NEW YORK (Jan. 28)
Rightwing extremist groups have adopted modern computer technology to aid in spreading their radical forms of racial and religious bigotry, according to the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith. The ADL reported that two such computer systems are currently operating in the United States with access obtained through home computers and a modem or phone link up.
Justin Finger, director of the ADL’s civil rights division, warned that the danger from computerized dissemination of hate material “lies not only in facilitating the spread of bigotry and anti-democratic propaganda, but in its potential impact on impressionable young people many of whom today are computer users.”
Finger, however, added that “although purveyors of hate material are seeking to adapt to the computer age, we see little evidence to suggest a great leap forward in the spread of anti-Semitic and racist propaganda.” Nonetheless, the use of computer technology by extremist groups, according to Finger, “is a development which merits continued monitoring.”
ONE OF THE HATE GROUPS DESCRIBED
The ADL, in a six-page report, “Computerized Networks of Hate,” contended that the more widely publicized of the two computer networks is operated by the Aryan Nations, an Idaho-based group that disseminates racist and anti-Semitic propaganda and which seeks to set up a “nationalist racist state.”
Known as the “Aryan National Liberty Net,” the computer network was established and is run by Louis Beam, a leader of the Aryan Nations and a grand dragon of the Texas state unit of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. The ADL noted in its report that some members of the Aryan Nations splinter group have been implicated in a series of armed robberies and shootouts with law enforcement officials.
ANOTHER HATE GROUP TRAGEDY
The other computerized hate network, “Info International,” is operated out of West Virginia by George Dietz, a farm broker who runs Liberty Bell Publications, one of the largest outlets for neo-Nazi literature in the U.S., according to the ADL. Dietz emigrated to the U.S. in 1957 from Germany, where he had earlier been a member of the Hitler Youth Organization, the ADL report said.
His “Info International” is similar in content to the Aryan Nations’ network and also purveys anti-Semitism, including Holocaust revisionism that questions the reality of the Nazi massacre of Jews. The hate messages on both networks include anti-Israel and anti-Zionist propaganda.
The ADL report gave the following account of how the computer network is used: Access to the Aryan Nations Liberty Net is made by dialing specified phone numbers in Idaho, Texas or North Carolina. Once the connection is made, the caller follows a few simple commands to receive a variety of hate messages. Authorized users of the system are encouraged to deposit their own hate messages.
For example, the ADL reported, a network message left by Midwest Aryan Nations’ leader Robert Miles — under his code name of “Fafnir” — predicts that the violent tactics of the Irish Republican Army “will be seen across this land” and goes on to state that the younger members of hate groups such as his “have no time for pamphlets, for speeches, for gatherings. They know their role … They are the armed party.”
HATE GROUP PROVIDES AN ‘ENEMIES’ LIST
In addition to hate propaganda, the ADL said the Aryan Nations’ network supplies under the heading of “enemies” a listing of the addresses and phone numbers of the ADL’s national and regional offices. In the same category are listed what the Aryan Nations refer to as “informers” for the “Zionist Occupational Government,” its name for the U.S. government. Another group of “enemies” is labeled “race traitors” and is accessible, the network claims, only to callers with special clearance.
Also provided are the names and addresses of so-called patriotic organizations including a variety of neo-Nazi, Klan and armed racist groups such as the Christian Patriots Defense League and the Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord. The computer supplies dates and locations of their meetings, according to the ADL report, prepared by the fact finding department of its civil rights division.