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With the Tuesday inauguration of Barack Obama drawing nearer by the hour, threats against the first black man to be elected U.S. president are growing more heated.
On Friday, neo-Nazi threatmeister Hal Turner, amplifying on an earlier posting suggesting that it would be a good thing to use an unmanned drone carrying explosives to attack inaugural crowds, said a mass murder of those attending the festivities “would be a public service.” “I won’t say what may happen Tuesday but I will say this,” Turner wrote on his blog. “After Tuesday, the name Hal Turner may live in infamy. Let it be known that I saw what was necessary and decided to do what had to be done. I make no apology to those affected or their families.”
Earlier, on Jan. 11, Turner had posted photos to his blog, under the headline “My Inauguration Dream,” of a small, unmanned aerial drone, an electronic guidance system and sticks of dynamite as he laid out one method of attack. He also discussed the possibility of sending up balloons filled with helium and a “payload” and fitted with fuses that would explode the balloons over the crowds. And he displayed a grainy video that purported to show that method being tested. “Too far fetched?” Turner asks of a possible balloon attack. “It got tested and it worked! … Watch the video and imagine what payload, other than the index cards taped to the outside of the test balloons, might be substituted? HMMMMMM. Might be something messy? Something contagious? Something deadly? Ahhhh, such possibilities!” Then, last Thursday, he posted an update, saying: “All the assets that need to be in-place for next week are now in-place; deep within the security perimeter. Everything is a ‘go.’ We have crossed the Rubicon; let history judge us well.”
Turner, a North Bergen, N.J., man who in years past has been paid as an FBI informant even while making threats over the Internet (a relationship that ended after it was revealed on this blog and harshly criticized by law enforcement experts), said the attacks were deserved because of a whole series of government misdeeds. He added that it would be “a public service” to kill African Americans (“sub-human simians”) and white people (“mentally-ill Whites”) who attend the festivities. “Wouldn’t it be a great day for American and the world to see our federal government dealt with in such a fashion?” Turner asked. “Stay tuned…..”
Also on Friday, federal authorities arrested a Wisconsin man for threatening to assassinate Obama in a posting to an Internet site about UFOs and extraterrestrial aliens. Steven Joseph Christopher, 42, was arrested in Brookhaven, Miss., because of a Jan. 11 posting that read: “Yes, I have decided I will assassinate Barack Obama. It’s really nothing personal about the man. … But I know it’s for the country’s own good that I can do this. Barack Obama, I view more as a sacrificial lamb… .”
Christopher also allegedly posted a note saying, “It’s not because I’m racist that I will kill Barack, it’s because I can no longer allow the Jewish parasites to bully their way into making the American people submit to their evil ways.” It wasn’t clear if Christopher had real links to radical-right groups, but he has posted close to 70 YouTube videos, many of them short rants like the one limited to a single sentence: “Fuck you, Jew.” Many of them begin with the notation, “Jew Censor Alert.” One says simply, “I’m going to fucking kill you.” And in still another, he showed his familiarity with at least one figure well known on the radical right as he launched into a bitter attack on Alex Jones, a conspiracist radio show host. Christopher has also said that God is ordering “everyone” to move to Florida by Dec. 31, a contention he repeated as he left a Jackson, Miss., courthouse in handcuffs after an initial appearance.
In an unrelated case, state and federal authorities announced the Friday arrests of three white men for allegedly burning down a predominantly black church in Springfield, Mass., hours after Obama’s election. The three — Benjamin Haskell, 22, Michael Jacques, 24, and Thomas Gleason, 21 — were charged with conspiring to deprive the church congregation of their civil rights. Macedonia Church of God in Christ’s almost completed new building was set afire with gasoline before dawn on Nov. 5, just hours after television stations called the election for Obama.
As the details of these cases unfolded Friday, authorities in Washington, D.C., were clamping down security for the inauguration to an unprecedented extent. No white supremacist groups are known to be planning to come to the capital Tuesday, but one gay-bashing hate group, the Westboro Baptist Church (known chiefly for its infamous website, Godhatesfags.com, and rallies at soldiers’ funerals), is reportedly planning to protest along the inaugural parade route. Another group, the National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, has asked its member to wear black armbands and hang “yankee flags” upside down on Tuesday and Wednesday. But there was no indication that the Indiana-based group had plans to travel to Washington.
Still, the chatter of Hal Turner’s site was not reassuring, especially given the two alleged white supremacist plots to kill Obama already broken up in Colorado and Tennessee. “Why talk about it?” asked “Reck Less Abandon” in a comment after Turner’s post suggesting ways of attacking the inaugural ceremonies. “JUST FUCKING DO IT.” Another poster, “PragmaticSaxon,” proposed adding an explosive gas to “bubonic plague or anthrax” in the balloons: “The exploding balloons will spread the pathogens and have massive effect on the masses of useless feeders that put that fucking nigger in office,” he wrote.