Michigan ‘White Supremacist’ Sentenced For Allegedly Victimizing Blacks And Jews, Authorities Say

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John Oyewale Contributor
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A federal court in Michigan sentenced a Michigander to 26 months in prison Tuesday followed by three years of supervised release for conspiring with certain others to victimize Blacks and Jews and for defacing a Jewish temple with hate symbols, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced.

Nathan Weeden, 23, of Houghton, conspired with New Jerseyan Richard Tobin and Wisconsinite Yousef Barasneh via encrypted platforms in Sep. 2019 to vandalize Black- and Jewish-owned property in a plan they dubbed “Operation Kristallnacht”— German for “Night of Broken Glass,” a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Michigan alleged. All three suspects were allegedly members of “The Base, a multi-state, white supremacist organization,” according to the statement.

Weeden then executed the plan Sept. 21, 2019, spray-painting swastikas and symbols associated with The Base on the outer walls of Temple Jacob, a Jewish synagogue in Hancock, Michigan, the prosecuting office further alleged.

Prosecutors had advocated a three-year prison sentence for Weeden, alleging that Weeden was an unrepentant devotee of neo-Nazi ideology, had illegally converted a rifle to a fully automatic weapon, and needed to be so judged that prospective suspects might be deterred, among other arguments.

“Today’s sentencing sends a strong message that hate will not be tolerated,” said U.S. Attorney Mark Totten, according to the prosecuting office’s statement. “No one should be the target of hate because of their race, ethnicity, religion, or any other status. When hateful words become hateful acts, my office will use every tool we have to protect the public and secure justice like we did in this case.” (RELATED: Disturbing Video Leads To Hate Crime Charges Against 12-Year-Old Boy)

Barasneh allegedly vandalized the Beth Israel Sinai Congregation in Racine, Wisconsin with anti-Semitic words and phrases, a swastika and the symbol for “The Base,” on the same day Weeden allegedly vandalized Temple Jacob, the DOJ said in a separate statement. Barasneh reportedly pleaded guilty Aug. 2020, then aged 22.

Tobin was sentenced Nov. 16, 2021, to one year and one day in prison and three years of supervised release for his role in the conspiracy, having pleaded guilty, the DOJ announced in a separate statement. Tobin ” implored members of The Base to post propaganda flyers and to break windows and slash tires belonging to African Americans and Jewish Americans,” according to the statement. He was reportedly responsible for codenaming the alleged conspiracy “Kristallnacht”. He was 20 years old during his sentencing.

The suspects had borrowed the codename “Operation Kristallnacht” from Nazi German history, prosecutors indicated. Nazi Storm Troopers and Hitler Youth vandalized and looted Jewish businesses, synagogues, and homes in a nightlong riot November 9 – 10 1938, also killing hundreds of Jews, according to the Holocaust Encyclopedia. Mass incarceration of Jews in concentration camps reportedly began with the Kristallnacht — literally “Night of Crystal” because the streets were strewn with shards of glass from smashed Jewish properties after the riot.