2012 April » ADL Blogs
April 30, 2012

FBI Arrests Minnesota White Supremacists on Weapons, Drug Charges

Following a nearly two-year undercover investigation, the FBI arrested two Minnesota white supremacists last week on weapons and drug charges, respectively, in connection with what authorities have suggested was an embryonic plot to attack the U.S. government, minorities, and “left-wing” targets. 

Samuel Johnson, 31, from Austin, Minnesota, was charged with being a convicted felon in possession of weapons.  Johnson, who had several convictions on charges such as robbery and attempted robbery, was allegedly found to be in possession of at least five firearms.  Joseph Thomas, 42, of Mendota Heights, was indicted on drug charges related to alleged possession of methamphetamine. Both men face the likelihood of lengthy prison sentences if convicted; it is possible more charges may follow.

According to a search warrant affidavit, the two white supremacists may have had violent plans.  The affidavit alleges that Johnson was trying to form a new group, the Aryan Liberation Movement, with the goal of committing violent acts against government or minority targets.  It also claims that Thomas told the undercover officer that he had tried to obtain explosives and automatic weapons in order to “conduct attacks on left-wing individuals.”

The Anti-Defamation League had been tracking Johnson for several years, ever since he and another white supremacist, Robert Hester, formed a small southern Minnesota chapter of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement and began holding a series of local anti-immigration protests in 2009. 

Johnson has previously expressed that violence is a viable tactic.  In an on-line post he made in December 2010, he asked “Why don’t we stand up and save ourselves?  Why will we not make the first attack?”  He finished his screed with “Are you ready to fight for your Race and Nation?  THEN WHY ARE YOU STILL SITTING HERE?  GATHER YOUR ARMIES!!!!!”    In July 2011, Johnson began trying to recruit for his would-be Aryan Liberation Movement, posting on one white supremacist site that “we are trying to get some good actions going in this state.”

After Johnson’s arrest, Hester posted an angry message to a social networking profile created by the undercover officer:  “Did your dirty work and took a brother, [expletive] u agent.”

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April 30, 2012

FBI Arrests Minnesota White Supremacists on Weapons, Drug Charges

Following a nearly two-year undercover investigation, the FBI arrested two Minnesota white supremacists last week on weapons and drug charges, respectively, in connection with what authorities have suggested was an embryonic plot to attack the U.S. government, minorities, and “left-wing” targets. 

Samuel Johnson, 31, from Austin, Minnesota, was charged with being a convicted felon in possession of weapons.  Johnson, who had several convictions on charges such as robbery and attempted robbery, was allegedly found to be in possession of at least five firearms.  Joseph Thomas, 42, of Mendota Heights, was indicted on drug charges related to alleged possession of methamphetamine. Both men face the likelihood of lengthy prison sentences if convicted; it is possible more charges may follow.

According to a search warrant affidavit, the two white supremacists may have had violent plans.  The affidavit alleges that Johnson was trying to form a new group, the Aryan Liberation Movement, with the goal of committing violent acts against government or minority targets.  It also claims that Thomas told the undercover officer that he had tried to obtain explosives and automatic weapons in order to “conduct attacks on left-wing individuals.”

The Anti-Defamation League had been tracking Johnson for several years, ever since he and another white supremacist, Robert Hester, formed a small southern Minnesota chapter of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement and began holding a series of local anti-immigration protests in 2009. 

Johnson has previously expressed that violence is a viable tactic.  In an on-line post he made in December 2010, he asked “Why don’t we stand up and save ourselves?  Why will we not make the first attack?”  He finished his screed with “Are you ready to fight for your Race and Nation?  THEN WHY ARE YOU STILL SITTING HERE?  GATHER YOUR ARMIES!!!!!”    In July 2011, Johnson began trying to recruit for his would-be Aryan Liberation Movement, posting on one white supremacist site that “we are trying to get some good actions going in this state.”

After Johnson’s arrest, Hester posted an angry message to a social networking profile created by the undercover officer:  “Did your dirty work and took a brother, [expletive] u agent.”

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April 27, 2012

BDS Movement Gains Support of Activist Chicano Student Group

Leaders of the National Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA), a Chicano student organization, recently voted to endorse the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS). The endorsement was approved at the group’s 18th annual conference in Phoenix, Arizona, on March 30. A press release issued after the conference noted that BDS is necessary in light of Israel’s “military occupation and settlement of Palestine.”

The Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapters at Arizona State University and the University of Arizona helped MeChA arrive at its endorsement and, according to the statement, led several workshops on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the conference.

One of the sessions was called “Concrete Connections,” which compared the U.S.-Mexico border fence to the Israeli security fence in the West Bank, and explored the potential for “cross-movement building” for Palestinians and Latin-Americans. The statement about the conference concluded with, “Together, these civil societies – from Arizona to Palestine – are working towards one goal of fighting oppression and resisting everyday injustice.”

Earlier this week, the Pacific Northwest chapter of MeChA held a regional conference at The Evergreen State College (TESC) in which it endorsed BDS as well. During the conference, MeChA-Evergreen invited other activists involved in the divestment campaign (known as TESC Divest!) to participate in a teach-in connecting the BDS movement to the “indigenous struggles in the Americas.”

A statement issued by the group read, “We recognize that our peoples’ historical and present struggles – against deportation, occupation, exploitation, and dehumanization – in Arizona, in the border, and in the United States – not only coincide, but are also connected to Palestinians’ struggle against Israeli military occupation and settlement of Palestine.”

TESC Divest! has been spearheaded by SJP at Evergreen, as well as the newly formed Olympia, Washington, chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP).

In recent years, there has been growing collaboration between MeChA, which has approximately 400 chapters around the United States, and Palestinian solidarity groups. Campus chapters of MeChA and SJP (largely on West Coast campuses and especially at University of California schools) have co-sponsored a variety of events seeking to highlight connections between Palestinians and the Latino-American community.

MeChA chapters have even co-sponsored anti-Israel events on campus that have featured extreme speakers and anti-Semites, including an appearance by Amir Abdul Malik Ali at the University of California, Riverside in May 2009. At the appearance, Malik Ali claimed that U.S. politicians are controlled by Israel, warned that although “many are afraid of Zionists…Muslims are not afraid” and described Israelis as “the new Nazis.”

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