quarta-feira, 24 de setembro de 2008

The latest from New Jersey

Supremacists distribute fliers attacking Obama

Leaflets are delivered in some Roxbury neighborhoods over weekend
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Star-Ledger Staff

Some neighborhoods in Roxbury were blanketed over the weekend with campaign literature from a white supremacist, anti-immigration group that bluntly raised the issue of race regarding presidential candidate Barack Obama, offending some recipients and angering Democratic leaders.

A flier left on driveways in a neatly packaged plastic envelope and distributed by a group named the League of American Patriots, with a Butler mailing address, questioned, "Do You Want A Black President?" and stated "Black Ruled Nations most unstable and violent in the world."

Police said they received some complaint calls Saturday about the flier and were reviewing the issue to determine if there were any illegalities connected to the material or its distribution.

"I think whoever is doing this should stop and just deal solely with the facts and issues involved in this election," said Morris County Democratic Party Chairman Lewis Candura, who was notified "racist materials" were being distributed.

Roxbury resident Elizabeth Corsetto said she and her husband came home from doing errands Saturday and found the flier at the end of their driveway. She picked it up, expecting a mailer from a retailer but instead found a one-page, black and white sheet featuring unflattering photos of Obama, including a doctored one portraying him with a long beard and turban.

"Why should we seal our fate by allowing a black ruler to destroy us?" asked the flier, which also detailed what it contended to be a series of facts on black unemployment, poverty, HIV and crime rates, while pointing out the woes of a couple of predominantly black-populated countries.

Attempts to reach the League of American Patriots, by telephone and e-mail, were unsuccessful yesterday. There were no names of group leaders or organizers on the flier or the group's website.

Corsetto, a former school board president in Dover, said she was shocked to get the flier.

"I'm not against free speech, but I was shocked to find stuff like this in my neighborhood," Corsetto said. "I know racism is out there in this world, but I'm particularly disturbed to believe this is happening in Morris County."

The League of American Patriots was formed March 29 at a meeting attended by more than 20 people at an undisclosed site in northern New Jersey, followed by a July meeting at an undisclosed Morris County park, according to the organization's website.

The group is "committed to restoring America to the principles upon which it was founded. First and foremost is halting the rapid demographic decline of the European peoples in our homeland," according to the website. League members attended an immigration reform rally in Lakewood in May and what was billed as an anti-Mexican rally in Shenandoah, Pa., in August, according to the site.

Andrew Poag, a spokesman for the Obama campaign in New Jersey, said it had not previously encountered this group or this type of literature in New Jersey during the campaign.

"These divisive and offensive fliers won't distract the Obama campaign's focus on bringing our country together and bringing the change we need to Washington, D.C.," Poag said last night in an e-mailed response to a request for comment.

Lawrence Ragonese can be reached at lragonese@starledger.com or (973) 539-7910.

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