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From miasaura@ccnis.net Thu Oct  3 11:04:42 PDT 1996
Article: 45597 of alt.politics.white-power
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From: "Annie Alpert, OFB" 
Newsgroups: alt.politics.white-power,alt.skinheads,alt.politics.nationalism.white
Subject: Bo Gritz under lock and key
Date: Wed, 02 Oct 1996 21:01:08 -0400
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New York Times October 2, 1996
Bo Gritz Accused of Attempted Kidnapping
Reported by JONATHAN RABINOVITZ
  
HARTFORD, Conn.  --  For years, Bo Gritz, a former Green Beret commando
and a leader of the far-right militia movement, has warned of government
conspiracies to restrict freedoms and called for upright citizens to arm
themselves and move to the Idaho hills to escape government tyranny and
survive Armageddon.

On Monday, the authorities say, Gritz saw one more example of conspiracy
and tried to end it. They say he tried to kidnap two young boys who he
believed had been unjustly taken from their mother and placed by a
Connecticut judge with a father who Gritz's backers say may be a
pedophile and may be associated with a Satanic cult.

James G. Gritz, 57, known as Bo, and his son, James R. Gritz, 38, were
arrested Monday afternoon while waiting for one boy in a parking lot of
the McAlister Middle School in Suffield, a small town on the
Massachusetts border where they live.

The Gritzes were arraigned Tuesday in state Superior Court in Enfield on
charges of criminal attempt to commit kidnapping in the first degree,
criminal attempt to commit custodial interference and loitering on
school grounds.

The younger Gritz was also charged with possession of a weapon, a
modified switchblade, on school grounds and burglar tools.  Jon
Schoenhorn, a lawyer for Bo Gritz, said, "He absolutely and
categorically denies that he was there to kidnap or grab the kids in any
way that would interfere with the custodial relationship."   Schoenhorn
added that the mother, Linda M. Wiegand, also denied any plan to abduct
the two boys.

But there is no question that Gritz and his son were in Connecticut to
work on the case. Gritz had met with Ms. Wiegand at least once over the
last two months and had featured her on his syndicated radio show.

A news release from Gritz's political group in Kamiah, Idaho, the Center
for Action, said he was in Connecticut to investigate the case "with the
hopes of securing national media attention to Linda's plight and
securing the release of the boys to her."   School authorities and the
Suffield police had been watching the two children closely the last few
weeks, after Thomas Wilkinson, the father of the 7-year-old boy and
stepfather of the 10-year-old, had alerted them of plans for a
kidnapping. A friend of Ms. Wiegand's had told Wilkinson that Ms.
Wiegand was working with a group known as the Christian Militia to take
them back, Wilkinson said in an interview Tuesday.

The prosecutor, John H. Malone, said the authorities found pictures of
the two boys, their school schedules and letters belonging to Ms.
Wiegand in the Gritzes' car, which was registered under a pseudonym Ms.
Wiegand has used.

Bo Gritz is something of an elder in militia circles. He gave regular
talks at militia meetings, where he peddled sets of paramilitary
training videos for $60, and has a newsletter and radio show, "Freedom
Calls," which is broadcast on 43 stations. 

He is perhaps best-known for his role as a mediator in an 11-day stand-off in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in 1992, in which federal officials cornered a survivalist, Randall Weaver in his home, after a shootout in which Weaver's wife and son and a deputy U.S. marshal were killed. Gritz succeeded in persuading Weaver to give himself up. More recently, Gritz, a retired Green Beret colonel who served in Vietnam, tried to serve as a mediator in the dispute between the Freemen and federal agents in Montana, though he ultimately left, frustrated by the Freemen's intransigence and views about the legal system differing >from his own. Over the last few years, Gritz, who was briefly David Duke's running mate in Duke's 1988 presidential bid, has established an armed "Christian Patriot" movement in Idaho and is developing several "covenant communities" that he has said would be "off the umbilical," independent of the government. Gritz has preached that an apocalypse is near, that a new world order under the command of the United Nations is threatening Americans' freedom and that a time is nearing when every citizen will have to accept the "mark of the beast," a bar-code implant in either the forehead or the right hand. He may have found a kindred spirit in Ms. Wiegand, whom her husband described as a survivalist. "Toward the end of our marriage, she more and more became involved in beliefs that the end of the world was coming," Wilkinson said. "She distrusted the government, didn't like the court system and was buying nitrogen packed food and storing 55-gallon drums of water in the cellar. Those types of beliefs would put her in touch with people like that." Rather than send her children to public schools, she preferred to educate them at home, several people familiar with the case said Tuesday. But aside from Ms. Wiegand's philosophy, her case touched a nerve in survivalist circles, and Jerry Gillespie, a close associate of Gritz's, said it has become the talk of right-wing radio shows. Ms. Wiegand, the founder of a charity called Gifts of Love, accused her husband of molesting the two boys, and when a Superior Court judge in Hartford awarded him custody in 1994 as part of their divorce, she disappeared with the boys. Three months ago, the FBI arrested her in Las Vegas, and she was extradited toConnecticut, where she faces criminal charges of interfering with the court's custody order. In its news release, the Center for Action, the group founded by Gritz, said that Massachusetts and New York had ordered Wilkinson to give up custody. And in Vermont, after Ms. Wiegand filed a complaint in the early 1990s, Wilkinson was arrested on charges of sexual assault of a minor. Those charges were dropped. The release calls Wilkinson's sister "a convicted pedophile" who is on the national register of sex offenders, and said that she lives with Wilkinson and three other men. "There appears to be some relationship to a Satanic cult," it said. Malone, the prosecutor, dismissed such talk. Judith C. Benedict, the court-appointed lawyer and legal guardian for the two children, said the group's charges against Wilkinson were baseless. "I don't know any evidence anywhere -- and I've been involved in this case for four years -- that would support a single syllable in that statement," she said. Ms. Benedict added that the Connecticut Superior Court had an independent psychiatrist review the reports from Vermont and do his own evaluation of the children, and he concluded that the charges had no merit. Wilkinson's sister has never been charged with sexual assault, she added. Associates of Gritz's said he did not come to Connecticut to abduct the children. In court Tuesday, Gritz and his son had bond set at $50,000 each, down >from the $1 million Malone had requested. The two were expected to spend the night in jail in Hartford before being released Wednesday, Schoenhorn said. -- Nizkor (USA) - An Electronic Holocaust Educational Resource Nizkor Web: http://www.nizkor.org/ Anonymous ftp: http://ftp.nizkor.org/ftp.cgi? European mirror: http://www1.de.nizkor.org/~nizkor/ And be sure to check out: http://www1.us.nizkor.org/~fatbroad

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