Book depicting bombing popular in hate groups

April 24, 1995|By Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON -- A virulently racist book that fosters hatred of the federal government and depicts a car bombing of FBI headquarters using ammonium nitrate fertilizer -- the type of explosive used in the Oklahoma City attack -- has circulated among some of the nation's most extreme right-wing groups for almost two decades.

The bombing portrayed in "The Turner Diaries" bears a striking resemblance to what happened in Oklahoma City, according to some experts who study hate groups. For example, in the book -- which the FBI has called "a blueprint for revolution" -- the bombing takes place at 9:15 a.m., almost precisely the time of day of the Oklahoma City explosion.

In at least one other case, an armed robbery staged by a white supremacist in Seattle a decade ago, FBI officials said they believed the perpetrator had copied some aspects of his crime from the "Turner Diaries" plot.

In that case, Robert J. Mathews was charged in a $500,000 armed robbery and counterfeiting plot that officials said was aimed at financing efforts to overthrow the government. In a formal complaint in the Seattle case, FBI agent Norman D. Stephenson said that Mr. Mathews had found ed the hate group "White American Bastion" and had closely followed the plot of "The Turner Diaries."

After wounding an FBI agent while escaping from a hotel in Portland, Ore., Mr. Mathews burned to death after a 34-hour standoff with FBI agents. The agents accidentally ignited the house Mr. Mathews was in with illumination flares.

A specialist in studying hate groups, who declined to be identified, said that a member of one of the groups gave him a copy of the book about two months ago "as something I should read if I wanted to understand the far-right extremists."

"I read it last February; it left me depressed," said the specialist. "It's written as a novel, but it isn't a novel."

"The Turner Diaries" has circulated among groups connected with heavily armed separatists who have fought gun battles in recent years with federal agents in several states, including Washington in 1984 and Idaho in 1992.

Many of the organizations have tried to recruit members from the military.

The book's author and publisher, William L. Pierce, is the leader of the neo-Nazi National Alliance, an extremist group that government officials allege advocates violence and crime.

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