Copyright 1989 The Financial Times Limited
Financial Times (London)
December 30, 1989, Saturday
SECTION: SECTION I; Overseas News; Pg. 2
LENGTH: 344 words
HEADLINE: US racist group claims responsibility for bombings
BYLINE: LIONEL BARBER, WASHINGTON
A PREVIOUSLY unknown US white racist group has claimed responsibility for a series of bombings in the South which included the killing of a Federal judge and a prominent black civil rights leader.
The FBI said it is treating seriously the claim which appeared in a letter signed 'Americans for a Competent Federal Judiciary' which was read out in part on a television news station in Atlanta.
In the letter, the group also threatened to kill two unnamed leading members of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, the black civil rights group, in reprisal for the rape and murder of a white exercise class teacher in Atlanta in 1988.
Last August, two black men were charged with rape and kidnapping in the widely publicised case.
The TV station's decision to broadcast portions of the letter was made on the advice of the FBI, which was concerned about a threat of further violence if the letter was not made available to the media. But the move has already proved controversial.
One TV official said 'it is a strange situation to be covering the story and then becoming part of it.' Other observers noted the letter's violent, racist language which included a threat to kill one federal judge, one attorney and one NAACP member 'anytime a black man rapes a white woman in Alabama, Florida or Georgia.'
Going public with the letter on Thursday night has aroused fears among the black community in Atlanta that a new, racially motivated white supremacist network may have sprung up. But there is no firm proof of this and the FBI believes it could be the work of a deranged individual.
The FBI also disclosed that the same group sent out letters last week after this month's pipe Bomb attacks, two of which were defused and two of which exploded, killing Judge Robert Vance in his Birmingham, Alabama home and Mr Robert Robinson, an attorney in Savannah, Georgia. Until recently, there had been speculation that the killings were reprisals for the Bush administration's crackdown on Latin American narcotics traffickers. RACE & RACISM (90%); JUDGES (90%); MURDER (78%); LAWYERS (78%); TELEVISION INDUSTRY (76%); VIOLENT CRIME (75%); TELEVISION PROGRAMMING (71%);