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On Tuesday, May 22, Dennis Mahon will be sentenced for sending a mail bomb to the Scottsdale, Arizona, Office of Diversity and Dialogue in February 2004. The bomb injured three people, including Don Logan, an African American who was director of the office. Mahon’s twin brother, Daniel Mahon, was indicted in the case, but not convicted. Neither man was convicted of a hate crime, although all the evidence pointed to racial animus as the only motivating cause for the crime.

Dennis Mahon’s background is instructive for several reasons: the length of time he stayed active in the white nationalist movement; the multiple number of organizations he was a member of; his international travel on behalf of the nationalist movement; and his life-long tendency to associate himself with the movement’s most violent wing. In an autobiographical statement in the June 1990 issue of the “White Beret,” the newsletter of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Dennis Mahon claimed to have joined the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan circa 1982. In a different statement in the March 1992 edition of “The Oklahoma Excalibur” newsletter, he wrote that he joined the Klan in 1980. In either case, he was living in Florida and working as a mechanic for Eastern Airlines. At that time he read and was fascinated by The Turner Diaries, the infamous race war novel. He stayed with the Knights through several leadership changes. Eventually, Thom Robb of Arkansas became the effective national leader.

Mahon moved to Kansas City, Missouri in 1987, and initially created a Missouri “Realm,” as part of Robb’s Knights. Mahon became a member of the Knights national council during this period, and spoke about his Missouri activities at the July 1988 Aryan Nations Congress. A split developed between Mahon and Robb, however, over support for members of The Order during a 1988 seditious conspiracy trial. The Order had been an Aryan gang lead by Robert Mathews that robbed banks, infamously murdered Denver talk show host Alan Berg, and committed other crimes from 1983 until 1985. About two dozen Order members went to jail, and in February 1988 several of them also went to trial on seditious conspiracy charges, along with other leaders and activists in the white supremacist movement. Robb wanted to pursue a defense of the men who had not been previously jailed as part of The Order on a free speech or First Amendment basis. By contrast, Mahon was part of a faction, led by Tom Metzger of White Aryan Resistance, which wanted to support all of those on trial for sedition, and specifically praised Mathews and the members of The Order.

In this fight among Klansmen, Mahon supported those perpetrating the worst violence, and he left Robb’s Knights to create the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, headquartered in Kansas City.

Following a national trend at the time, Mahon’s White Knights hoped to be able to use Kansas City’s public access cable television station to broadcast segments of Tom Metzger’s “Race and Reason” TV programs. Their application, made in 1987 was initially denied, and amidst much public acrimony the ACLU sued the Kansas City Council in U.S. District Court on the Klan’s behalf in 1989. Eventually the city acquiesced to the ACLU’s lawsuit and plans were made for a broadcast in an off-site location. Dennis Mahon’s rallied his troops for the occasion, which included Klansmen from Hutchinson, Kansas, young recruits from Belton, Missouri and white power skinheads from Oklahoma. An altercation occurred outside the studio while the program was being taped, and Dennis Mahon and 17 of his cohorts were pulled in by law enforcement. That incident ended the White Knight’s pursuit of a public cable TV platform.

In September 1991, Dennis Mahon traveled to Germany to meet with neo-Nazis and white nationalists there. In the forest near Konigs Wusterhausen outside Berlin, Mahon led a private Klan crossburning ceremony by a dozen white-robed Germans, their identities protected by traditional Klan masks. Although Klan cross-burnings are outlawed by provisions in the FRG’s constitution, the event was filmed by a television crew and widely reported in both Germany and the United States. For eleven days, Mahon toured Germany, holding meetings in Berlin, Saarbrucken and elsewhere, selling neo-Nazi and Klan literature and paraphernalia to the faithful.

The trip to Germany heartened Mahon, whose own following in the USA was rather small. In the December issue of the White Knight’s newsletter, “White Beret,” he wrote,

“I visited the Reichstag building. It was very inspiring to walk up the same steps that Adolph Hitler walked up…We drove to Nuremburg and walked down the same streets and stood in the same pavilion rooms where the best of the German manhood celebrated the NS revolution…From Nuremberg we traveled to Dresden where we spent 5 hours walking through the glory of Dresden, as well as the shame of the ruins. I was so ashamed of being an ‘American’ when I saw block after block of bombed out buildings…We did visit a Concentration Camp at Sachsenhausen, and had a real laugh at the wild stories and oversize photos of the ‘victims.'”

His remarks after meeting Soviet infantrymen in Dresden were telling: “I asked them about Pamyat…almost all smiled and said, ‘Da’. White Russian pride was evident. They were all Aryan looking men, well behaved, with fine military bearing. I believe our Negro infested Army would be no match for these men with high tech weaponry.”

By early 1992, Dennis Mahon had relocated to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he lived with his brother Dan. That March he issued the “Oklahoma Excalibur” newsletter as a local outlet for Tom Metzger’s White Aryan Resistance (WAR), and Mahon became a WAR spokesman. In January 1993, he traveled to Toronto on Metzger’s behalf, where he was apprehended in the airport. According to news reports at the time, Canadian authorities claimed “he was likely to commit an indictable offence.” He was returned to the United States after a brief hearing with immigration officials.

Mahon became a target of several investigations after the Oklahoma City federal building was bombed in 1995. Mahon used to spend time at Elohim City, a nearby Christian Identity encampment. While living in his trailer on the campground, Mahon became friends with members of the Aryan Republican Army, a bank-robbing group of bank bandits who were all subsequently convicted and sent to jail. Timothy McVeigh, who was convicted and executed for the bombing, also was familiar with the camp. And Mahon may have met McVeigh on the Oklahoma gun show and survivalist circuit during that period. An ATF investigation that used a young, pretty, skinhead girl, Carol Howe, to get close to Mahon was inconclusive. And McVeigh’s co-conspirator, Terry Nichols, tried to use the Mahon connection as a part of his defense. Nichols failed to connect any dots, however, and that ploy failed.

Mahon moved to Arizona and attended a Phoenix-area Aryan Fest in 2004. This outdoor rock and racism event drew white nationalists from across the movement’s spectrum, and soon after Mahon bombed the diversity office in nearby Scottsdale. Federal ATF agents immediately began an investigation of Mahon, and knowing his weakness for younger women, planted Rebecca Williams as an informant in the trailer park where Dennis was living with his brother. Williams hung a Confederate flag on her trailer, dressed in an obviously alluring fashion and got to know the brothers extremely well. ATF tape recordings of those meetings helped convict Dennis Mahon in the mail bombing.

Leonard Zeskind

Author Leonard Zeskind

is founder of IREHR. For almost four decades, he has been a leading authority on white nationalist political and social movements. He is the author of Blood and Politics: The History of White Nationalism from the Margins to the Mainstream, published by Farrar Straus & Giroux in May 2009. [more..]

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