The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Alleged Holocaust Museum Shooter Planned Other Attacks

By Larry Keller on June 11, 2009 - 11:57 am, Posted in Anti-Semitic

Only days before he allegedly shot and killed a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, James von Brunn transferred the domain name of his racist website to a man in Michigan. Records show that von Brunn, 88, created holywesternempire.org in October 2000, and that Steve Reimink of West Olive, Mich., acquired the domain name around June 1 of this year. The website was designated a hate website by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2003.

Reimink’s E-mail address, “steveo1488@hotmail.com” includes the symbolic number 1488. In white supremacist circles, 14 refers to the very popular 14-word slogan coined by the late neo-Nazi David Lane: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” The letter H is the eighth letter in the alphabet, and 88 often stands for “Heil Hitler.” Reimink’s cell phone was not accepting messages, and he did not respond to an E-mail request for comment.

Relinquishing the domain name may have signaled von Brunn’s intent to soon “go out with his boots on,” as he once told his former wife. He was about to give away his computer and was living hand to mouth, The Washington Post reported.

Von Brunn is said by police to have entered the Holocaust Museum Wednesday afternoon, where he shot the security guard, and then was shot and critically wounded by other guards. Police say they found a notebook in von Brunn’s car with a list of possible other targets, including the White House, the U.S. Capitol, the National Cathedral and The Washington Post. According to myfoxdc.com, witnesses said he was wearing a confederate soldier’s cap and a long coat, which he may have worn to conceal what police describe as an early-1900s rifle.

Von Brunn wrote racist and anti-Semitic screeds for many years. He worked over the years as an ad agency copywriter and business owner, an artist and a real estate agent, according to his website. He has lived in New Hampshire, California, Florida and most recently, Annapolis, Md. He worked at the anti-Semitic publisher Noontide Press in the late 1960s or early 1970s. Noontide Press was founded by Willis Carto, who also started the anti-Semitic Liberty Lobby and the Institute for Historical Review, a Holocaust denial outfit.

Von Brunn also lived in Hayden, Idaho, a few years ago with a racist named Stan Hess, who has claimed that the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks were orchestrated by a rogue faction of the federal government. Hess also started a group called the European-American Human Rights Task Force and wanted to designate October as “European-American Heritage Month,” the Spokane Spokesman-Review reported.

Conservatives were all talk and no action, according to von Brunn. On his website he complained, “The American Right-wing with few exceptions is totally Pacifist. The [right wing] does NOTHING BUT TALK. MORAL: America dies for want of men.”

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  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Do you mind explaining how radical Islamists are “left-wing”? Religious reactionaries are inherently right-wing, regardless of the religion. Why do you think that radical Islamists and most Christian fundamentalists tend to agree on socal issues?

    I watched that story, and the fact that you consider that community to be “domestic terrorism” shows how paranoid and narrow-minded you are. There are far more compounds throughout the US with ARMED militias who openly claim to be training to oppose the government, but they are not touched because they are white and Christian.

  • Lee Ann

    Domestic terrorism comes from both the Right and the Left:

    I wish the SPLC would shine the light on domestic terrorists like these:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pw-ieB796g4

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....re=related

  • american outsider

    You all want answers? Just look at all your post here on an issue that is getting so common everywere. Beforeit was called, In pursue of Indians, then Lynching, after that it was named equal but separated or segregation and the naming still goes on like the bunny in all matters. That is on an internall basis. On the out side it was called imperialism, after that colonialism, then dictatorships. Now is called Foreign Policy. Try to understand— Cuba blockade because its communist and don’t have “Human rights”; that is right wing thinking. But China is communist and doesn’t have human or civil rights either, BUT it has $$$—that is left wing thinking. America, we have made our daily differences as humans a world policy issue and its getting back to us. Wake up, the CEO ruined the economy because of greed and we the people are thanking their bigotry with bailout taxes well worked for. STOP HATING EVERYONE, HATE ALL WRONGDOING!!!

  • EMM

    Please excuse me for the misinterpretation — I am not politically illiterate. Understanding right wing ideology is in and of itself an undertaking. However there are those who still view the Nazi party as coming from their own departure on socialism itself. As with all political fringe groups there will always be “para-phrasing” of political agenda and furthering it as proganda.

    I do however thank you for sharing your views. As with Von Brunn he used the internet to his benefit to further his political agenda. White supremacy, Ku Klux Klan and other Neo Nazi groups since the birth of the internet have used it as their main recruiting tool — supplementing it as you say with face to face meetings at gun shows and other political rallies. Up until now the internet and web has been one of their strongest tools to perpetuate their proganda. I still clearly remember David Duke running for political office and somehow trying to “normalize” himself and the Klan to non-believers. So, in response, one misunderstanding in thinking does not an illiterate make.

  • Aslan Maskhadov

    For anyone who can’t figure out why WNs and Neo-Nazis seem not to like conservatives, it is primarily because they see the latter as cowards; or people who can’t see the real cause of the problem. They tend to agree 99% of the time with any mainstream conservative(why do you think they recruit at gun shows or those tea parties), and they will often post mainstream conservative articles to their forums. They generally share the same values with conservatives, but they believe that conservatives have a few flaws that prevent them from achieving their goals.

    So basically it is a lie to claim that the Nazis or WNs are 180 degrees the opposite of mainstream conservatives.

  • Aslan Maskhadov

    EMM, you’re what is known as a “political illiterate”, meaning someone who has a poor understanding of politics and political history. The fact that the NSDAP used the term “socialist” in its name in no way meant that it was actually socialist or left-wing. Socialism as a political force at that time was still relatively new, and at that stage in the development of capitalism, there were many different ideologies on both left and right that considered themselves to have elements of socialism in them.

    However, “right-wing” and “conservative”, historically, are associated with wanting to preserve the status quo, whereas left-wing implies revolution, change, and a more equitable society. By that internationally recognized standard, Nazism is indeed right-wing. Aside from the fact that the actual economic policies of the NSDAP favored big industrialists and the rich, while punishing workers and stripping them of their rights, the general Nazi rationale for their bizarre form of “socialism” was that failure to implement some kind of social welfare system would inevitably assist the rise of Communism. In other words, the NSDAP used socialism as a way to draw the working class away from the Communists, and there were few candid letters and conversations when Nazi leaders like Goebbels admitted that it was all a sham. In fact the Night of Long Knives was organized to prove to the aristocrats in the army that Hitler would not tolerate any kind of left wing deviation in his party.

    The idiocy of claiming that Nazism or Fascism is left-wing is a lot easier to see if one takes the more clear cut example of Spain. The Spanish army uprising which led to the civil war was not led by Fascist, but otherwise apolitical right wing army officers. They were highly religious, anti-liberal, anti-communist, anti-worker, and pro-authority. Naturally, the real Fascist movement in Spain, the Falange, gravitated toward their side. But I digress.

    The point is, as one fat gasbag once said, “words mean things”. That includes words like right, left, and socialism. You cannot just throw them around at will and make inaccurate analogies based on insignificant common points. Common parts do not make a common whole.

  • EMM

    I would comment that Mr. Von Brunn is not a right wing supremacist but extremely left wing supremacist as he believes in white supremacy and is a self professed member of the Nazi party. White supremacists and Neo-Nazi’s who believe in the teachings of Nazi party and Adolph Hitler base their ideology on the National Socialist Party of Germany the perpetrators of the Holocaust. The Nazi movement was a radically LEFT movement (Socialism is NOT a RIGHT value) with racism thrown in to keep the people terrified.

    It is easy to lump these supremacists into the “Right Wing” political/social category but is just as important to know they’re not – this being said it does not make them any LESS EVIL.

  • Barackie

    Martha May,

    You stated that you “do not know if it was an act of terrorism.” Why not? because he is Caucasian? I’m pretty sure if he was of the Muslim faith or Middle Eastern you Hannity, Beck, Limbaugh, Coulter, Savage, Kaufman, Caribou Lipstick Piglet Palin, Buchanan and Hunchback Cheney would have labeled him a terorist and demand the death penalty!

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    As I suspected, here we have some right-wingers already trying to suggest that there is some kind of conspiracy behind the shooting.

  • martha may

    We dont have the right to try and justify this crime by blaming any lack of government action. You cant blame the NRA you cant blame free speech you cant say he was a disturbed individual and let it go at that. We as humans have a knack for wanting to understand someone who dosent fit the “norm”. We automatically separate ourselves from these types of individuals because we do not want to see ourselves as that person. We will never really understand what made him snap. Was it his upbringing?Was it his church?Was he born with something missing?Who knows, what he did was motivated by rage, hate, lack of compassion but it was very personal. My heart breaks for the mother of officer Johns. I do not know if it was an act of “terrorism”but more an act of hatred by a man who lost his way along time ago. He was preaching his hatred to other people who could listen or not. In the end we have to be responsible for our own actions.

  • FactsPlease

    Hmm, ever stop for a minute and take a look at this incident? Security cameras everywhere, but no video released? No media asking for the video? An eyewitness saying the person shooting the security guard was another security guard…a different eyewitness saying the shooter was wearing a police type uniform, and a police spokesman saying von Brunn wasn’t. Take a look around, before you believe everything you hear. Even CNN has a copy of the transcript, http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRA.....nr.06.html but do you think the media will go with this? Of course not. Push the Obama agenda of bad whitey, hate crimes, and gun control. Wake up.

  • James

    These crazy killers! Baruch Goldstein, Irv Rubin, Earl Kugel, and Meir Kahane. What can we do? Oh the hate! The hate. Can someone pass the cream cheese??

  • Reader

    McVeigh, Eric Rudolf, Roeder, Von Brunn… all American rightwing political spree killers

  • Reader

    All the NRA does is get these wackos all worked up into thinking “Obama’s gonna take your gun”. I see these morons everday.

  • Reader

    Von Brunn touched all the conservative and far right bases over is life… just goes to show you which end of the spectrum spawns this shit. Wanna bet that Glenn Beck and Fox try to blame Bill Ayers. LOL

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Clearly, the shooter’s views were right wing. Most WNs like him are right-wing conservatives who differ on a few issues.

  • Tom

    You can find copies of Brunn’s military records at this site.

    http://www.lyonresearch.com/index.html

  • Jim Norris

    We need to pass laws against hateful speech and start locking these people up before they hurt anyone else.

  • Allen

    In reply to mountaingirl08;

    I believe that there are some people who are addicted to rage. Psychologists have documented that this can happen. Rage causes certain physiological responses, just like a drug. And, just like a drug, the rage junkie can get accustomed to his rage so that it requires higher and higher doses to get their fix.

    I should know. I used to be married to a woman who I beleive was a rage addict. She used to fly off the handle on a regular basis, oftentimes for no reason whatsoever. Afterwards she claimed that she had “just blacked out.” Typical of addicts.

  • John

    Private ownership of firearms by African-Americans in the south during Reconstruction and later was frequently the only defense they had against the Klan.

  • Joe

    “I’m hoping Obama keeps most of his promises including the ones about guns.”

    You would be in the minority.

    All recent polls show less and less support for his ideas on this issue.

    Support the NRA, the FIRST civil rights organization!

  • gb8898

    As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, this Von Brunn guy was a wacko who hated both the Left and the Right. He railed against liberals while blaming George W. Bush for 9/11. He also vehemently hated Jews, something which is just NOT ACCEPTED by evangelical Christians nowadays no matter how you try to spin it. I’m not even Christian, but it’s offensive to me to hear people say this is “because of Christianic hate.”

    Folks need to stop trying to link Von Brunn to the Left or the Right. He was pretty much an equal opportunity hater, and it cheapens the life of the slain security guard to try to score political points from this tragedy.

    I would also like to point out that there is little point in designating certain crimes as “terrorism” and others as simply “criminal actions.” The end results are the same, and the rubric of “terrorism” is often the method by which government can target peaceful groups that disagree with the state of the nation.

    Look at the way the government has targeted anti-war and civil rights groups in the past (even the not-so-distant past). It’s always done in the name of “domestic terrorism” and a need for security.

  • http://www.skeptictank.org/ Fredric L. Rice

    This is a terrorist act since the killer did not act alone. He was egged on by his fellow right wing extremist colleagues such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Bill O’Reilly. These people aren’t “lone wolves,” they are motivated by the Christanic hate and bigotry spewed constantly by the right wing Republican Party.

    This is domestic terrorism, far, far worse than any pathetic “eco-terrorists” who target only property. These right wing Republicans target people — that makes them terrorists.

  • Joe

    To C. Levy….

    You’re trying to say that this is not a “terrorist act?” But you obviously do not know the definition of an act of terrorism…. which is “the calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear”

    And if you still believe your statement is correct, you are in denial… This act was CLEARLY motivated by politics, a difference in ideologies, and religion…. That’s 3/3…. I guarantee… GUARANTEE! That if an AMERICAN, American Muslim had committed a similar crime in a Christian environment, automatically, he or she would be labeled a “terrorist…”

    As a country, as a people, we MUST look pass the differences we share because focusing on them will only lead to the fall of this country… AND we MUST begin to acknowledge when people are being hateful and not be biased because they are “Americans..” The man was a terrorist… Whether he was white, black, middle eastern, he committed a hateful crime with religious and political beliefs in mind… When will everyone be able to see that terrorist come in all shapes and sizes…. IT IS NOT JUST MIDDLE EASTERNs, so how about we kill the stereotype…

  • mountaingirl08

    I have a question. With the intensity of feelings of rage and vicious hatred by the white supremacists it seems like it takes an awful lot of energy to keep up the intensity of indindiary hatred, rage, anger, what have you.. They haters must feel exhausted from stoking the fires of their rage and coming out w. their mindless blatherings. Such anger may be tempered if the holders finally burn themselves out But what is it that allows the individuals kkeep on going at the intensity they have

  • http://batnutz.blogspot.com repsac3

    C. Levy, re: your first comment:

    ‘We know what Mr. von Brunn did yesterday at the Holocaust museum. Now it’s our responsibility to determine why he did it,’ said Joseph Persichini, assistant director of the Washington FBI field office.

    The Homeland Security Department said the shooting does not appear to have a connection to terrorism, according to a joint Homeland Security and FBI assessment, though Persichini characterized it as ‘domestic terrorism.’”

    Von Brunn Charged In Holocaust Museum Slay – CBS News

    Regarding your second comment, I believe that fed, state, & local law enforcement and security forces can monitor terrorist/extremist internet & other “chatter”, AND help to improve the security defending the people and structures that are more likely to be targeted.

    Not being a security expert myself, I don’t know whether it’d be more effective to focus more on one or the other, though I can say that I’d prefer that we stop acts while they’re in the planning stages, rather than on site, at the last possible minute. And, it seems to me that many of the attacks cited as having been prevented in the last few years never made it to the place and time the act was going to occur, so there is something to be said for monitoring & other preventive measures done before the fact, offsite.

  • http://www.mikeb302000.blogspot.com/ mikeb302000

    The gun availability in America has reached an all time high. The gun enthusiasts who comment on my blog insist this has nothing to do with all these shootings. I respectfully disagree. I’m writing from Rome Italy where I’ve lived for 20 years. Nevertheless, I feel more American than Italian and have become very interested in the political goings on in my home country. Yesterday morning while having my morning coffee, I heard on the Italian radio news about the Holocaust Museum shooting. The Italian people cannot understand what could possibly be wrong with America in this regard. What civilized country allows such a level of gun violence? My answer is that no civilized country would. The gun lobby and the Christian right and the Conservatives have had their sway for too long and this is the result.

    I’m hoping Obama keeps most of his promises including the ones about guns.

  • Joy

    Von Brunn’s website was holywesternempire.org, not .com. It seems to have been taken down by Mr. Reimink. I was able to view it yesterday.

    What a sick man.

  • C. Levy

    Well if only the FBI had nothing better to do but monitor sites that the SPLC forward to them. This list could be in the 1000′s in a matter of days.

    The real issue is why was this man able to get into the Musuem in D.C., a very secure town with security everywhere we look, with a long rifle on him without being stopped? Shouldn’t the security be on the OUTSIDE of the building and highly visible as a deterent.

    It’s very sad what happened. I don’t condone it by any means and I like many on this forum hope Mr. Von Brunn gets the justice he deserves. But let’s not pin this event on the FBI or their ability to monitor websites. Let’s work to improve the security of buildings like this so not anyone with a .22 rifle can just walk into the place unfettered.

  • Brooke

    It bothers me that the FBI was not monitoring this man and his site, even though the SPLC recognized it as a hate site some time ago. It seems as if the least the government could do would be to take a look at sites that the SPLC’s research has uncovered.

  • Eunice Herrington

    God bless Officer Stephen Tyrone Johns and comfort his family. “Greater love hath no man…”

  • C. Levy

    I was curious why the SPLC’s Rep Heidi said this was an act of “domestic terrorism” to MSNBC today

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31237522/

    “”It’s the first domestic terrorist of this age that we’ve seen,” Beirich said.”

    when the DHS says it was not and is not related to terrorism in any way:

    “The Homeland Security Department called the shooting a criminal incident and said it does not appear to have a connection to terrorism, according to a joint Homeland Security and FBI assessment issued Wednesday. The assessment, obtained Thursday by The Associated Press, said von Brunn is associated with right-wing extremism.”

  • Doris V

    Saw an interview on TV this morning with the mother of the slain officer. What she said was very beautiful and impressive. The main message was that we need to cleanse ourselves of hatred from the inside out. Only then will America be free. My sympathy to Mr. Johns family. He is now watching over all of us.

  • Kdaniels

    I do not beliene the hype on the holy western empire website. don’t you find it odd that there is nothing on their website prior to the shooting? I do… and who would purchase a website with such a reputation and try to make it represent the total opposite purpose? It just doesn’t make since to me. I think they are merely trying redirect media attention that has been attracted to the site. they know people would be curious to see what types of things they post there and if they are in fact linked to Von Brunn, by more than just the purchase, they definitely don’t need attention drawn to the possibly planned attacks…. think about it.

  • Barackie Richards

    God Bless Officer Stephen Tyrone Johns and his family. R.I.P. Officer Johns, you will not be forgotten.

    Thank you Southern Poverty Law Center, you do wonderful work. I have appreciated your sensitivity, your support and your wonderful organization throughout the years! Your site is very educational, informative and soothing. Please continue to publish the names, emails and other information on these hateful people. While exposing their names and information, hopefully they would have a change of heart and condemn the acts of their fellow racist buddies. We can only pray that they will change their lives for the better as well.

    We the people must unite in Love and Tolerance, people of color, of different ethnicity and religion are NOT going anywhere, we are here to stay!!

    Peace & One Love!

  • JLarson

    Being from West Michigan, I was quite saddend to learn of the Michigan connection. Upon looking at the reference site, it appears the “hate” pieces have been removed and they condem the actions of James von Brunn. They also provide a link to a forgiveness website (christian). Could it be that the domain was aquired to stop the hate?