Special Edition - A periodic update from the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith - Civi

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Special Edition - A periodic update from the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith - Civil Rights Division. June 1993 W.A.R. Veteran -------------- Tom Metzger's Long March of Hate Tom Metzger, a 54-year-old television repairman from Fallbrook, California, may be America's most notorious hatemonger. His nearly 30-year career in the radical right has included affiliation with the John Birch Society in the 1960s, the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s, and his own organization, White Aryan Resistance (WAR), during the 80s and 90s. On October 23, 1990, an Oregon jury rendered a $12.5 million judgment against Metzger and his son, John, for their role in inciting neo-Nazi skinheads to murder Mulugeta Seraw, an Ethiopian immigrant, in Portland two years earlier. The Portland Trial On the night of November 12, 1988, a neo-Nazi skinhead gang in Portland called the East Side White Pride attacked three Ethiopian immigrants with a baseball bat and steel-toed boots; Seraw was killed. Investigation into the murder revealed links between the skinheads - three of whom were convicted of murder - and Metzger's White Aryan Resistance. Crucial among these links was a letter to the skinheads signed by Metzger, which stated in part: "Soon you will meet Dave Mazzella, our national vice-president, who will be in Portland to teach you how we operate and to help you understand more about WAR...." Among the operations Mazella taught the Portland gang was attacking people of color. Mazzella later explained: "Tom Metzger said the only way to get respect from skinheads is to teach them how to commit violence against Blacks, against Jews, Hispanics, any minority. The word will spread and they'll know our group is one you can respect." Mazzella, who was not charged in connection with the murder, later decideed to renounce his racist past and his ties to the Metzgers. He did so by contacting ADL; he later revealed that while a WAR member, he had cased the League's Los Angeles office several times, planning to blow it up. Mazella became a key witness in the civil lawsuit brought on behalf of Seraw's family by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and ADL.* The jury awarded the Seraw family $12.5 million, distributed as follows: WAR, $5 million; Tom Metzger, $3 million; his son John, $4 million; and two of the murderers, $500,000. Upheld on appeal on April 20, 1993, this judgment is one of the largest civil verdicts of its kind in U.S. history. A Genealogy of Hatred Metzger, an Indiana native, moved to Southern California in 1961 to work in the electronics field. By the mid 1970s, he had joined David Duke's Louisiana-based Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, eventually becoming "Grand Dragon" of its California branch, one of the largest and most violent groups in the organization. Also in 1975, Metzger was ordained a "minister" in the Louisiana-based New Christian Crusade Church, an "Identity" group led by James K. Warner, a veteran of the American Nazi Party also associated with Duke.** A Foray Into Politics In the fall of 1980, Metzger was the surprise winner of a California Congressional primary. In the November general election, the Klan leader faced incumbent Rep. Clair Burgener, who defeated Metzger by a margin of over 210,000 votes (88% to 12%). Metzger soon left the California Klan and formed the White American Political Association, the forerunner of WAR. Next Metzger ran in a primary for the U.S. Senate from California in 1982, and received 75,593 votes - roughly 2.8% of the total cast. Following this defeat, Metzger's organization adopted its current name; the change from a "Political Association" to an "Aryan Resistance" group reflected a shift toward more openly violent, totalitarian rhetoric. A Family Affair Metzger now found a receptive audience among a newer segment of the extremist underworld - the neo-Nazi skinheads. Metzger's outreach to the skinheads has been largely orchestrated by his son John, who has served as nominal head of WAR Youth (previously known as the Aryan Youth Movement and the White Student Union). The recuiting effort involved appearances by Tom and John Metzger on radio and TV talk shows. One such appearance, a November 1988 segment of the "Geraldo Rivera Show," led to an onstage brawl in which Rivera's nose was broken by a flying chair. Sensing the publicity and recruitment benefits of television exposure, the Metzgers had begun their own public access TV series, "Race and Reason," in 1983. The show now claims distribution in 49 markets in 13 states. The Aryan Women's League Another skinhead outreach program operating under the WAR umbrella is the Aryan Women's League (AWL), ostensibly led by Metzger's daughter, Lynn. A 1989 editorial in White Aryan Resistance's publication, WAR, described the women's auxiliary by stating: "The A.W.L. is trying to recruit White racially concious women to battle the Jew/mud/Zombie/Mutant, degenerate, lesbos...This Jew-dyke conspiracy... has to stop as it is the jews' [sic] most vicious campaign against us yet..." Telephone Bulletins Ad additional propaganda outlet for WAR is a taped telephone call-in line (updated every few days). These messages are, of course, replete with Metzger's familiar hatemongering; moreover, they often offer news about skinhead gangs affiliated with WAR, as well as predicatble tirades against rival hate group leaders and Metzger's legal adversaries, ADL and SPLC. In response to the 1992 Los Angeles riots, Metzger also used the telephone hotline to express a perverse solidarity with the looters: "The courts and the police along with our keepers in Washington are corrupt to the core...Any attack on that system that weakens Big Brother is fine with white separatists...Too bad they didn't take out City Hall and the Federal Building." After the Oregon Verdict Further legal troubles befell Metzger in late 1991 when he was brought up on misdemeanor charges of unlawful assembly for his role in a 1983 cross-burning incident in Los Angeles. Found guilty, his sentence was commuted after serving 46 days so that Metzger could attend to his ailing wife, Kathleen, who died in March 1992. As a result of this conviction, Metzger was ordered not to leave the country without permission. Nonetheless, he was deported from Canada in July 1992 after attempting to attend a rally of the extremist Heritage Front in Toronto. Since the Portland decision, Metzger's assets - including his home - have been seized to help compensate the Seraw family. Although it is unlikely that Metzger will ever fully pay his portion of the $12.5 million judgment, all subsequent revenues have been accounted for through court supervision so that a substantial percentage of WAR's profits have gone toward this penalty. Yet Metzger's hotlines and publications continue to generate support. Given his track record of hatred and violence, his continuing presence on the extremist scene remains cause for concern. * The League was responsible for introducing another key item of evidence which demonstrated Metzger's advocacy of violence - a photograph of Metzger with an AK-47, instructing a group of racist skinheads in the desert. ** See also "Religion as Bigotry: The Identity Church Movement," ADL Special Edition, October 1991. 1993 Anti-Defamation League


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