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During the 1980s they were a major center of radical right activity in the United States and held "Aryan Nations World Congress" gatherings at their compound, bringing together a variety of members of other groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the Posse Comitatus, and neo-Nazi skinheads. Aryan Nations advocated an all-white "homeland" in the northwestern United States and encouraged white supremacists to move there.
A terrorist spin-off started by Aryan Nations members was "The Order", which robbed armored cars in California and assassinated Alan Berg, a Jewish talk radio host in Denver. Federal sedition charges against Aryan Nations' founder and 13 other radical right leaders resulted from the activities of "The Order", but failed to bring convictions. The surviving members of "The Order", however, were successfully prosecuted. Another terrorist act by a former Aryan Nations member was the shooting at the Los Angeles Jewish Community Center in 1999.
Aryan Nations finally went bankrupt after they were successfully sued in 2000 by Victoria and Jason Keenan, a Native American mother and son who were violently harassed and fired on by Aryan Nations guards while driving past their compound. After being awarded a judgement of $6.3 million, the Keenans bought -- in a single lot -- the Aryan Nations compound, all the white supremacist artifacts located therein, and the names "Aryan Nations" and "Church of Jesus Christ Christian" for $250,000. (Since the Keenans were the group's largest creditors, they eventually got most of the money back.) After the bankruptcy sale to the Keenans, no group could legally use the names "Aryan Nations" or "Church of Jesus Christ Christian" without their permission, although many still do.
A few splinter groups continue to use the name and each claim to be the "real" Aryan Nations.
- Geranios, Nicholas K. "Aryan Nations’ Compound, Name Sold". Associated Press article, archived at AsianWeek Magazine website, 23 February 2001, accessed 28 February 2010.
- Cockle, Richard. "Who can claim the Aryan Nations name?" (Sidebar) OregonLive.com website, posted 26 February 2010, accessed 28 February 2010. (Originally published under the title "Groups don't have right to name" on page A5 of that day's Oregonian newspaper.)