Originally created 11/20/02

Across the southeast



After ouster, leader blames club politics

GREENSBORO, N.C. -A regional leader in the nation's largest Confederate heritage organization says he has been stripped of his post because he does not embrace the far-right politics of other members.

Charles Hawks was removed last weekend as head of one of three regional divisions of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Ron Wilson, of Easley, S.C., the commander in chief of the organization, said Mr. Hawks lost his position for breaching the confidentiality of a meeting. Mr. Hawks denied that.

"I know what the rules are, and I have played by them all the time," he said.

He said he is being "purged" from the 31,000-member organization because he does not support the far-right politics of some of its leaders, including lawyer Kirk Lyons, his election opponent in the August runoff. Mr. Lyons has represented members of the Ku Klux Klan, debated the merits of white separatism and sought out opportunities to battle what he calls "Southern ethnic cleansing."

Alabama justice won't move Commandments

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -Chief Justice Roy Moore, reviving the state's rights crusades of Alabama's past, stood defiantly in front of a monument to the Ten Commandments on Tuesday and promised to fight a federal judge's order that he remove it from the state's judicial building.

"I have no plans to remove the monument, and when I do I will let you know personally," Chief Justice Moore said at a news conference.

He questioned whether any federal court has the authority to order Alabama's top judge to do anything.

"That is a part of our allegations in this case," he said.

Attorneys who filed suit to remove the monument said the chief justice's quest is futile and could ultimately cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars.

Ashcroft praises city's anti-terrorism efforts

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -Equipped with powerful new tools to track suspected spies and terrorists, Attorney General John Ashcroft visited Charlotte on Tuesday to meet with members of the region's anti-terrorism task force.

After a private session with task force leaders, he called their work an example for similar efforts across the country.

Mr. Ashcroft specifically mentioned the conviction of two brothers found guilty of helping run a cigarette-smuggling ring that sent profits to the militant Lebanese group Hezbollah. He also mentioned the arrest of illegal aliens at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.

Both cases involved the efforts of the task force, he said.

The Hezbollah trial was the first in the country in which defendants were charged with providing material support to terrorist cells, Mr. Ashcroft said.