Intelligence Report

Louis Ray Beam Jr.: Racist Leader Headed for Downfall?

Louis Beam, revolutionary leader, fire-breathing orator and racist strategist par excellence, could be facing his waterloo.

When he was in Texas leading Klan protests against Vietnamese shrimpers, he offered an "in-service" on "the right way to burn a shrimp boat." In the days that followed, unknown arsonists torched at least two Vietnamese-owned boats.

Hours after he taught a guerrilla warfare class at an Idaho neo-Nazi compound, a series of seven arson fires burned much of a nearby downtown. Police said the arsonist likely attended the class, but no one was ever arrested.

After allegedly plotting to overthrow the government, he was charged with seditious conspiracy in a major federal trial — and acquitted on all counts.

But now, Louis Ray Beam Jr., the fiery orator and racist organizer who has done as much as any other to animate the radical right, is facing another kind of battle.

After taking on his fourth ex-wife in an Idaho custody dispute, Beam found himself accused in court of sexual molestation regarding the very girls whom he had sought to see more of.

If a Texas criminal investigation finds the charges have merit, Beam may find himself facing a trial that could put an end to his career.

For three decades now, Louis Beam has been a leader and principal theorist to some of the most frightening people in America.

He has been a top official of the Ku Klux Klan and the Aryan Nations, a mentor to terrorists who went on to murder, rob and counterfeit, and at the top of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List.

He popularized the concept of "leaderless resistance" used by a series of extremist criminals who arguably included Timothy McVeigh.

He was one of the very first to try to bring extremists into the computer age, and even used his computer skills to popularize an "Aryan" point system for assassination.

Recently, he has spent large amounts of time in Costa Rica with a close friend, a major marijuana-smuggling fugitive.

"He's one of a half dozen people who have shaped the white supremacy movement since the Vietnam War," said Leonard Zeskind, a long-time expert on the radical right. "He has been accorded the venerated status of a movement elder."

Louis Beam won't talk to "prostitute" reporters. But he denies through his attorney the allegations of "sexual abuse or misconduct" in the trial record of the custody dispute he initiated last year.

Still, if the charges stick, Beam may be fatally discredited in the movement he did so much to build.

Beam, 55, has always been something of a mystery figure, dropping out of sight for months or even years at a time, only to resurface at some key event or venue.

He shuns public attention, operating instead in a shadowy world where racist ideologues rub shoulders with men who kill, terrorize and steal.

Nevertheless, largely because his essays are so widely circulated and he is such a hero to so many, it is possible to glean a sense of Louis Beam, one of the very angriest of angry white men.

A Life of Violence Begins
Louis Ray Beam was born Aug. 20, 1946, in the hardscrabble East Texas city of Lufkin. He was the oldest of four children born to Lewis and Madeline Beam before the couple divorced. Although race relations in East Texas historically have been poor, family members say Beam's siblings did not follow his racist path.

Little is known about Beam's early life. But by the time he was 20, Beam had joined the Army at a time when the Vietnam War was white hot.

After serving 18 months, much of it as a door machine gunner in helicopter gunships, Beam returned home full of rage — at "communists," but even more so at the U.S. government. He brought with him several medals including the Distinguished Flying Cross.

When he and other GIs returned, anti-war protesters "threw blood in our faces and feces on our caskets," Beam wrote in one essay. "No excuses will change that," he said. He blamed anti-war dissent on "the very people who sent us over there."

For decades after, Beam would blame the government for his alleged exposure to the chemical defoliant Agent Orange, continuing war flashbacks, and a case of post-traumatic stress syndrome that he says has caused a sleep disorder.

Officials judged him totally disabled and now, according to records in the custody case, he lives on $1,603 a month in benefits from the government he despises.

Like thousands of others, Beam came home with a burning anger that would not go away. Unlike most of them, his rage was aimed at a whole array of enemies.

"There seems to be no end to it all," he said of the lingering effects of Vietnam. "I wonder if stress can be defined as wanting to machine-gun all the people who sent us over there, along with the ones who spit on us when we returned?"

He also spoke of the joys of killing your enemy, writing in an essay titled "Body Count" that he had worried about leaving Vietnam "without wracking up 50 kills."

"It looked to me like he relished the idea of killing," recalled Randall Williams, an anti-racist investigator who came to know Beam later. "A .50-caliber machine-gun does pretty horrible things to people, and I don't see how a normal person could enjoy that in the way that Beam professed to."

In 1968, the same year he returned, Beam joined up with the Texas chapter of the United Klans of America, the Alabama-based group headed by Robert Shelton that was behind much of the violence directed at the Civil Rights Movement.

Sometime in the early 1970s, grand juries in Houston indicted Beam in the bombing of the left-wing Pacifica radio station and a machine-gun attack on local Communist Party headquarters. The charges were eventually dropped.

Beam went to the University of Houston from 1974 to 1976, majoring in history, although he did not graduate as he sometimes has claimed.

In 1976, he left Shelton's group to join the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, then led by rising Klan star David Duke. Duke quickly promoted him to a Texas district leader.

How to Burn a Shrimp Boat
Soon, Beam's activities seemed to accelerate. He worked to recruit Klan members at Fort Hood, a sprawling Army base in central Texas. (In early 1979, Beam and Duke were escorted at a Klan rally in Euless, Texas, by several soldiers wearing fatigues and armed with rifles.)

During the same period, he was arrested for lunging at Deng Xiaoping in a ritzy hotel when the Chinese leader visited the state — and he was also elevated by Duke to grand dragon, or state leader, of Texas.

When the Pentagon moved to hinder the Klan's recruiting of soldiers, Beam turned to the Texas Emergency Reserve — the paramilitary unit of the Texas Klan.

As he had earlier with other Klansmen, he taught guerrilla war techniques to reserve members at a secret Klan paramilitary camp near Anahuac.

Later, while training his men on land near Fort Worth, Beam was arrested for trespassing and ultimately sentenced to six months probation.

At the same time, Beam's operated his Public Information Bookstore in the gritty, working-class Houston suburb of Pasadena.

"I remember seeing videotapes of him instructing his recruits," said Williams, who was the founding director of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Klanwatch project. "The lectures were about how you get people into the 'kill zone,' and then it's maximum firepower, just, 'Kill, kill, kill!' He's the kind of guy who, if he were in the military saying that, you'd be concerned about his mental health."

In early 1981, a group of white shrimp fishermen in Galveston Bay, Texas, asked Beam and his Klan to support them in their struggle against Vietnamese refugees who had begun to fish the same Gulf of Mexico waters.

Beam responded enthusiastically, telling a large crowd that they were going to have to get back the country "the way our founding fathers got it — with blood, blood, blood."

Someone had brought an old skiff to the rally with the words USS Vietcong painted on its hull. "This is the right way to burn a shrimp boat," Beam shouted as he torched the boat to the roar of the crowd. "This is in-service training."

In the next weeks, crosses were burned in the yards of the Vietnamese and their supporters. The owner of a marina where some Vietnamese boats had docked was threatened and received Klan cards in his mailbox.

At least two Vietnamese-owned boats were destroyed by arsonists. And on March 15, the conflict became national news when well-armed Klansmen and others rode a shrimp boat around the bay, displaying a hanging human effigy and firing a blank from a cannon.

Beam Finds a Nemesis
As the situation heated up, lawyers from the Southern Poverty Law Center stepped in to seek injunctions ordering the Klan to cease its intimidation and shut down a total of five paramilitary camps. (At one point, Gene Fisher, the fishermen's leader, told reporters that 50 to 60 of his followers had trained in Beam's camps.)

It was the beginning of a personal hatred that Beam would harbor for decades against Morris Dees, co-founder of the Center and the lead lawyer in the case.

In one deposition, Beam sat across from Dees, holding a book titled Exorcism and mouthing, "You die, you die, you die." At another, Dees suspected Beam was carrying a pistol.

On the street one day, Beam pantomimed firing a gun — a paper bag covered his firing hand — at Dees and other Center staffers.

In the end, a judge entered an injunction barring the defendants from intimidating the Vietnamese. Not long after, another injunction was entered that barred the Klan from operating paramilitary camps.

Beam made some key contacts in this period.

He traveled in 1981 to the Idaho compound of the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations, led by Richard Butler, then a rising star on the white supremacist scene (see Aryans, Interrupted). Butler would soon return the favor by attending a rally in Galveston Bay — and by giving Beam the title of Aryan Nations "ambassador at large."

Beam also got help from Neill Payne, who conducted training sessions at Beam's paramilitary Klan camps. Today, Payne is a principal of the Southern Legal Resource Center, led by white supremacist lawyer and Beam pal Kirk Lyons. Both men, despite their associations with extremist groups, deny they are racists.

In March 1982, Beam moved to Butler's 20-acre compound, beginning in earnest a relationship that would last for many years. At that July's Aryan World Congress, Beam was awarded the "Aryans of Outstanding Valor" medal.

That same year, Beam was arrested on a Texas warrant accusing him of kidnapping his daughter, Sarah, who was then a little over 2 years old, from the Dallas apartment of his third ex-wife, Kara Mikels.

(Sheila Toohey, Beam's fourth ex-wife and the person battling him in the ongoing custody dispute, says in court papers that Beam took the toddler to Mexico, Costa Rica and Canada, staying abroad for two years.)

But the charges were dropped. Officials said that Mikels may have been feeling pressure from Beam's Klan associates.

In her filing, Toohey alleges that Beam had a third party contact Mikels "and threaten her that if she ever wanted to see her daughter again she had better drop all charges." Beam denies that.

In January 1983, Morris Dees received a letter from Beam on Aryan Nations stationery:

I challenge you to a dual [sic] to the death ... You against me. No federal judges, no federal marshals, no FBI agents, not anyone except yourself and I. We go to the woods (your state or mine) and settle once and for all the enmity that exists between us. Two go in — one comes out.

Enter The Order
Later in 1983, the militant mood of the Aryan World Congress was captured in a Beam speech. "We are at war!" Beam told attendees. "There's nothing we won't do to bring about the new kingdom." Several listeners would take him at his word.

Two months later, in September, a number of Beam's friends at Aryan Nations secretly formed a group known as The Order, or the Silent Brotherhood.

Led by Robert J. Mathews, the group would print counterfeit money on the Aryan Nations' presses before going on to rob armored cars and murder enemies.

The Order would become one of the most famous domestic terrorist groups of modern American history.

Beam's ties to the group — many of whose members were his close friends — have never been clear. But it is known that Mathews handed out copies of Beam's Essays of a Klansman, published at Aryan Nations in 1983.

The book was dedicated to 10 racist leaders and "those yet unknown patriots, who are even now preparing to strike at the enemies of God, our race and our nation."

The FBI later concluded this was a reference to The Order.

At one point in The Order's two-year criminal rampage — before Mathews was killed in a shootout with the FBI and some 24 others were imprisoned — Mathews distributed a document to his followers entitled "Bruders Schweigen [German for Silent Brotherhood] Staff." Louis Beam, under the code name "Lone Star," was listed as the future civilian leader of the "Western district" of America.

'American Know-How' and the Revolution
In one of the Beam essays that Order members read, he laid out a detailed "point system" to become an "Aryan warrior," and offered a list of proposed targets that included members of the media. (He would later popularize this point system over his computer network.)

Later, The Order drew up its own assassination list. At the top was Dees, according to a book by journalists Kevin Flynn and Gary Gerhardt, The Silent Brotherhood: Inside America's Racist Underground.

But Order members skipped down to an easier target, Denver radio talk show host Alan Berg, who had angered rightists earlier. The Order murdered Berg on June 18, 1984.

At around the same time, Beam showed up unexpectedly one day at the refurbished offices of the Southern Poverty Law Center — they had been torched the year before by three Klansman who literally came up out of the sewers.

Wearing a suit and tie, Beam was posing as a documentary maker, trying to get into Center offices. Accompanying him was Thom Robb, a principal of Beam's old group, the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. The men were recognized and turned away.

At the 1984 Aryan World Congress, held at the Aryan Nations compound in Hayden Lake, Idaho, Beam and Col. Jack Mohr, another white supremacist activist, taught an urban guerrilla warfare class to those in attendance, including some Order members.

They used an extremist training manual, The Road Back, that among other things detailed how to start fires with time-delayed incendiary devices.

That night, a still unexplained series of seven arson fires broke out in nearby Spokane, Wash., causing an estimated $5 million in damage. Every available firefighter was called out as a major section of downtown Spokane burned.

There were no arrests, but investigators said they thought it highly likely that the arsonist had attended the class taught by Beam and Mohr earlier in the day.

In 1984, Beam became one of the first three racist activists to establish computerized bulletin boards as a way of communicating within the movement, starting up an Aryan Nations-based network he called Aryan Nations Liberty Net.

The system allowed activists to communicate via dial-up computer systems he set up in Idaho, Texas and North Carolina.

Beam's system was certainly the most successful of the three racist computer networks, and it served as an inspiration to those who would pioneer hate sites on the Internet in the mid-1990s.

In particular, Beam was followed by Don Black — a former fellow officer of David Duke's Knights of the Ku Klux Klan — who would set up the first Internet hate site, known as Stormfront, in March 1995.

"It may very well be that American know-how has provided the technology which will allow those who love this country to save it," Beam wrote at the time. It was a message that would soon be taken up in earnest by the revolutionary right.

On the Lam
Based on information from Order members, FBI officials believed that Beam had received $120,000 of the $4.1 million that The Order stole in several spectacular armored car robberies. Butler was also believed to have received money.

But unlike 24 members of The Order, neither man was among those indicted in 1985.

In April 1987, Beam and Butler finally were indicted, along with 12 other leading white supremacist activists, by a federal grand jury in Fort Smith, Ark.

They were accused of seditious conspiracy in connection with an alleged plot, hatched at the 1983 Aryan World Congress, to overthrow the government. Officials said that the 14 were godfathers in the plot, which was to be carried out by The Order.

When the FBI went to arrest Beam, he had vanished.

Just days earlier, he had married for a fourth time in a Christian Identity church in Pennsylvania. He told his latest bride, Sheila Toohey, that they'd have to spend their honeymoon on the run — he expected some kind of legal paperwork from the federal government.

First, they hid out with his old friend, Texas chiropractor Neill Payne. Then the couple fled to the area around Guadalajara, Mexico. In June, Beam's name was added to the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List, and his poster went up around the nation.

Finally, in November, the FBI learned that he was in Mexico after serving a search warrant and learning that Payne had secretly visited Beam in that country.

When plainclothes Mexican police arrested Beam outside a housing complex in the small town of Chapala on Nov. 6, 1987, his new bride grabbed a 9 mm pistol and began firing. She badly wounded a Mexican officer.

Beam was handed over to FBI agents in Mexico, and his wife was released — inexplicably, she was not charged — a few days later. She would later tell reporters in Houston that she had not known the Mexicans were police officers and had feared being raped.

Toohey, who grew up in a small Texas town, sounded incredibly naïve about her husband. "There is not a prejudiced bone in this man's body," she told a reporter. "People have to realize that he is a terrific man and not a white supremacist."

In Fort Smith, meanwhile, FBI agents who'd tracked Beam sought to introduce 38 items found in his possession when he was arrested in Mexico — computer disks, documents, books and photographs — that they believed showed clear links to The Order.

But Judge Morris Arnold suppressed most of this evidence. He did, however, allow in a card with the words "Bruders Schweigen" printed on front.

Changing Diapers in Idaho
Beam represented himself, although he was aided by Kirk Lyons, whom he'd known in Texas and who was Neill Payne's partner.

(Beam would be Lyons' best man at a bizarre 1992 double wedding held at the Aryan Nations compound. Lyons and Payne married two sisters whose brother, David Tate, was a member of The Order imprisoned for murdering a state trooper.)

Beam denied that any conspiracy was hatched at the 1983 Aryan Congress, saying all he remembered was drinking coffee and changing his baby daughter's diapers. But his third wife, Kara, testified that Beam had not been involved in any diaper-changing, and she recounted how he talked about bombings and assassinations in service of the revolution.

The jury was also told about Beam's links to a heavily armed, white supremacist compound in Arkansas — The Covenant, The Sword, and The Arm of The Lord (CSA).

Prosecutors alleged that members of The Order and a fugitive murderer of two U.S. marshals had been hidden at the CSA compound.

"Beam came to CSA to get us hooked up to his bulletin board," recalled Kerry Noble, the second-in-command at CSA who later renounced the racist movement.

"I thought he was just a really arrogant, angry person, a lot of show. In those days, everybody said he was going to take Butler's place as leader of Aryan Nations. But me personally, I wouldn't have followed him across the street."

When all was said and done, the all-white jury didn't buy it.

In a disaster for the government, all the defendants were acquitted on all charges. To add insult to injury, one of the female jurors married a defendant.

Leaving the courthouse after the April 7, 1988, acquittals, Beam saluted a Confederate war hero's statue. He had tangled with the state and won. Henceforth, he announced, the struggle would move underground.

In the months that followed, Beam would start a racist newspaper called The Seditionist — a mocking jab at his prosecutors.

'To the Federal Dogs'
Beam had won a round with the federal government, but it only increased his fury.

The following January, he gave a fiery speech in Pulaski, Tenn., at the annual Klan rally held in the hooded order's 1865 birthplace. He told the audience that he had a message for fellow patriots — and for "yellow dog feds from the FBI."

"First, to the federal dogs," he shouted, hurling a fistful of bloody hamburger meat from the podium to the floor.

"I spit on you! You're dogs! You're scum! We're gonna dance on your graves! I'm gonna dance on your tombstone! If you think we're gonna let you have this country, you're wrong. We're gonna take it back!

"If you want to give us terror, we'll give you terror back," he yelled. "If you think we're going to take this lying on our backs, you're wrong, federal dogs!"

It was quite a speech. A newspaper story once suggested that Beam "could bring a tear to Billy Graham's eye" with his speaking style.

Former colleagues say that the Pulaski speech was actually Beam's stump presentation — he almost always used the hamburger prop. His anger, however, was very real.

That came out dramatically one night in 1992.

Floyd Cochran, the Aryan Nations spokesman who later became an anti-racist activist, remembers Beam and others drinking for many hours the night before the Payne/Lyons double wedding.

"The thing I won't forget," said Cochran, "is Louis, who could not hold his liquor, trying to climb a ladder that was lying flat on the ground. As he 'climbs,' he's pulling up wads of grass between the rungs, acting very mean, and shouting, 'I hate gooks! I want to kill them all!' That's when Sheila asked some of us to pick him up, get him in the house and shut his mouth."

Some time that year, Beam returned to Texas. "He said he was going back to Texas to raise blond-haired children and black-eyed peas," Cochran said. "We didn't hear much from him after that, though he moved back to Idaho in the late '90s."

Also in 1992, in the pages of The Seditionist, Beam published the second version of an essay, "Leaderless Resistance," that he first printed in 1983.

Learning from The Order's demise, Beam warned that hierarchical organizations presented a very high risk for the radical right — if one person were arrested, it was quite likely that the whole structure would be destroyed.

Beam proposed that radicals adopt a "lone wolf" or "leaderless resistance" strategy — that they act in small, independent cells that take orders from no one and keep their plans entirely to themselves.

"No one need issue an order to anyone," Beam wrote. "Those idealists truly committed to the cause of freedom will act when they feel the time is ripe, or will take their cue from others who precede them."

Beam credited the original concept to one Col. Ulius Louis Amoss, a right-wing anti-communist who wrote his 1962 essay in the context of resisting a much-feared Communist invasion of the United States.

Although many scholars believe that the idea was picked up by Beam directly from Amoss, in fact it was bandied about by other ideologues of the radical right in the 1960s and 1970s.

Later in 1992, a standoff between an Idaho white supremacist named Randy Weaver and federal officials developed on a mountaintop known as Ruby Ridge.

Before it was over, a federal marshal and Weaver's wife and son were killed by gunfire. Weaver had attended an Aryan Nations gathering in 1986 when Beam was a speaker who wielded a sword and threatened to kill federal informants.

Ruby Ridge, Waco and Militias
Beam, along with the rest of the radical right, was livid over Ruby Ridge. On Oct. 6, he told a crowd of 200 people in Sandpoint, Idaho, that the government was "like a lion that has tasted the blood of human victims." Federal agents were its "paid assassins."

It was a warm-up for the passionate speech Beam gave later that month to some 160 radical leaders who gathered in Estes Park, Colo., to consider a reaction to the events on Ruby Ridge.

In some ways, this meeting helped to shape the contours of the militia movement that would erupt in the next two years — most specifically, its downplaying of racism and emphasis on broad-based, unified resistance.

Beam delivered the message. Christian Identity believers, neo-Nazis, Klansmen, home schoolers, "Constitutionalists," fundamentalists, "Freemen," and others — all were in the same spot.

"Those who wear badges, black boots and carry automatic weapons and kick in doors already know all they need to know about you," he shouted in this famous speech. "You are enemies of the state."

And he offered a remarkably prescient prediction. "I warn you calmly, coldly and without reservation," he said, "that over the next 10 years you will come to hate the federal government more than anything else in your lives."

The next year, 1993, Beam again showed up at the hottest spot on the map of the radical right — Waco, Texas, where the federal government was engaged in a long-running standoff with a well-armed Branch Davidian sect.

Beam came as a writer for Jubilee, a small-circulation newspaper run by an old friend, Paul Hall, that espoused the racist and anti-Semitic theology of Christian Identity.

Beam showed up at the daily press briefing held by the FBI and was turned away. When he reappeared a few days later, shouting a remark to the effect that the United States was a "police state," he was arrested.

Kirk Lyons filed a $300,000 suit against the government on behalf of Hall and Beam, but it went nowhere.

Heading South Again
In the years that followed, Beam was out of sight more often than not.

Rumors abounded in the movement that he was suffering the effects of Agent Orange, that he wasn't healthy and was maybe even dying.

But Beam did show up now and then, writing occasional articles for Jubilee, buying lakeside land with Hall in northern Idaho, and traveling frequently between Texas and Idaho.

In 1994, he went to a conference hosted by E. Tom Stetson, co-founder of the Unorganized Militia of Idaho and yet another Beam confidant. (Beam's Idaho driver's license today lists the address of Stetson's ex-wife, according to documents in the custody case.)

Beam also renewed his strong interest in Costa Rica, where his drug fugitive friend Brian Michael Knoff reportedly has been hiding since 1994. Knoff is known to have helped run a smuggling ring that brought tons of marijuana into the United States — and he is believed to have plowed his profits into the radical right.

In court papers, Beam's ex-wife alleges that Beam worked frequently for Knoff; Beam says in a rejoinder that he went to Costa Rica because of his current wife's work.

The precise relationship between the men is unclear, but it is clearly a close one. Beam's daughter, Sarah, is now married to Knoff's son, Brant. Sheila Toohey alleges in court filings that Knoff has helped Beam financially since the 1980s.

As the '90s progressed, Beam dropped even further out of sight. One exception was his attendance at a major 1996 Christian Identity conference.

Another was his 1997 eulogy for Eva Vail, a fellow anti-government activist, in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. After the funeral concluded with shouts of "Heil victory!" and Nazi salutes, Beam slipped out a back door to avoid reporters and photographers.

Beam married for a fifth time as the millennium approached. In November 2000, he had twin boys with his latest wife, Cathy, naming them after Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson.

(Beam, always a great partisan of the antebellum South like his friends Lyons and Payne, had throughout his career used the name of another Confederate war hero, Nathan Bedford Forrest, as a nom de plume. Forrest was the Klan's first national leader.)

Today, Louis Beam's main influence on the movement comes through his writings, especially the essays he frequently posts on his website.

One of the most important came after black-masked anarchists clashed with police during larger anti-globalization protests at the World Trade Organization conference, held in Seattle in late 1999.

In it, Beam argued that the traditional left-right paradigm had no meaning any more, and that hard leftists would make the best recruits of all.

"The new politics of America is liberty from the New World Order police state and nothing more," Beam wrote in his "Battle in Seattle." "The new American patriot will be neither left nor right, just a freeman fighting for liberty."

'Aryan' Hero or Devoted Dad?
Louis Beam has become something of a loner on the radical right, but that is not to say he doesn't have intensely loyal friends.

Walking into a February hearing in the custody case, he was accompanied by four people who were apparently ready to testify on his behalf:

  • Katja Lane, an Idaho hard-liner whose husband David Lane is serving a life sentence for crimes committed as a member of The Order;
  • Terry Long, a Canadian who was once the Alberta representative of Aryan Nations;
  • Bruce Campbell, an anti-government writer from Oregon; and
  • Bob Holloway, also from Idaho. Joining them was Beam's fifth wife, Cathy, and their twin sons.

But that show of support may not be enough.

In his 1997 divorce from his fourth wife, Sheila Toohey, Beam was granted only very limited time with his two girls by a Texas judge who said he had "good cause" for the restrictive parenting plan.

Beam sued last year, asking to see more of his daughters, who live in Idaho with their mother. Now, in response, Toohey is asking the current judge to terminate all contact between Beam, who now lives in Zavalla, Texas, and their daughters.

Her list of grievances is long — and, assuming her allegations are true, they cast a harsh light on the man who says he is merely seeking liberation from a tyrannical government.

She alleges that Beam told the girls, now aged 7 and 9, that Yankee soldiers used bayonets to stab babies "and throw them in the air."

He refused to allow them to share a hotel swimming pool with blacks, because, he said, they carried diseases.

He warned his girls that police officers kill children, described Hitler as "a great man," and said the United States sent Americans "to kill young Aryan men for money" in World War II.

Toohey also alleges in court papers that she moved from Texas to Idaho in 1999 because her husband of 10 years told her there would be "a race war and major chaos like you've never seen" at the start of 2000, and that she would be safer in the Northwest.

She says Beam told her that he and his "armed comrades" would come and "forcibly remove the children" if she didn't leave Texas by the end of 1999.

The custody trial has been postponed. But what may be far more important is the criminal investigation in Texas, where Beam allegedly molested his daughters.

If those charges are prosecuted and stick, Louis Ray Beam, who claims in court papers not to have given a public speech since 1996, could find himself forever expelled from the pantheon of America's "Aryan" revolutionary heroes.