - June 3 (emphasis added):
Backgrounder: Eric Robert Rudolph
- A posting on the Web site of the Pennsylvania faction of Aryan Nations, the Christian Identity neo-Nazi group, lamented that Rudolph was captured and called him a hero: "Let his enemies gloat, for their days are numbered. There will always be another to fill the shoes of a fallen hero. The enemy has not won and will NEVER win…"
- A skinhead from Atlantic City lamented on a neo-Nazi message board that "another good solid white warrier becomes another prisoner of war! We need more lone wolves … WAY MORE!!!"
- On a White Revolution message board, "He rid this world of some degenerate scum in a couple of his bombings and made the government spend millions of dollars finding him. That is all that really matters to me…One day all the lies, deceit and the purposeful destruction of the White Race will come back at them ten fold." One Christian Identity adherent, however, was more pessimistic, at least in the short term, predicting Rudolph's capture signaled the beginning of a round of government persecution. However, he said, "Fire tempers steel. The rubber, as they say, is about to meet the road…Let the end games begin."
- A number of white supremacists were not so much concerned about Rudolph as about the attention that Rudolph's arrest was bringing to Christian Identity itself, especially by the "Jewish-controlled media." One post to a Christian Identity e-mail list claimed that "what we are currently witnessing in the controlled mass media is the demonization of anyone who dares to tell the truth about the fifth column government, the Zionist Lobby control of congress and the media, historical accuracy, the major and crucial differences between the races, including the Cainites, God's Law as contained in the Commandments, Statutes and Judgments, the federal reserve, 9-11 and anything else that is wrong with our Edomite [an Identity term for Jews] manipulated society…the message is clear. Shut up, or else!"
- A post to the message forum for the white supremacist site Stormfront had similar opinions: "Jews make sure that ONLY those who go against THEIR interests are called Terrorists. Do you actually believe that jews [sic] are fair and honest when they do this? Why could they not have called Eric Rudolph a Freedom Fighter? That at least would not have been a derogotary [sic] term and is closer to the truth, in my opinion, assuming he has done any wrong at all."
- A few people posting to extremist Internet message boards after news of Rudolph's arrest spread expressed hesitation at supporting him or even condemned the actions attributed to him. "Terrorism is simply not acceptable," said one poster to the Assault Web forum. However, others in the forum were of a different opinion. Referring to abortions, one poster wrote that "slaughter of the truly innocent demands a response" and if a response "causes 'terror' in those considering this evil act, I have no problem." The police officer killed in the Birmingham blast "earned his fate."
- Nonsupporters of Rudolph were quickly taken to task in other forums. One doubter asked readers of Stormfront's message board how they could claim "the jew media" was lying about white supremacists "when they call us terrorists," when all one has to do "is come to this thread and see how this man has somehow become worshipped?" Another reader immediately disagreed. "Erich [sic] Rudolph is definitely a hero," he wrote. "There is nothing wrong with violence." If there were "more Erich [sic] Rudolphs, Timothy McVeighs, Benjamin Smiths and Buford Furrows in America, we'd have a much nicer place to live." Smith and Buford are two white supremacists who went on deadly shooting sprees in the Midwest and California in the summer of 1999.
- The Web site of the Army of God, an extreme anti-abortion group, displayed a picture of Emily Lyons, a nurse severely injured in the Birmingham bombing, with the caption: "Babykilling Abortion Nurse Emily Lyons got a taste of her own medicine." "I have had Eric on my daily prayer list since that wondrous day in 1998 before a name was given to the bomber," wrote one supporter to the Army of God. "He will continue to stay there. I hope he escapes to defend children again." Another post said that what mattered was that he had "the lives of the innocent in mind." Referring to the nurse who was severely injured in the Birmingham blast, the poster, identifying herself only as "Deborah," asked: "How can she live with herself knowing that she helps to kill babies?...I am praying for Eric. They can't seek the death penalty against him, can they? Oh God in heaven, I hope not."
- Many of Rudolph's most devoted supporters have been extreme anti-abortion activists; they portray him as someone with the courage to stop what they consider to be mass murder. "Please pray for warrior Eric Rudolph," wrote one poster to the Usenet news group alt.religion.end-times.prophecies shortly after news of Rudolph's arrest was announced, "that our Savior will protect him from this evil government."
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.