posted on Apr, 9 2003 @ 05:58 PM
Anthrax attacks' 'work of neo-Nazis'
War on Terrorism: Observer special
Ed Vulliamy in New York
Sunday October 28, 2001
Neo-Nazi extremists within the US are behind the deadly wave of anthrax
attacks against America, according to latest briefings from the security
services and Justice Department.
Experts on 'survivalist' groups and extreme-right 'Aryan' militants have
been drafted into the investigation as the focus shifts away from possible
links with the 11 September terrorists or even possible state backers such
'We've been zeroing in on a number of hate groups, especially one on the
West Coast,' a source at the Justice Department told The Observer yesterday.
'We've certainly not discounted the possibility that they may be involved.'
The anthrax crisis, which grew last week, had by Friday night spread to
mailrooms at CIA headquarters, the Supreme Court and a hospital, and
yesterday three traces were found in an office building serving the US
'There are a number of strong leads, and some people we know well that we
are looking at,' the Justice Department said. 'These are groups organised
into militia and "survivalist" movements - which pull out of society and
take to the hills to make war on the government, and who will support anyone
else making war on the government.'
Investigators are examining threatening letters sent to media organisations
- some dated before the 11 September attacks - which did not contain anthrax
but contained similar messages and handwriting style as those which later
did. The theory is that the anthrax attacks were planned - and the killer
germ was obtained and treated - long before the carnage of 11 September.
Speaking to The Observer yesterday, the Justice Department official said:
'We have to see the right wing as much better coordinated than its apparent
disorganisation suggests. And we have to presume that their opposition to
government is just as virulent as that of the Islamic terrorists, if not as
'But that is, in its way, one of the most compelling possible leads in the
anthrax trail - that it is not really al-Qaeda's style, but rather that of
others who sympathise with its war against the American government and
The official said the investigation had, in the past week, drafted in
special teams from the Civil Rights division of the department to reinforce
the international terrorism teams. The American neo-Nazi Right is motivated
above all by its loathing of the federal government, which it believes is
selling out the homeland to a 'New World Order' run by masons and Jews.
Its insane politics have propelled numerous attacks and armed stand-offs
over the past eight years, culminating in the carnage at Oklahoma. Now the
anthrax investigation is zooming in on possible connections between these
neo-Nazis and Arab extremists, united by their mutual anti-Semitism and
hatred of Israel. Such alliances have been common among neo-Nazis in Europe,
but have played a lesser role in the US. However, monitoring of the hate
groups shows they are now embracing al-Qaeda's terrorism as commendable
attacks on the federal government.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal centre in Los Angeles said that
at a meeting in Lebanon this year, US neo-Nazis were represented alongside
Islamic militants. 'There's a great solidarity with the point of view of the
bin Ladens of the world,' said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law
Centre, which monitors the far right. 'These people wouldn't let their
daughters near an Arab, but they are certainly making common cause on an
ideological level. They see the same enemy: American culture and
Neo-Nazi websites, including the largest umbrella organisation, the National
Alliance, show support for al-Qaeda. Billy Roper, the alliance's membership
coordinator posted a message within hours of the 11 September attacks,
reading: 'Anyone who is willing to drive a plane into a building to kill
Jews is all right by me. I wish our members had half as much testicular
fortitude.' Another group, Aryan Action, praised the attacks of 11
September, saying: 'Either you're fighting with the Jews against al-Qaeda or
you support al-Qaeda fighting against the Jews.' Others outwardly support
the anthrax mailing.
One message, entitled 'No Sympathy for the Devil', was posted in several
chat rooms by right-winger Grant Bruer, whose racist writings are circulated
among supremacist groups. It reads: 'Is there not a single person who has
received these anthrax letters that isn't an avowed enemy of the white race?
Tom Brokaw, Tom Daschle and the gossip rag offices have all been 100 per
cent legitimate targets. Who among us has the slightest bit of sympathy for
Right-wing groups have had an interest in anthrax and other biological
agents. A member of the Aryan Nation group once bragged he had a stash of
anthrax from digging up a field where cows had died of the disease in the
1950s. Larry Wayne Harris was arrested after trying to obtain three vials of
bubonic plague from a mail-order science company.
The trail leading investigators to groups from the domestic ultra-right -
rather than the al-Qaeda terror network - comes as a dramatic twist in the
confused crisis. Last week, parallel evidence appeared to be linking the now
rampant anthrax attacks to another trail: leading from Iraq and through the
Czech Republic, with al-Qaeda militants as the likely couriers.
The shift in the investigation echoes that which followed America's other
infamous terrorist attack: the destruction of the federal government
building in Oklahoma City in 1995. The bombing was initially thought to be
the work of Arab extremists, but turned out to be the work of the Aryan