The Northwest Front Connection

On the afternoon of June 17th Dylann Roof set out for the Emanuel African Methodist Evangelical Church in Charleston, North Carolina where he would sit down for Bible study for over an hour and then proceed to commit the racially motivated murder of nine of the ten African Americans who he had joined in the church- leaving one alive to spread his message of racial terror. Before he set out, he posted a manifesto on the internet explaining the ideology that motivated him kill. In this screed he referenced some of the key precepts of an organization known as the Northwest Front.

Roof Rhodesia SA
Dylann Roof Had A Rhodesian Flag On His Jacket — Here’s What That Tells Us

Eighteen days earlier around 20 Nazi skinheads and racist supporters had come to Olympia, Washington eager to come to blows with #blacklivesmatter protesters who had taken to the streets in response to the shooting of two young black men days before. The Nazis were met by hundreds of anti-racist activists who drove them out of town under a reign of blows and a barrage of pepper spray, rocks, and bottles. Before the Nazis left home to come to Olympia on the 30th of May they had issued an appeal for support to that same organization, the Northwest Front.

Unidentified Skins During  At the Outset of Fighting on May 30th
Nazi Skins During At the Outset of Fighting in Olympia on May 30th

Roof was critical of the key plank of the Northwest Front’s ideology, the idea that White supremacists should relocate to the Pacific Northwest with the goal of creating an ethnically cleansed white homeland. He couldn’t see the point of leaving the South and chose to engage in his own racist struggles close to home.

The racist skinheads who came to Olympia were disappointed by Northwest Front. After the fighting on the 30th one quipped, “Northwest Front thanks for your non support (sic) and ignoring the call of racialists when the enemy marched 300 through Olympia! 20 skins took up the fight, while you day (sic) idly behind your computer.”

Both Roof and the Nazis who came to Olympia expressed issues with the Northwest Front. At the same time both were familiar with the organization. Neither appear to have gotten any direct support from the group, but they were undoubtedly aware of and influenced by the particular approach to racism espoused by its founder, Harold Covington. With that in mind it is worth looking at the background of Covington and the ideology he is promoting through the Northwest Front.

Harold Covington leader of the Northwest Front
Harold Covington leader of the Northwest Front

Harold Armstead Covington (sometimes referred to as HAC by his supporters) was born in Burlington, North Carolina in 1953. He became involved with neo-Nazi politics while in the Army in 1972. After being discharged due to a diagnosis of paranoid personality disorder just prior to deployment to Vietnam, he moved to South Africa and then Rhodesia, which was at the time involved in a guerrilla war against communist backed African nationalists trying to overthrow white rule. While there Covington established the Rhodesian White People’s Party. He was kicked out of the country in 1976 for sending threatening letters to a Jewish synagogue.

Upon his return to the United States Covington joined the Nationalist Socialist Party of America (this organization was the inspiration for the Illinois Nazis spoofed in the original Blues Brothers film). In 1979 members of the North Carolina unit Covington led killed five left-wing anti-Klan protesters in Greensboro, NC. Covington was never indicted for involvement, but he would be named in a civil suit seeking damages for the killings and would later brag about his people “greasing communists” in Greensboro. It has been suggested that Covington, in fact, served as an informant for the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms during this period in order to set up rivals for prosecution and stay out of jail. By 1980 he had risen to be the party’s national leader.

Covington would end up leaving the NSPA and settling in Europe. In 1992 he was involved in the formation of the neo-Nazi terror group Combat 18. Combat 18 was behind numerous threats against immigrants, ethnic minorities, and leftists. It also put out a magazine called Redwatch, which published photos, names, and addresses of political opponents. The group would later splinter off several more radical and violent offshoots including the White Wolves and Racial Volunteer Force and set up U.S. chapters in Illinois, Florida, and Texas. Covington was not well regarded by many UK racists, who felt that his virulent attacks on other White supremacist leaders suggested he was a provocateur.

In 1994 Covington was back in the U.S. He set up the National Socialist White People’s Party, which was very active for a time. He left that organization and began promoting his particular line of hate online, creating one of the first neo-Nazi sites on the internet.

Starting in the early 2000s he self-published a series of novels called the Northwest series. The series is very much in the spirit of William Luther Pierce’s The Turner Diaries, the fictional novel about a white revolutionary vanguard, which is said to have inspired Timothy McVeigh to bomb the Murrow Federal Building. The Northwest series tells the story of “domestic terrorist type guys” organized into a guerrilla brigade not unlike the IRA, which fights a campaign to liberate the Pacific Northwest in order to create a white nation. This is done through bombings, the deployment of specialty sniper teams to target interracial couples, and other terror tactics. One character is Conrad Baumgarten who comes from Germany with his SS officer grandfather’s scoped ’98 Mauser rifle to hunt Jews.

NF-Seal-Logo-Tristate-150x150
The central idea of the series is the Northwest Imperative. This concept was first propagated by Richard Butler of the Aryan Nations and was an important goal of the Silent Brotherhood/Order terrorist network during their campaign of armored car robberies and assassinations in the early eighties. It proposes that White nationalists should concentrate in the Northwest and then attempt to form an independent ethnically cleansed white homeland in the region.

Covington outside Astoria, OR where he is currently believed to live
Covington outside Astoria, OR where he is currently believed to live

Covington has said he intended his novels to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. With that in mind he worked to turn his fictional Northwest Front into a real organization capable of realizing these goals in late-2008 early 2009 (it is rumored that Covington lived in Olympia for a time during this period). Today the Front operates a web site and Covington does regular podcasts. The web site purports that they also operate a growing white supremacist enclave outside of Seattle.

Covington appears to be viewed with suspicion by many other prominent white supremacist leaders, who often refer to him as “Weird Harold.” That said, his novels have been influential with many neo-Nazis and he continues to enjoy influence and a following as witnessed by Roof’s familiarity with his thinking and the Nazi skinhead appeal to the Northwest Front for assistance prior to their recent Olympia incursion.

Covington himself condemned Roof’s lone wolf attack on tactical grounds, but at the same time he seems to approve of the result. In a screed on a podcast right after the Charleston shooting that should serve as a warning to those who believe the best policy is to ignore the neo-Nazi/white supremacist threat in the hope that it will go away on its own, Covington said liberals had been given a “preview of coming attractions” by what happened in Charleston-

“They [white liberals] have been given a vision of a time in some imagined but possibly not too-far distant future when all of a sudden, on the street or in their office, or in some trendy fern bar, or Starbucks, or wine-and-cheese boutique on the Upper East Side or in San Francisco, they will look up, possibly from the laptop, where they are typing up their day’s quota of leftwing, liberal horseshit, and they will see a young white man like Dylann Roof standing in front of them with no steroid-pumped policemen in blue to protect their liberal candy asses from the consequences of years of their own behavior,” he said. “They will see in that young white man’s eyes, that he recognizes them. That he is now beyond deception or bullying or browbeating or Twitter-shaming or intimidation that he knows them for what they are. And they will look down and see that he has something in his hand.”

An overview of Covington’s career suggests that he is a clinically paranoid wingnut at the margins of the neo-Nazi movement. He has also proved to be an articulate propagandist with a head full of dangerous ideas. He has played a role in the development of multiple influential white supremacist organizations and has apparently helped inspire more than one violent extremist to act out on the twisted ideology he promotes and kill.

Covington and the Northwest Front remain active in our region. It appears that the Nazis that came to Olympia on May 30th are coming to share the contempt many other white racists have for Covington, but that does not mean we can ignore Harold Covington or the Front. What happened in Charleston shows how racist ideology can spread like a virus with devastating consequences if allowed to go unchecked.  Our struggles may seem small and isolated to our communities, but the ideological connection between Dylann Roof and the Nazis that came to Olympia highlights how all of our struggles against racism and white supremacy are connected.  Cancers like Covington and the Northwest Front here in our backyard can play a part in tragedies that take the world stage thousands of miles away.   Wherever virulent racism rears its ugly head we must all be prepared to react with a diversity of tactics aimed at eradicating the disease before it can grow or spread. Otherwise, the consequences may be more than we can bear.

SOURCES-

White supremacist calls Charleston ‘a preview of coming attractions’

Anti-fascists Expose Portland Leader in Northwest Front

Ben Covington Offers Insight Into His Brother Harold’s Neo-Nazi Activity

WAR’s circular on Harold Covington (late 1990s)

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Olydocuments is always interested in information regarding racist, fascist, neo-Nazi, or violent police activity in the Olympia area and throughout the Pacific Northwest. If you have any such information please contact us by email at olydocuments[at]gmail.com.

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American Freedom Party

This post on the American Freedom Party from Rose City Antifa may be interesting if you are wanting more background on what is probably the dominant racist organizing tendency in the Pacific Northwest right now.

This will particularly be the case for Olympia folks given that one of the instigators of the May 30th incursion, Jascha Manny, is at least peripherally involved with the group.

American Freedom Party
Logo of the American Freedom Party

http://rosecityantifa.weebly.com/home/meet-the-oregon-freedom-party-part-one

We DON’T do Posters- This Is What We DO:

We would like to clarify that olydocuments is not in any way involved with the posters being put up around Olympia with the identities of ‘Nazis’ on them. We don’t have a position as a group regarding the posters.

It looks like some of the posters may have cut-and-pasted information from our site, but nobody consulted with us before doing so.

Olydocs is focused on an internet presence. We stand behind the information we have chosen to publish on our site and that information alone. We make every effort to verify the information on our site from multiple sources before posting.

We are very aware that the Nazi skinheads have rolled into town to support the police against BlackLivesMatter protests in response to the shooting of Bryson and Andre. All of us involved with olydocuments feel that the underlying issues of overt, systemic, and structural racism that are being targeted by BlackLivesMatter and its supporters are the big issue we need to stay focused on. Over the next weeks we will be making an effort to bring these issues more into focus.

We have reached out to people of color (PoC) organizers in the community whom we are familiar with and sought their feedback on our activities. We welcome ANY suggestions and concerns about our content, strategy, and tactics from anyone in the community. You can reach out to us by email, Facebook, or by posting comments on the blog.

To reiterate our program here is the information from our website about what we are about-

Olydocuments is dedicated to combating fascism, white supremacy, and police violence by carefully documenting and exposing it online.  The site will serve as a clearing house for images and other information about the activities of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, in our community and the Pacific Northwest. We will expand this to include police connections and violence as information comes in.  We are very conscious of related issues of structural and systemic racism and will do what we can to highlight them where possible.

Olydocuments is an affinity group formed to support ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬, Olympia antifa, and related groups, in the face of the threat posed by white supremacists to our community.

What We Aren’t-

We aren’t the media presence for #BlackLivesMatter, Olympia antifa, or white allies in Olympia and we don’t claim to speak for anyone but our own group. We are an independent affinity group organized to have two tightly focused goals.

What We Do-

We seek to document the identity and activities of Nazis, racists, and police that have targeted people of color, women, the LGBTQ community, and other targeted groups, and their supporters in our community. We want to put names on faces and collect as much information as we can about these fascists. We will make information about carefully confirmed fascists available on our site, so that targeted people can be aware who to look out for, and so people involved in anti-oppression work can know who the threat is, what their tactics are, how dangerous they might be, and so on.

We are, at least temporarily, trying to serve as a central location where people can go for real-time information about violent bigots, related, sightings and so on. But don’t solely rely on our site for up to minute info.

Understand that we appreciate people’s concerns about being photographically identified and will not under ANY circumstances put out images of people, or any other information, about those not carefully confirmed to be Nazis, fascists, or their supporters, under any circumstances, particularly images that might lead to the identification of people engaged in potentially unlawful acts during protests or actions (we hope others do the same).
Also understand that we will be very careful to only publish information on people who are active Nazis, white supremacists, commit police brutality, or are violent bigots. We don’t want innocent people to be targeted. That means that if we out somebody on the web site as a Nazi we have solid information that they are both white supremacist and actively organizing or participating in actions.

What Happened Here? The Events in Olympia on the Evening of May the 30th

On May 21st police officer Ryan Donald shot Bryson Chaplin and Andre Thompson, two young African American men accused of attempting to steal beer from a local supermarket.  One of them had apparently menaced him with a skateboard.  Ryan shot him.  They fled to nearby woods then reemerged and were both shot by the cop.  Chaplin ended up in critical condition in the hospital and Thompson in serious condition.

While the circumstances remain cloudy, it was abundantly clear that the lack of proportional use of force placed the shooting within the spectrum of systemic police violence that leaves hundreds of young black men dead- dead from police shootings at a rate 22 times higher than whites.  #BlackLivesMatter protests supported by white allies in our overwhelmingly Caucasian community started immediately.  The first night the protestors were attacked by drunken counter-protestors supporting the police. Disturbingly, the following night the counter-protestors were joined by Nazi skinheads and other openly racist supporters.

Olympia, WA Nazis Support Police at #BlackLivesMatter Protest
Nazi Skinheads Outside City Hall Earlier in the Week

The sentiment among many in the radical community was, “We can’t tolerate Nazis in our town.” A rally was called for Percival Landing at 9:00pm on the evening of the 30th via a Facebook event.  An hour or so later the event disappeared.  The reason was that organizers had learned that the Nazis planned on attacking the event and were concerned that people who had ‘joined’ might be targeted.  It turned out the anti-Nazi protest was going forward.  A meeting was called for White and White passing allies to discuss possible responses with people of color (POC) and people from other targeted groups in the community who were organizing in response to the impending Nazi threat.

Organizers from the POC community expressed two distinct desires for help from the White activists.  First, there was concern that individuals in the targeted communities not involved with the rally would be at risk.  A plan had been worked out for safe areas at two local businesses and people were needed to do foot patrols to escort people who might be targeted, provide rides, and to keep an eye out for trouble.  Secondly, there was a group of people of color identifying with #BlackLivesMatter that desired to go to the landing and hold space in face of the Nazis.  They wanted bodies to step up help them hold the space.

 

Saturday the 30th was the kind of beautiful day we get in Washington in May when we are fortunate.  The temperature was in the mid-seventies at Percival Landing, which sits on the very south end of Puget Sound.  The sun was starting to set over the Olympic Mountains in the background behind the group of several dozen #BlackLivesMatters folks and supporters who had arrived by around seven.

Word on the street was that a car club that follows an Olympia band called Black Top Demon were supporting the Nazis. Their lead singer, Joe Ty, had been involved in supporting the Olympia PD at #BlackLivesMatter protests had been seen acting pretty cozy with the Nazis at protests.  Many known Nazi skins in the area were friends with Joe Ty on Facebook.  Members of the club were overheard talking about heading down to mess with the protest at nine.

Over time the crowd continued to grow until around 200 protesters were on the scene.  A few suspicious looking folks seemed to be scoping out the protesters.  A freelance reporter with a camera had set up across the street.  There was a fair size crew of anarchists kitted up in black and masked up or ready to mask up.  Most of them were from Olympia, but there were people from antifa in Portland and Seattle that had heeded the call for support against the Nazis.  It is worth noting that several of them, both the locals and out of town folks, were people of color, women, or transgender.   Several people on the landing expressed that they were happy to see this crew, when the imminent prospect of getting pounded by a bunch of Nazis with no police intercession seemed really likely.

Everybody seemed to expect that the Nazis and their supporters from the Demons were going to hit the protest right at nine.  The police were nowhere to be seen and it kind of felt like they were hanging the protesters out for the Nazis.  Nine rolled around and the fascists were nowhere to be seen.  Thirty or so minutes later the rally became a march down 4th Street headed for City Hall.  At this point a few Olympia PD SUVs and some bike cops had showed up and moved into crowd control mode.  Along the way to City Hall, a fairly large, long-haired blond, drunk man came out and seemed intent on picking a fight with anybody willing to oblige.  People at the scene reported that he punched a man in a wheelchair. Several marchers expressed the sentiment that there were people in the crowd who were on the other ‘side’ keeping tabs on the march.

The protest made its way to City Hall in fits and starts.  When it arrived everybody stopped and started chanting, “Black lives matter!”  This lasted for about five minutes and then the march changed directions and headed back towards Percival Landing.  As the march headed down towards Jefferson some marchers encountered a clean cut group of three or four guys from the South Sound Citizen’s Defense Group.  They had goatees and were wearing golf shirts and hats and kind of looked like somebody’s dads (which some of them said they were). At least one of these men was engaged in open carry, with a .45 strapped to his hip.  One of their wives or girlfriends was involved in a heated argument with some of the protesters.  The men seemed pretty relaxed.  They were insistent that they weren’t racists and that they were the last people who would be helping out the Nazis.  They also said that they were there to prevent property destruction, which seemed a little ominous given that they were packing guns and where the evening was likely to go.

Armed Militia at Protest
Armed Militia at Protest

As the march crossed the railroad tracks onto Jefferson, the Nazis seemed to spontaneously appear out of the darkness.  One of them had an American flag.  There were about nine or ten of them.  They were kitted out in the usual flight jackets, Nazi patches, and shaved heads.  Most of them were masked up.  Their leader was obviously Jascha Manny (1pariah on Stormfront), who had sent out the original call out to the fascists.  He had a small strobing flashlight that was intended to disrupt anti-Nazi protesters’ ability to photograph him.  Several of the Nazis were doing some sort of Bob Dylan thing with a series of signs that couldn’t be made out in the dark.  They took up a chant of, “White lives matter!”

DSCF2654

The crowd moved forward with the black block crew, some of the unmasked antifa types, and a bunch of the Black Lives Matters folks in the lead.  Somebody shouted, “Congratulations, you’ve got a shitty strobe light!”  The crowd took up a chant of, “You’re not welcome! You’re not welcome!”  About then all hell broke loose.  An older gentleman from the march with long hair and a beard moved in between Jascha Manny and the protesters and started to try to de-escalate things.  Before he could really get a word out Manny punched him in the mouth, then everything went crazy.

Pepper spray was fired in both directions.  Somebody let off a fire extinguisher at Manny.   He appeared to think it was pepper spray because it seemed to faze him for a moment.  The skinhead with the American flag hit a woman that was charging him with the flagstaff.  Another woman in black, who was masked up, struck a guy with a golf club she had attached a black flag to.  People were exchanging blows everywhere.  A brick flew over from the Nazi’s direction. Rocks and bottles were flying both ways and glass could be heard shattering as the bottles impacted.

About that instant, the Nazis broke and ran, with most the crowd from the protest in hot pursuit.  While all of this was going on the cops were cruising on both side of the melee in their SUVs.  It appeared they would surround the crowd, but instead they faded off to the east and west.  The Nazis made it to the end of Jefferson where they were parked, and piled into a white truck, some of them leaping into the back as the truck was already roaring away.  People were all around them smashing the windows out and bashing bodywork.  Someone yelled, “They are smashing the hell out of that truck,” and laughed. The truck screamed away to the east, the crowd shouting, “Black lives matter!” as the Nazis fled into the night.

The crowd started to move back towards 4th Avenue, probably worried the police were going to move in.  As it moved by the Fish Tale Brewpub the manager stepped out from the curb and grabbed a chair from somebody who had taken it from the sidewalk seating area and used it as a weapon, shouting- “Give me that.”  Some wit in the crowd yelled back, “You should be proud of your chair!  It did some good service upside some Nazi’s head!”

The anti-Nazi protestors marched back to Percival Landing with much jubilation.   Everyone in the march seemed pleased with the outcome.  The condemnation of things turning to violence that might be expected was notably absent.  A lot of people seemed to have a different threshold for violence when it came to Nazis.  This was certainly the case with many of the spectators who came out of the bar to ask what had gone down.  When told that the protesters had chased the Nazis out of town the typical reply was, “Right on!” or “Fuck yeah!”

When the anti-Nazi march reached the Landing the crowd picked up chants of, “Black Lives Matter!”  A young twenty-something African American man who had been seen step out of one of the bars and overheard expressing some rather skeptical remarks about what the protesters were all about as they marched on City Hall, stepped out from the curb, raised his arms, and shouted the crowd down, asking to speak.  When everyone fell silent he said in a loud, clear, voice, “I want to thank you all for showing up and standing up for something!”  Everyone burst into cheers and picked up the chant of, “Black lives matter!”  The young man raised his arms, shouted down the crowd again, and spoke out again, “I see a lot of white faces out here.”  He paused for just an instant and then started to chant, “All lives matter!”  The crowd hesitated for a second, some skeptical, but then picked up the chant.

It would have been perfect if things had ended right there, but that isn’t how things work in the real world.  The crowd started to get furtive and restless.  A truck trying to make its way through the crowd hit a bicycle and a scuffle broke out.  The crowd started to disperse and then reports began to filter in from the police scanner that three trucks with about thirty Nazis had been sighted on the west side of town  and were headed downtown- and that a SWAT team had been deployed to intercept them.  People tried to spread the word, but there was no pulling the crowd back together.  The Nazis apparently continued to prowl around well into the morning spreading a lot of fear, but no other violence was reported.

At the end of the night our community had come together and run the racists off.  Groups that often don’t get on well, like the black bloc and some of the less militant parts of the activist community, came together and accomplished something.

Is what happened going to provoke more violence from the Nazis?  It’s hard to say.  Will the way things played out open up rifts over politics in the radical community? One can’t help but hope not because we are going to need all the solidarity we can get to stay sharp and prepared to act decisively once again as a united community in case the Nazis do come back.

#olyshooting #blacklivesmatter #defendoly #olyantifa