FORT SMITH, Ark. -- A white supremacist leader warned others at an Aryan Nations convention in 1983 that their talk about overthrowing the U.S. government was treasonous, a minister who attended the meeting testified Friday.
Dale Strange, of the Christian Identity Church in Pennsylvania, took the stand in the trial of 10 white supremacists charged with seditious conspiracy. One of the 10 and four others are charged with plotting to kill a federal judge and an FBI agent, and two of the 14 also are charged with interstate transportation of stolen money.
Strange said one of the ideas discussed at the Arian Nations meeting in Hayden Lake, Idaho, was for 'Aryan warrior tote bags' in which group activists would place the heads of judges, politicians and minority members they had killed.
At the gathering, described by defendant Richard Miles as the ''most important meeting of the right wing,'' according to Strange, leaders talked about unifying white supremacist groups.
Strange said James Ellison, a leader of the white supremacist group The Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord of Mountain Home, Ark., warned those at the meeting that what they were doing was treason.
Ellison is expected to testify next week as the government's key witness.
Defendant Louis R. Beam Jr., 41, former grand dragon of the Texas Ku Klux Klan, discussed a nationwide computer network to coordinate various white supremacist groups at the gathering, Strange said.
Two journalists who conducted an exclusive series of interviews with white supremacist leaders at Hayden Lake in 1983, testified Friday that Beam described a point system that awarded members who killed enemies of the movement.
Under the system, the most points went for killing rich Jews, said Ann Russell and Michael Martin, two student journalists at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., at the time of the interviews.
The execution of civil rights leaders and federal agents earned mid-range points, and the lowest number of points went for the slaying of a 'common street nigger,' Martin quoted Beam as saying.
Martin testified that Beam predicted a revolution would overthrow the U.S. government and a new constitution would be in place by 1989.
Russell testified that she interviewed Beam on the back porch of the home of the Rev. Richard Butler, 69, leader of the Aryan Nation's Church, at the group's compound in Hayden Lake.
'He said that like Thomas Jefferson, he chose the right to overthrow the government,' said Russell.
When asked by Beam's attorney David Dunagin if she thought Beam was a 'crackpot,' Russell responded, 'He concerned me. He struck me as too intelligent for that.'
Russell said Butler told her the Aryan Nations were at war with 'the Jewnited States' and that he called it a 'religious war.'
She said Butler told her the group was recruiting from jails for a war and was conducting paramilitary training somewhere in the northwest.