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Two racists arrested over plot to kill Obama

Article published on the 2008-10-28 Latest update 2008-10-28 14:40 TU

Paul Michael Schlesselman (l) and Daniel CowartPhoto: Reuters

Paul Michael Schlesselman (l) and Daniel Cowart
Photo: Reuters

US authorities have arrested two white supremacists who planned to go on a killing spree of African-Americans which would have culminated in the assassination Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama. If he wins the 4 November election, Obama will become the first black president in US history.

Daniel Cowart, aged 20, and Paul Schlesselman, 18, were charged with threats against a presidential candidate, illegal possession of firearms and conspiracy to rob a gun dealer.

The plot did not appear to be very advanced or complex, according to court documents revealed yesterday. But the authorities believe the two men had both the means and intention to carry out some sort of attack against black students.

Cowart from Tennessee and Shlesselman from neighbouring Arkansas met on the internet about a month ago.

"The individuals began discussing going on a killing spree that included killing 88 people and beheading 14 African Americans ," said Brian Weaks, an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. 

Both numbers are symbolic among white supremacists. H being the eighth letter in the Roman alphabet, 88 stands for Heil Hitler, while 14 stands for the number of words in a racist slogan coined by far-right leader David Lane.

Weaks added that the two men said they planned to attack a mainly black school. And dressed in white tuxedos and top hats, they would drive their vehicle as fast as they could toward Obama shooting at him from the windows.

Coward had stolen two handguns from his grandfather and bought one rifle. They planned to steal another powerful rifle from a gun store in Tennessee.