US veterans call for crackdown on white nationalists

This call to action comes as jury trials are beginning for Patriot Front members accused of conspiring to riot at an LGBTQ pride event in downtown Couer d'Alene, Idaho, in June.

 Police officers guard a group of men, who police say are among 31 arrested for conspiracy to riot and are affiliated with the group Patriot Front, after they were found in the rear of a U Haul van in the vicinity of a Pride event in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, US, June 11, 2022 (photo credit: North Country Off Grid/Youtube/via REUTERS )
Police officers guard a group of men, who police say are among 31 arrested for conspiracy to riot and are affiliated with the group Patriot Front, after they were found in the rear of a U Haul van in the vicinity of a Pride event in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, US, June 11, 2022
(photo credit: North Country Off Grid/Youtube/via REUTERS )

Earlier this week, a group of United States military veterans called the Task Force Butler Institute formally called on federal prosecutors to crack down harder on the white nationalist group known as the Patriot Front (PF).

This call to action comes as jury trials are beginning for PF members accused of conspiring to riot at an LGBTQ pride event in downtown Couer d'Alene, Idaho, in June.

“No other white supremacist group operating in the US today is able to match Patriot Front’s ability to produce media, ability to mobilize across the country, and ability to finance. That’s what makes them a particular concern.”

 Morgan Moon, investigative researcher with the Anti-Defamation League Center on Extremism

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the Patriot Front was founded in 2017 after it broke off from Vanguard America in the wake of the infamous "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August of that year. 

The Patriot Front's mission statement 

The SPLC characterizes the Patriot Front, as "an image-obsessed organization that rehabilitated the explicitly fascist agenda of Vanguard America with garish patriotism."

The center also points out that the Patriot Front "focuses on theatrical rhetoric and activism that can be easily distributed as propaganda for its chapters across the country."

The Patriot Front's manifesto, as represented on the SPLC website, makes their racist intentions very plain: "An African, for example, may have lived, worked, and even been classed as a citizen in America for centuries, yet he is not American. He is, as he likely prefers to be labeled, an African in America. The same rule applies to others who are not of the founding stock of our people as well as to those who do not share the common unconscious that permeates throughout our greater civilization, and the European diaspora."

Police escort the last of about 150 masked members of the Patriot Front from a parking garage, after they peacefully ended a march near Capitol Hill, in Washington, Feb. 8, 2020 (credit: MIKE THEILER/REUTERS)Police escort the last of about 150 masked members of the Patriot Front from a parking garage, after they peacefully ended a march near Capitol Hill, in Washington, Feb. 8, 2020 (credit: MIKE THEILER/REUTERS)

Idaho Pride 2022

One of their theatrical stunts was foiled in June of 2022 in Idaho. 31 members of the group were on their way to North Idaho Pride Alliance's "Pride in the Park" event — presumably to disrupt the celebrations. Most had journeyed from out of state.

“No other white supremacist group operating in the US today is able to match Patriot Front’s ability to produce media, ability to mobilize across the country, and ability to finance," explained Morgan Moon, an investigative researcher with the Anti-Defamation League Center on Extremism, told the Guardian in an interview earlier this month. “That’s what makes them a particular concern.”

They were spotted by a local resident filing into the back of a U-Haul rental truck. The resident called the authorities who arrested the Patriot Front members - who were later charged with conspiracy to riot - and seized a cache of riot gear. 

Task Force Butler Institute's message

Kristofer Goldsmith, founder and head of the Task Force Butler Institute (TFBI), recently told NPR that their goal is to "encourage law enforcement at the local level to look nationally [and] recognize that this is a nationwide neo-Nazi gang that is coming to their neighborhood to terrorize their civilians, their citizens, the people that these police are supposed to protect." 

NPR also reports that Goldsmith recently sent an over 200-page document to state and local prosecutors in Idaho, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania (states where the PF has been active lately), describing the PF's activities and suggesting various courses of combative action. The document was also sent to the United States Department of Justice.