|Two with Ties to White Supremacy Suspected in Plot to Bomb Boston Sites|
Felton and Chase were arrested April 19, 2001 when the two fled from police after Chase allegedly attempted to pass off a counterfeit $20 bill at a donut shop in East Boston.
A subsequent investigation by law enforcement and a search of the couple’s apartment by federal officers reportedly revealed:
Investigators seized writings by Felton that allegedly suggest he contemplated gunning down blacks in New York City. It was alleged in the indictment that days before his arrest in April, Felton had purchased materials that could be used to construct bombs, including a 50-pound bag of ammonium nitrate and a coffee maker from which Felton had allegedly removed the heating and timing mechanisms. Felton reportedly ordered additional bomb components from a company in Arkansas.
Felton, the son of a white mother and a black father, from whom he is purportedly estranged, was released from a New Jersey State prison in January 2001 after serving 11 years for attempting to murder a black taxi driver in New York City with a crowbar. While serving his sentence, Felton tried to slit the throats of two black inmates. Felton, who is 6’7" and 225 pounds, has an array of neo-Nazi and white supremacist tattoos that indicate possible adherence to the White Order of Thule and the Straight Edge movement.
Chase, whose body also bears neo-Nazi and white supremacist tattoos, reportedly is a member of the World Church of the Creator (WCOTC), the virulently anti-Semitic and racist hate group headed by Matt Hale, and an Indiana chapter of the Outlaw Hammerskins. She allegedly began writing to Felton in March 2000. Prison outreach is one of the roles carried out by The Sisterhood, an arm of the WCOTC, specifically designated for women. The WCOTC believes in the coming of, and necessity for, a "racial holy war."
Felton and Chase are charged with conspiring to make a destructive device, firearms violations, making and passing counterfeit currency and conspiracy to obstruct justice. Additionally, Felton is charged with attempting to receive explosive materials in interstate commerce with intent to use them in an explosive device and for illegal possesion of a handgun.
Chase was arraigned on Monday and pleaded not guilty to all charges. Felton’s arraignment has been delayed until Friday. He made an apparent suicide attempt early Sunday by inflicting wounds on his arm, neck and wrists with a prison-issue razor. If convicted, Leo Felton faces a maximum of 65 years in prison while Erica Chase faces a maximum of 35 years.
White Order of Thule
The White Order of Thule (WOT), created in the mid-1990s, was a loosely knit group of individuals who believed in the superiority of the Aryan race as represented by Norse, Viking and other ancient Nordic cultures. WOT followers generally adhered to Odinism (sometimes referred to as Asatru), which they asserted was "a spiritual way of life, based on the Nordic ancestral mythos; or the collective beliefs and folk-consciousness of the Aryan people."
Odinism, when practiced by white supremacists, focuses on the rejection of what they see as Jewish-influenced Christianity; the embrace of an "indigenous faith" rooted in pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon warrior cultures; and the oneness of the Aryan race with nature.
National Socialism and other racist and anti-Semitic ideologies have tremendous appeal to white supremacist Odinists, who point out that many prominent Nazis practiced a form of Odinism in Nazi Germany. Many white supremacists in prisons practice the racist version of Odinism.
Primary activists in WOT and its publications included tattoo artist Nathan Pett (aka Nathan Zorn) and Peter Georgacarakos, a convicted cocaine dealer and prison inmate. While Pett lived on Whidbey Island, Washington, he used WOT to glorify the activities of The Order, a white supremacist terrorist group active in the 1980s whose leader, Robert Mathews, died in a shootout with police on Whidbey Island in 1985.
Citing betrayal by a WOT member, the group announced in the Summer 2000 issue of its newsletter, Crossing the Abyss, that it was disbanding and would cease publication of the newsletter. At the time, WOT members were encouraged to write for another newsletter, Fenris Wolf, published independently by WOT members in the Northwest. Fenris Wolf has since ceased publication. Pett was attacked with a baseball bat by unknown assailants in February 2001 in Spokane, Washington, and is reportedly in a semi-comatose condition.
The Outlaw Hammerskins are a renegade offshoot of Hammerskin Nation, a loosely organized white supremacist skinhead organization of long standing with chapters in the United States and Europe. Various members of Hammerskin Nation have been convicted of harassing, beating, or murdering minorities. In addition, many popular racist rock bands are associated with Hammerskin Nation, which regularly sponsors white power rock concerts.
The Outlaw Hammerskins were born out of a June 1999 incident involving members of the Northern Hammerskins who used extreme violence in rescinding the membership of a colleague who "wasn’t living up to his oath." After this incident, five members of the Northern Hammerskins were kicked out of Hammerskin Nation, and eight others quit and joined these five in forming the Outlaw Hammerskins. The group now claims to have four chapters in the Midwest.
Straight Edge Movement
Adherents of the Straight Edge (often referred to in print as "sXe") movement, an offshoot of the punk subculture, focus on gaining as much personal control over their lives as possible. The Straight Edge movement discourages drug and alcohol use and casual sex; it also advocates vegetarianism.
According to a Straight Edge Web site, the movement "wishes to attract people away from dependancy [sic] lifestyles centered around drug habits (legal or illegal) and unhealthy and exploitative eating and general living habits common in modern cultures."
The symbol of Straight Edgers, an "X," originated from the practice at punk shows of marking underage attendees with an "X’ on their hands so that they couldn’t buy alcohol. Later on, people in the Straight Edge movement who were able to drink, but didn’t for ideological reasons, marked themselves with an "X" to show solidarity. Many followers of the Straight Edge movement sport "Triple X" tattoos.
Even though Straight Edge adherents share a basic lifestyle of abstention from drugs, alcohol, and casual sex, as well as other cultural commonalities ranging from music to dress, their political ideology can range from the far right to the far left. The movement draws a variety of young people from anarchists to neo-Nazis to radical animal rights activists. Some come to the movement because of their religious philosophy while others may have been drawn to it through the rejection of drug and alcohol abuse in their families.
Many Straight Edgers display intolerance for those who do not agree with their philosophy; some Straight Edgers have been involved in violent crimes from assaults to alleged attacks on fast food restaurants and businesses that sell leather or fur. However, many in the movement deplore violence as counter to the values of the movement.
World Church of the Creator, The Women’s Frontier, The Sisterhood
With over 75 "contact points" spread across 27 states, ten international contacts and more than 30 affiliated Web sites, the World Church of the Creator (WCOTC), currently led by Matt Hale and based in East Peoria, Illinois, is one of the larger hate groups in the United States, as well as one of the most notorious. WCOTC defines itself as a "religion" established for the "survival, expansion, and advancement of [the] White Race exclusively." WCOTC’s ideology vehemently attacks Jews, Christians, Blacks and other people of color, although Jews are the main focus of WCOTC’s hateful rhetoric.
The group offers two venues for women -- the Women's Frontier and The Sisterhood of the WCOTC, each with its own Web site and newsletter. The Sisterhood advertises itself primarily as a place to "provide an outlet for [white women] to express their feelings of racial loyalty in positive ways," such as writing poetry and providing support for other "white sisters," while The Women's Frontier focuses on direct racial activism, such as distributing WCOTC propaganda and attending meetings and rallies. The Sisterhood also has a Prisoner Support Group and it was through this group that Chase allegedly began corresponding with Felton.
The WCOTC was formed in the early 1970s by Florida racist Ben Klassen, who committed suicide in 1993. Since its inception, it has garnered a longstanding and deserved reputation as one of the most violent white supremacist groups in the United States. However, Hale has consistently maintained that the group's ultimate objective -- the survival, expansion and advancement of the "White Race" -- can be achieved through legal and nonviolent means.
Nevertheless, the group has not condemned the violent actions of its followers, including a two-state shooting spree by follower Benjamin Smith in July 1999 that left two people dead and nine wounded (all members of minority groups). Following Smith's rampage and subsequent suicide, Hale portrayed the gunman as a martyr. "As far as we're concerned," Hale said of the carnage, "the loss is one white man."
|© 2001 Anti-Defamation League|