The Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith today charged that guerrilla-style training camps and other military-oriented activities are being conducted by the Ku Klux Klan and other far right groups in seven states.
The league urged Attonery General Benjamin Civiletti to authorize renewed FBI surveillance of the groups. The fact that groups with a history of "lynchings, arson and murder" are training themselves suggests "they may just possibly engage in further acts of violence," said ADL national director Nathan Perlmutter.
Perlmutter also disclosed that the Stte Department last week deported two members of a Belgian neofacist terrorist organization who apparently came to the United States to meet with leaders of the right-wing National States' Rights Party in Marietta, Ga. A department spokesman tonight confirmed the deportations.
ADL officials said the training operations are part of a national resurgence by Klan groups, whose numbers have more than doubled over the last four years from 5,000 to more than 11,000. The ADL outlined clandestine training camps operated by far right groups in five states, including:
Near Cullman, Ala., the Lousiana-based "Invisible Empire, Knights of the KKK" has organized a squad of 15 fatigue-dressed men and women who train with M-16 rifles on a shooting range and obstacle course. The ADL said the state's "Grand Dragon" has claimed the camp, named "My Lai," is one of several in Alabama and that camp sites are changed every three months.
In Benson, N.C., Klan members, neo-Nazis and States' Rights Party members drill at a party-operated facility with handguns and semiautomatic weapons. The report says the Nazis wear black shirts and swastika armbands for training, while Klan members wear Confederate-style gray uniforms and black boots. It says some trainees from the camp were arrested in connection with last year's Greensboro, N.C., shootout in which five Communist Workers Party members were killed.
In rural East Texas near Anhuac, 200 to 500 members of the "Texas Emergency Reserve," the paramilitary arm of the state Klan, have been trained in tactical maneuvers, military drills and weapons proficiency. The weapons include Colt AR-15 assault rifles with special grenade launchers, according to the report.
The ADL also described training camps in Illinois and Connecticut and systems the right wing groups have for distributing instruction manuals on terrorism and guerrilla warfare in California and Virginia.
In Virginia, ADL regional director Norman Olshansky accused Mark Bonds, a part-time college student from the western Virginia city of Christianburg, of operating with two groups that sell and distribute hate literature and military handbooks. The books discuss subjects such as guerrilla warfare and how to set booby traps and other explosive devices.
Bonds confirmed his involvement in the handbook distribution in a telephone interview but said the ADL was overemphasizing the paramilitary part of his business. Bonds, who said he was a former Klan member, added: "I don't believe in violence, but I do believe that the Christian majority in America has a right to defend itself."
Perlmutter argued that the paramilitary activity and the violence it might cause justified tighter monitoring of groups by the FBI. "Somewhere you have to draw a line between the right to be free of intrusion by Big Brother and the right of a free people to receive protection from murder and maiming by groups like the Klan," he said.
Although he did not specify the type of surveillance activities he felt the FBI should undertake, Perlmutter said he believed undercover agents were morally acceptable "if that's what it takes to protect people from predatory actions by the Klan."
A Justice Department spokesman said today Attorney General Civiletti had not yet received the ADL report and would have no comment until he did. Efforts to reach Robert Shelton and William Wilkinson, leaders of two national Klan groups, for comment were unsuccessful.