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Tuesday, 23 November 2010

White 'separatist' says federal government targeting him (USA)

Michael Wayne Cook said he bought a ballistic vest at a 2007 gun show for personal protection.

Michael Wayne Cook said his recent indictment for buying a ballistic vest is proof he is being targeted by the federal government because of his reputation as a white supremacist.

Cook, 43, of Wrightsville, said he bought the vest at a gun show in Harrisburg in 2007 but did not know it was illegal to do so.

"It's really for my own protection, for my own safety," he said. "I've had numerous death threats in my life. . . . I didn't have any intention to use it for a crime."

A U.S. Attorney news release said Cook's convictions for terroristic threats and destroying property prohibit him from owning body armor.

Cook has a hearing on the charge of possession of body armor by a violent felon before a U.S. District Court judge in Harrisburg on Nov. 30.

Cook disputes that the vest he bought is a ballistic vest -- commonly known as a bullet-proof or Kevlar vest -- and says instead it was a flack vest, one that can protect the wearer only from flying shrapnel, not from bullets.

"In my opinion, it's a political sideshow," he said of the indictment. "The federal government is trying to curry favor with the minorities . . . in order to show they're fighting white separatists."

Cook said his felony charges date to 1994, when he pulled an unloaded gun as he and a friend were being threatened by a group in Minnesota.

"I got railroaded," Cook said. "I had poor representation."

In January 2002, Cook helped bring Matt Hale, then-leader of the white supremacist organization World Church of the Creator, to York for a speech.

Cook said that, since Hale's arrest in 2005, the Creativity movement has splintered into many factions and that he is not involved in any of them.

Cook said he considers himself a separatist -- he wants to be separate from minorities, not oppress them.

York Daily Record