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Shootings suspect saw immigration as disastrous to whites

Richard Baumhammers' Free Market Party Web site drew little traffic

Wednesday, May 03, 2000

By Dennis B. Roddy, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Richard S. Baumhammers, self-styled chairman of the Free Market Party, drew little interest with his site on the World Wide Web, where he advocated an end to Third World immigration and briefly turned his criticism on Democratic presidential hopeful Bill Bradley.

 
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Baumhammers closed down the site in September, unhappy that it was attracting no attention to his cause.

It is scheduled to go back online today. This time, the Mt. Lebanon computer firm with which Baumhammers had an account to post his page, is introducing the www.freemarketparty.com Web site with a statement denouncing intolerance and telling the curious how to contribute to funds to help the families of the six people Baumhammers is accused of shooting in a two-county rampage last week.

"We just discovered we had hosted this site and now feel a responsibility to cooperate with the authorities and now turn a bad situation, as best as can be, into something positive for the victims' families," said Jerry Tapolici, president of Computer Comfort.

Tapolici said Baumhammers last year arranged for a site on the World Wide Web and rented computer space from the firm. After receiving few visitors, Baumhammers shut down the site at the end of September.

Baumhammers is accused of five counts of homicide, a spree that targeted some of the very people whose immigration to the United States his organization sought to block. Police say he shot two Indian nationals, killing one, and then shot two Asian workers at a Chinese restaurant. He also is accused of killing a Jewish neighbor, and firing into two synagogues, spray painting swastikas on one.

His Web site carried a copy of his party's manifesto, which demanded an end to Third World immigration, special immigration rights for Europeans, lower taxes, less foreign aid and that English be declared the nation's official language.

While expressing fears that whites are at risk of becoming a minority in the United States, Baumhammers' writings steer clear of overtly racist epithets.

"One of the most prominent aspects of massive immigration is the effect on culture and society in America," Baumhammers wrote. "American society is transformed in numerous ways. Sustained and prolonged immigration has been detrimental to White Americans. The source of present day immigration is the 1965 Immigration Act. This wrongly enacted law allows for approximately 1.2 million aliens to become citizens of America per year. Almost all of this present day immigration is non-European. The effect of such massive waves of immigration has been disastrous for Americans of European ancestry."

The Baumhammers site includes a section offering his "Weekly Report," but he appears to have filed only one since putting the site up.

Dated Sept. 10, 1999, the report focuses on former U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley who, at the time, was climbing in the polls in what proved to be an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic nomination for president.

"What's more troublesome is Bill Bradley's views on multiculturalism and his ambiguous or unstated view on immigration," Baumhammers wrote. "Because of his 'pet theme' of racial harmony and civil rights, European-Americans of all backgrounds should be leery of a Bradley presidency."

He hits on his overarching theme of what might happen if Americans of European ancestry become a minority and, once again, declares that "European-Americans must organize a political party."

An agent at the Pittsburgh office of the Secret Service, which provides security to major presidential candidates, said Baumhammers' passing interest in Bradley would have to be evaluated.

"It's the first I've heard of that," said agent Mark Besanceney.

Yesterday, a spokesman for the Allegheny County district attorney's office said an FBI investigation had found nothing to link the shooting spree to anyone else locally, and found no ties between Baumhammers and any European splinter parties that use the term "Free Market Party" in describing themselves.

Initial concerns had centered on whether he was linked to a philosophy called the International Third Position. It now appears, according to investigators, that Baumhammers had no ties and likely acted alone.

The FBI is expected to turn Baumhammers' personal computer over to Allegheny County investigators and is unlikely to bring any federal charges.

The nonincendiary nature of Baumhammers' Web site passed muster with one right-wing organization that put up a link to the Free Market Party.

"It was extremely legalistic, esoteric stuff that would not have drawn much interest from anybody," said Bill Roland, Web-master for the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white-rights group whose Web site occasionally carries links to like-minded groups.

Roland said Baumhammers contacted him by e-mail more than a year ago suggesting his site for a possible link. Roland said he examined the site to make certain it did not advocate violence or hate and then set up the link. That link was taken off the council's Web site after word of the shooting spree reached the group.

Roland said he recalled Baumhammers expressing concerns about immigration -- a position shared by the Council of Conservative Citizens.

"I don't remember any specific wording that was used," he added.

As investigators sorted through evidence yesterday, a broader picture of Baumhammers' behavior in the months leading up to the shootings began to emerge.

State Sen. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, said that in the past 12 months, Baumhammers had twice visited his Mt. Lebanon office to ask for help because he believed the FBI was following him.

"I believe the issue was one of some concern that, because he was doing some legal work in European businesses they were following him," Murphy said.

Murphy last night said he referred the information to State Attorney General Mike Fisher and was forwarding additional information this week to Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr.

Murphy said his staff believed Baumhammers also might have suggested at one point that he was also being tailed by the CIA.

It also emerged yesterday that Baumhammers has been prescribed Trilofan, a drug used to treat psychoses.

A graduate of Kent State University and Cumberland Law School in Birmingham, Ala., Baumhammers has described himself as a lawyer specializing in immigration matters but did not appear to have an active local practice.

The head of the local chapter of the American Immigration Law-yers Association said Baumhammers was not a member.



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