Government Foils Skinhead Plot to Assassinate Obama
2008 Associated Press
Federal agents have disrupted a plot to assassinate Barack Obama and shoot or decapitate dozens of black students in Tennessee, the ATF said Monday.
In court records unsealed Monday, federal agents said they disrupted plans to rob a gun store and target a predominantly African-American high school by two neo-Nazi skinheads. Agents said the skinheads did not identify the school by name.
A source in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told FOX News that the two skinheads, who were picked up in Crockett County, Tenn., were plotting to shoot 88 black students and decapitate 14 others described as non-whites. The source said officials believe the suspects were planning to attempt an assassination against Obama.
The numbers 88 and 14 are symbolic in the white supremacist community.
But officials could not describe how advanced or credible the plot was, nor could they say if they had contacted the Obama campaign.
Jim Cavanaugh, special agent in charge of the Nashville field office for the ATF, said the suspects also sought to go on a national killing spree, with Obama as its final target.
"They said that would be their last, final act -- that they would attempt to kill Sen. Obama," Cavanaugh said. "They didn't believe they would be able to do it, but that they would get killed trying."
Obama spokesman Bill Burton said the campaign would have no comment on the alleged plot.
The men, Daniel Cowart, 20, of Bells, Tenn., and Paul Schlesselman 18, of West Helena, Ark., are being held without bond. Agents seized a rifle, a sawed-off shotgun and three pistols from the men when they were arrested. Authorities alleged the two men were preparing to break into a gun shop to steal more.
Attorney Joe Byrd, who has been hired to represent Cowart, did not immediately return a call seeking comment Monday.
Cowart and Schlesselman are charged with possessing an unregistered firearm, conspiring to steal firearms from a federally licensed gun dealer, and threatening a candidate for president.
Internet Hate describes the rapidly expanding practice utilized by racists and extremists to place anti-Semitic, racist, and other hateful material on the World Wide Web. The growth of the Internet has enabled bigoted and sometimes violent messages to reach a much wider and broader audience than ever before. Consequently, these messages of hate have become widely accessible online - in homes, offices, schools, and libraries.
For years extremists have used printing of every kind -- books, pamphlets, posters, newspapers, magazines -- to get their message out. They have also tried to use modern inventions such as movies. radio, television, recorded audio and video tape and even telephone messages to spread their beliefs. So it is not surprising that they have decided to take their hate to the Internet. The Internet lets them reach millions with a click of a mouse.
Haters use the World Wide Web with its colorful web pages, sounds, and images to push propaganda attacking their enemies. Some of these pages suggest that violent action is needed. Old lies are reprinted and new ones are created. Neo-Nazi Skinheads try to sell the latest CDs filled with calls for "racial holy war."
It is fairly easy to create a simple Web page. Many bigots have. They often try to create the false impression that many people are involved in their activities. This frightens their targets and encourages supporters.
The number of racists and anti-Semites is small compared to the rest of the population; in addition, they are fairly spread out. Yet, on the Internet, they can find people who think like them, which strengthens their beliefs and makes them feel less isolate.
Because extremists on the Internet can hide their real identity behind screen names and addresses (like anyone else), they feel free to attack those they hate. They realize there is no way for anyone to know who they are.
This blog was created to shine a light on who these haters are, where they hang out on the web, and the methods they employ to try and intimidate their victims.