Militant Jewish Activists
Deny LA Bomb Plot
By Arthur Spiegelman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Relatives and lawyers for two Jewish Defense League members charged with plotting to bomb a mosque and a congressman's office said on Thursday the men were innocent and set up by a "crazy" man working as a confidential government informant.
Bryan Altman, the attorney for JDL chairman Irv Rubin, said the charges were false. "Mr Rubin has spent his entire career fighting terrorism. He does not perpetuate acts of terrorism. ... The alleged confidential informant against him is crazy, a man with a very troubled background. He is not a credible witness." He also said the charges were politically motivated.
Rubin, 56, who assumed leadership of the militant Jewish group in 1985 from its controversial founder, the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, is being held without bail along with one of his followers, Earl Krugel, 59.
Both men are charged with conspiring to blow up the King Fahd Mosque, an $8 million religious institution that opened in 1998 in the Los Angeles suburb of Culver City, and an office of Southern California Republican congressman Darrell Issa, who is of Lebanese Christian descent.
In a telephone interview with Reuters, attorney Altman called the arrest of his client, a man long known for his pugnacious views and volatile temper, as a political act.
"This case has a political motivation. Because of the timing it looks like it is aimed at appeasing the Arab world. Mr. Rubin is not someone who has stood idly by. He is verbally and spiritually opposed to acts of terrorism and would never agree to bomb any one."
Barry Krugel, the brother of Earl Krugel, said he was in "total shock" over first the arrest and then the "high-handed methods" employed by law enforcement officials during a search of the Krugel home.
"We've been around for over 30 years. We're not so stupid as to do that," he said, referring to the JDL. He added that the government's confidential informant entrapped his brother and described the man as a "fink bastard snitch," who drifted into the group about a year-and-a-half ago, saying he was from the U.S. Navy, Krugel said.
"This guy was in deep with the government" and not a legitimate member of JDL. "No member would ever turn on a fellow Jew," Krugel said.
Krugel and Rubin face one count each of conspiring to destroy a building by means of an explosive and possession of a destructive device during and in relation to a violent crime. If convicted each could face 35 years in prison.
In announcing the arrests on Wednesday, federal officials said the two men plotted with a third, a former JDL member turned government informant, to make and detonate bombs. The informant told authorities of the plot last October and agreed to wear a wire in his meetings with Rubin and Krugel, officials said. No bombs were detonated and no one was injured.
A complaint against the two men said that Krugel told the informant the bombings were necessary because "Arabs need a wake-up call." At that meeting Rubin added that the JDL needs to let people know they are "alive in a militant way."
The complaint added that the unnamed source was asked to photograph the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles and help purchase bomb components and that Krugel said he would build the bombs at his residence. The source would then place the explosives.
The source said he was first told one bomb was to be placed in the offices of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. He arrived at a meeting in suburban Encino with 5 pounds (2.2 kilos) of explosive powder in his vehicle ready for delivery to Krugel.
However at their last meeting Tuesday night, the two men said the bombs were instead to be placed at the Culver City Mosque and Issa's office. Federal agents followed and arrested the two men a short time after the meeting.
A search of Krugel's house turned up bomb making materials including caps, pipes and fuses and a dozen firearms. The bombs were adequate to cause "considerable damage" detonated and possibly death to people in the vicinity, officials said.
Asked about the weapons and bomb making materials found in his brother's house, Barry Krugel said, "Earl has legal weapons. Why should the world own guns and Jews not own weapons?"
"My brother owns a miniature cannon. It uses powder. So what," he said.
The JDL was founded by Kahane, who was assassinated in New York in 1990. Before his death he founded the extremist KACH party in Israel which advocated the expulsion of all Arabs from Israel. The party was later outlawed.
(Additional reporting by Sarah Tippit)
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