Two men charged with attempting to kill police officers in Hemet, Calif., used what prosecutors are calling a white power “guerrilla warfare manual” to guide a nine-month campaign of terror and violence against the police department, its buildings and vehicles.
The anonymously written “White Resistance Manual” was posted on the website WhiteHonor.org and contained do-it-yourself guides that Nicholas John Smit and Steven Hansen used to build such guerrilla-styled weapons as zip guns and “Panji boards” – spiked boards rigged with trip wires, according to Daniel DeLimon, a prosecutor with the district attorney in Riverside, Calif. “It’s basically a guerrilla warfare manual instructing people on different types of weapons, on creating weapons, on police investigations, basically how to conduct covert urban operations,” DeLimon told HateWatch in a telephone interview.
The manual is not the first to provide extremists with the know-how to turn militant. Similar antigovernment paramilitary manuals were circulated among private militia groups in the 1990s, and directions to build pipe bombs or create the neurotoxin ricin periodically appear on extremist newsgroups. Still, this manual’s comprehensive approach prompted alarm in an area of southern California that DeLimon described as a “magnet” for white supremacist ideologues. “We see all different types of propaganda,” he said. “But I’ve never actually seen this manual.”
WhiteHonor.org has since been pulled offline, investigators say, and the manual appears to no longer be readily available on the Internet. Its existence came to light when The Press-Enterprise in Riverside, Calif., reported details of police search warrants that were unsealed in response to a request from the newspaper.
Former roommates Smit, 40, and Hansen, 37, each face felony charges that include attempted murder of a police officer for trying to fire a World War II-era training rocket at the Hemet police station, and conspiracy to kill a detective. The men are suspected in six other attempted attacks and fires that detectives believe were carried out to prevent an officer who arrested Smit on marijuana charges from testifying against him, the Press-Enterprise reported.
All together, the attacks constituted a campaign of terror against police that played out between December 2009 and July 2010, beginning when Hemet detective Chuck Johnson found Panji boards near his squad car. Several weeks after that, on New Year’s Eve, a police building was filled with natural gas in what appeared to be preparation for an explosion that never came. The harassment continued in the following months when a remotely rigged zip gun fired a bullet at an officer and missed, and a series of arsonist fires torched four Hemet city trucks. Officers, as a precaution, were told to inspect their squad cars for tampering each day before duty. Roadblocks went up behind the main police station, and blast-proof glass, barricades and fences were installed.
Despite the lack of success Smit and Hansen had inflicting injury with their attacks, DeLimon said some officers have suffered psychological trauma as a result. “You can imagine that after basically being hunted for nine months, some of the officers are pretty shaken up,” he said.