COLUMNS

A Nazi quandry

Staff Writer
Woodford Times

Recently the news has been full of stories about two white supremacists allegedly plotting to assassinate Ill. Sen. Barack Obama (D) while he is on the presidential election trail, and then go on a nation-wide killing spree and decapitating African-Americans.

Upstaged by this story was yet another one involving Neo-Nazi’s that has ties to Peoria Heights.

Laurence Hammack, a reporter for the Roanoke (Va.) Times wrote Oct. 23 that Bill White has been charged with soliciting others to injure or threaten someone identified only as Juror A in

the 2004 trial of Peoria’s most notorious racist Matt Hale.

White, head of the American National Socialist Worker’s Party, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Chicago on a charge of encouraging violence.

White runs a magazine, a blog and a very popular Web site among Neo-Nazi’s called Overthrow.com — now down — from which he targeted people for derision or threats. Among the local targets for the ANSWP were several reporters — myself included — and Bradley University professor Ollie Nanyes.

But, the local connection goes deeper. The ANSWP has an Illinois chapter headed by Peoria Heights resident Philip Anderson.

Anderson, while chairman of the Illinois chapter, is a shadowy figure. Unlike White, Anderson shuns publicity unless he initiates it. He always let White handle the media for him.

Despite the threats from White, I find myself in a quandry.

Hammack reported at the federal court hearing last week for White that Judge Michael Urbanski said the case raises significant free speech implications.

White described himself to the judge as a ‘tabloid journalist.”

“It is a very interesting legal issue as to whether the language used in this case constitutes a true threat,” Urbanski said.

White in his Web site posting did what he usually did. He made remarks about the jury foreman being a traitor to the white race and published his whereabouts.

The government contends White was inciting others to take action against the juror. That, they say crosses the line between words and action.

This is exactly what White did to me and has done to other local residents.

Does White’s rhetoric cross the line?

That is exactly what will be decided in Chicago.

And, I’m left to ponder where I stand.

Right now my feeling is a slippery slope is a slippery slope no matter how despicable the person is standing on it.