On Sept. 22, more than 300 Lakota, Dakota, Anishinabe and Apache activists and local white anti-racists organized by UnityND converged on Leith, North Dakota, to rally against Craig Cobb and members of his National Socialist Movement who settled in the village with the stated intention of taking over the local government and declaring a white separatist homeland. But Cobb and his followers did not offer resistance as Native American activists tore down and burned the neo-Nazi flags they had raised around their properties—adorned with swastikas, skulls, iron crosses and SS symbols. A large contingent of riot police were on hand, but did not interfere. The next day, the state health department announced it would shut down Cobb’s home, which has no indoor plubling, for violating sanitary codes. (ICTMN, Sept. 26; Political Blind Spot, Sept. 23; ICTMN, Political Blind Spot, Sept. 22)
Idaho’s Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations—founded in 1981 after the Aryan Nations established a compound at local Hayden Lake—issued a statement saying it “stands in solidarity with the good residents of Leith. We praise you for your courageous determination to oppose the message of hate and those who promote white supremacy. You are doing exactly what all communities should do and that is never remain silent in the face of hate. We have spent 32 years opposing the doctrines and activities of the neo-Nazis and other extremists’ movements and thus we stand shoulder to shoulder with you and ask all the good people of North Dakota to do the same.” (UnityND, Sept. 25)
The Aryan Nations were forced to leave Hayden Lake after a 1998 incident in which their gunmen menaced a motorist whose car had backfired outside their compound; Aryan security guards, apparently thinking it was a gunshot, opened fire, gave chase, and forced the vehicle off the road. The motorist and passenger sued with the help of the Southern Poverty Law Center and won a $6.3 million judgment. The Aryan Nations leaders were forced to declare bankruptcy and sell their land. Their compound was demolished, and the site is now being used to graze cattle. (AP, Aug. 3, 2009)
The Aryan Nations have been in decline since then, and it is unclear if they have organizational links to the new National Socialist Movement. However, as late as 2006 we took note of the Aryan Nations’ infiltration of the military. We have noted the group’s probable links to the Oklahoma City bombing here and here.
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