A document released in a Florida court proceeding against a white supremacist group reveals that its members received training last year from a member of the Missouri National Guard who had formerly served with the U.S. Army in Iraq.
The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League both identify the American Front as a hate group whose members believe they are preparing for an inevitable race war. According to the Associated Press, the 28-year-old guardsman traveled to Florida in July 2011 to train the group’s members in fighting techniques and the use of the use of the AK-47 assault rifle and was given a patch as a sign that he had become a full-fledged member.
Members of the group were charged this May with hate crimes, conspiracy, and paramilitary training in furtherance of a civil disorder. However, the guardsman has not been charged in the case, and for that reason, the AP is not revealing his name. Court documents suggest that he has been cooperating with authorities, handing over emails and a cellphone with text messages.
According to court documents, the guardsman told investigators that he “became interested in protecting the White race” while serving in Iraq in 2008. He began posting on skinhead blogs and exchanged messages with Marcus Faella, the leader of American Front. He then remained in contact with Faella after returning to the United States in 2010, which led to the invitation to conduct the training.
The guardsman now claims that he was already starting to have second thoughts about being associated with American Front, but he continued sending Faella advice on firearms. He says that he is not currently affiliated with any racist skinhead group but he considers himself a “lone wolf” and still believes in their ideology.
This latest revelation comes in the wake of the mass shooting at a Sikh temple by another Army veteran turned racist skinhead, Wade Michael Page, who has also been described as having adopted white supremacist views while in the military.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has been following the American Front case closely. When seven members of the group — which was founded in California but now appears to be centered in Florida — were arrested in May, a source indicated that this was only the second round in a “major, ongoing investigation.” Court documents charge that Faella was attempting to turn his heavily fortified compound near St. Cloud, Florida into an “Aryan compound where all the AF members could live when the United States Government fails.”
The National Guardman’s enlistment ended this May, and a National Guard spokesperson told the AP that an investigation had been conducted but its results were not being made public.
The AP notes, however, that another Missouri National Guardsman was fired from a state military honor guard last March, after co-workers described him as a self-proclaimed neo-Nazi who had tried to recruit them to the cause.
Photo of an unidentified skinhead white supremacist by Plockboy Rocker via Flickr