by Michael Reynolds
[Originally appeared in Playboy, February 2002.]
["Playbill" introduction, p. 3: A neo-Nazi, a Taliban and an ecoterrorist walk into a bar -- and get along. A joke, right? Perhaps not. They share fascist ideology, a hatred of globalism and a desire to bring down the U.S. Michael Reynolds has tracked international and homegrown ideologues for years. In Virtual Reich, illustrated by Phil Hale, Reynolds documents the dangerous networking among the forces of intolerance. Scary stuff. The lunatic fringe is in great need of a trim. Now.]
[Facing the opening page of the article is a painting by Phil Hale of an angry oldish man seated at a computer, the transparent shell of which reveals a dagger within. The man's fingers are cramped in hate-spasms on either side of the keyboard; we look down on him, as into a one-light basement. The man's arms show power and age, withered but still strong. His nose is blood, black smears for eyes. Vauge, threatening tattoos adorn his upper arms. We can't see into his eyes, because he's not really human, but his mouth's a crude maul of red, white and black streaks, suggesting animal on kill, unshaven drunk - an angry, ill-tempered, unsophisticated brute who's on his way out, to be sure, but just threatening enough that we need to take him seriously. -- Ed.]
[subtitle] Fascism is back, featuring a strange cast of Islamic fundamentalists, skinheads and homegrown terrorists. Here's the sinister part: they're all talking to one another.
It was the first week of May 1945, the final spring for Hitler. Mussolini's corpse was strung up by its heels in front of an Italian gas station. The Fuhrer's gunshot skull smoldered at the feet of Soviet soldiers in the ashes of Berlin. It appeared that fascism was dead. But like plutonium or viral pathogens, truly evil ideas have a significant half-life and a strong capacity for transfiguration.
Unrepentant Nazi fugitives and their collaborators throughout the Americas and Middle East formed clandestine international networks. Downplaying their hatred for democracy, these former S.S. men and their fascist brothers in Europe reemerged as ardent anti-Communists. In this guise these networks became useful assets to U.S. intelligence agencies in the Cold War and to Latin American and Arab dictatorships and other repressive regimes in the West. On these platforms the Nazis began laying brick for their dreamed Fourth Reich.
Today's neofascist generation has expanded and improved on these old transnational consortiums, breathing new life into the mummified remains. Fascism doesn't come to call in a Hollywood S.S. costume or a white sheet. It's more likely to walk up in a J. Banks suit, blacked-out anarchist drag or a turban instead of a bomber jacket and Doc Martens boots. It rails against global capitalism, unchecked immigration, Zionist oppression, environmental catastrophe, corporate monoculture and the threat of American imperialism. Its abhorrence of homosexuals and abortion is shaped as a battle against moral degeneracy and corruption. Its racism and anti-Semitism are framed as ethnic nationalism, cultural identity and autonomy rather than white supremacy and totalitarian conquest.
Most strange and alarming, as we shall see, it is a movement that has married right and left, East and West, Odin and Allah. This dangerous phenomenon illustrated itself in the wake of September 11. Neo-Nazi leaders throughout the world issued thrilled statements that echoed those of their Islamic extremist counterparts.
From Germany, Horst Mahler, onetime Marxist terrorist of the Red Army Faction and now ideologue for the revitalized neo-Nazi movement, wrote in a letter posted on the Internet:
For decades, the jihad -- the holy war -- has been the agenda of the Islamic world against the Western value system. This time it could break out in earnest. Have you considered yet what that means? It would be a world war that is won with the dagger. The Anglo-American and European employees of the global players, dispersed throughout the world, are -- as Osama bin Laden proclaimed a long while ago -- military targets. Only a few need to be liquidated in this manner; the survivors will run off like hares into their respective home countries, where they belong. Globalism, already powerfully damaged by the runaway world economic crisis, will sink down upon itself, like the towers of Manhattan.
[Reynolds is misquoting from -- without crediting -- VNN's original translation of Mahler's letter, which you can read here. -- Ed.]
On September 15, Mahler's American counterpart, National Alliance leader William Luther Pierce, joined in from his remote headquarters in the West Virginia mountains. "The people who flew those planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon did it because they had been pushed into a corner by the U.S. government acting on behalf of the Jews instead of on behalf of the American people," Pierce proclaimed on his weekly Internet and shortwave broadcast. "This week's attacks are just the beginning of what's in store for America."
While the jihad rhetoric spewed from Pierce, Mahler and other Aryan revolutionaries, German and American investigators zeroed in on Hamburg, the port city from which the Islamists likely initiated their operations. U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft identified such a cell. "It is clear that Hamburg served as a central base of operations as part of the planning of the September 11 attacks," he announced on October 23, naming three hijackers and three fugitives. German law enforcement, meanwhile, had already begun exploring the relationships between native neo-Nazis and the Islamic extremist underground that had been built over the past 20 years.
In early November a Swiss veteran of this neo-Nazi-Islamist axis -- Ahmed Huber -- was named by the feds as one of 16 individuals suspected of financially supporting Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda terrorist network. According to European and American intelligence, Huber and two members of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood -- Youssef Nada and Ali Ghaleb Himmat -- sit atop a nest of global financial organizations known as Al Taqwa Management or Nada Management, which runs from the Middle East to Europe to the Bahamas and Malaysia. Swiss authorities froze accounts linked to these groups, hauled away several vans full of documents from their homes an offices and brought Huber, Nada and Himmat in for interrogation.
Huber is a very fit, very anti-Semitic 74-year-old who converted to Islam in the Sixties. With ties to fugitive S.S. officers, Islamic terrorists and skinheads, Huber is a major player whose record spans generations -- from the Third Reich to the virtual Reich. Over the past decade Huber has popped up in Beirut, Tehran, Brussels, London and New York as a well-funded polemicist for Ayatollah Khomeini, Holocaust deniers and neofascists. He may also have been acting as a transnational bagman for Islamic and pan-Aryan extremist networks.
On the evening of September 11 following the devastation in New York and Washington, Huber and a clutch of young Euro skinheads celebrated the news at a tavern in Germany. That night Huber declared the World Trade Center had been the "twin towers of the godless" and that the Pentagon was a "symbol of Satan."
Huber has been a speaker at a number of neofascist events over the past several years, including the international conference in Passau in 2000. As for al-Qaeda, Huber told an interviewer that he had met some of Bin Laden's people in Beirut last year and praised them for being "very discreet, well-educated and very intelligent people."
The fascist-Islamist axis came as no surprise to those monitoring the anti-Semitic internationale. As far back as 1933, National Socialism was embraced within Egypt, Syria and Iraq. In sync with Hitler's extermination campaign against "world Jewry," Muslim muftis from those countries tropped to Nuremberg for the rallies. Josef Goebbels flew to Egypt. Copies of Mein Kampf flew off the shelves in Cairo, Baghdad and Damascus.
Much more recently, European, Russian and American neofascists have worked to shore up alliances throughout the Middle East. German, French and Italian neo-Nazis joined Palestinian support groups in coordinated demonstrations across Europe. Mahler and other anti-Semitic ideologues traveled to Lebanon, Baghdad, Jordan and Tehran to meet with Islamic extremists. Between trips, Pierce was on the telephone for numerous interviews with Radio Tehran that were broadcast across the Middle East.
After 50 years, the network is again alive -- buzzing with energy from a new generation that recognizes no borders but focuses on the same enemies -- Jews, democracy and the U.S.
A key to this recent growth, naturally, is the Internet. More than 2000 websites promote variants on the theme of hate -- from blatant neo-Nazism to veiled anti-Semitic conspiracies and nationalist revolution. There is now a virtual Reich in which ideologies, tactics and solidarity are developed and instantly whipped around the globe.
European neofascism and political theory birthed this beast, but American-style terrorism has taught it new tricks. Several months after the bombing in Oklahoma City, a journalist tracked down one of Timothy McVeigh's sketchy compatriots and found him in his Michigan basement. On the wall was a sign that read: WE MAY BE ILLITERATE BUT WE KNOW HOW TO BUILD A DAMN FINE BOMB. The Ryder truck bomb in Oklahoma City proved that improvisation and a proud American tradition of righteous-rebel violence can produce devastation anywhere in the world -- without benefit of an army.
Taking cues from their American counterparts, young European terrorists have opted for leaderless resistance. This leaves autonomous squads or individuals on their own to select targets and take action, thus doing away with any hierarchy of command. With bombers like Ted Kaczynski and Timothy McVeigh, snipers like Joseph Paul Franklin and gangs like the Aryan Republican Army and the Order, the white American terrorist style is ideally suited to this new insurgency.
For their part, American terrorists may have found a haven in Europe. It was only this past December that British media reported that FBI agents were scouring Ireland and Scotland in search of fugitive James Kopp. Kopp's most promient victim was Buffalo physician Dr. Barnett Slepian, who ran an abortion clinic. Kopp allegedly secreted himself ina wooded area on the evening of October 23, 1998 with a clear view through his riflescope to Dr. Slepian's kitchen window and its well-lighted interior. The doctor was standing with his back to that window, stirring a pot of soup on the stove, when a bullet ripped throughou his body. He bled to death in front of his wife and sons before EMTs arrived at the scene.
Investigators believe that Kopp then calmly left his sniper's position and walked about 150 feet into the woods where he wrapped his Kalashnikov in plastic, slipped it into a plastic tube and buried it. He then returned through the woods to his Chevrolet, where a female accomplice may have waited with the motor running. Within days of the killing, police had Kopp tagged as a prime suspect by tracing the license plate noted by one of Slepian's neighbors. He was also implicated in rifle attacks in Canada and New York that had left three other doctors seriously wounded. Not only were Kopp's victims all abortion providers, but all were also either Jewish or had Jewish names.
James Kopp quickly made the FBI's 10 Most Wanted, joining an even more notorious bomber, Eric Rudolph.
The 34-year-old Rudolph is a legend in the neofascist world from North Carolina to Naples. A hybrid of his mother's reactionary Catholicism, his teenage schooling at an Ozark Christian Identity compound and his subsequent explorations into pan-Aryan neofascism, Rudolph is wanted for a series of deadly bombings that began with the Centennial Park explosion during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and include attacks of abortion clinics and a gay bar that left two people dead and 125 injured.
As the target of one of the most intensive manhunts in the history of the U.S., Rudolph has led hundreds of federal, state and local agents, bounty hunters, bear trackers, Bo Gritz and his militiamen and reporters on a futile $14 million three-year search through the rugged Nantahala Forest of Appalachia. The former Army Ranger has been sought since January 29, 1998 in connection with the bombing of a women's health center in Birmingham, Alabama. Investigators say they believe the bomber detonated a device, killing policeman Robert Sanderson and leaving nurse Emily Lyons collapsed at his side -- alive but permanently damaged -- burned and penetrated by large nails and shrapnel.
Across the Atlantic, David Copeland, who terrorized London with a series of bombings that left three people dead and scores maimed and injured, admitted he was inspired by Rudolph's operations in the U.S. Using the Internet, Copeland amassed a huge file on Rudolph and his bomb attacks before launching his own war on gays and other minorities. Copeland was identified from a CCTV surveillance tape that captured the 24-year-old neo-Nazi leaving a duffel-bag bomb packed with 1500 nails at a bus stop in London's predominantly black community of Brixton. Forty people were injured, two each lost an eye and a 23-month-old baby had one of Copeland's nails driven into his brain.
Unlike his American role model, Copeland was tracked down, arrested, tried and convicted within a year of his murderous rampage, which closed with the bombing of a popular gay bar, the Admiral Duncan Pub in London's Soho. It was there that a 27-year-old pregnant woman and two of her friends were killed.
Kopp himself was captured this past spring in France, and documents have revealed details of the alleged sniper's movements through a European underground network. This development led to suspicions that the fugitive Rudolph may have used a similar support network abroad. Given Rudolph's beliefs, his bombing targets and his willingness to kill for those beliefs, there is little doubt he would be welcomed by white nationalist revolutionaries anywhere in the world.
This transnational network has been strengthened by a number of developments. The "Jew-communist threat" of "Red Russia," so long exploited by the American far right on issues ranging from the Roosevelt administration to civil rights, has lost traction. When the Soviet Union finally gave up the ghost in 1989, white nationalists and the anti-communist right lost their common enemy of more than 60 years. In its place the nemesis became the new world order, a juggernaut of international corporate finance, Jewish media and American military power.
The Nineties then unleashed a chain of events that galvanized this alliance. They were, most prominently: the federal debacles at Ruby Ridge and Waco, the ethnic bloodbath in the Balkans, the NATO bombings of Serbia and Iraq, the increasing powers of the European Union, the influx of immigrants and asylum seekers to western Europea and America and the endemic violence between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Eurofascist and American white nationalist fingers pushed these buttons long before the first brick was thrown through a Nike store window or before Timothy McVeigh turned the ignition on his Ryder truck. Issues that resonate among swelling ranks of young protesters in opposition to globalism and American domination -- the environment, NATO, IMF, WTO, ethinci sovereignty, animal rights, genetic engineering and consumerism -- all have been exploited by a new wave of Aryan revolutionaries.
BROWN OUT, GREEN IN
The Nazis loved nature. National Socialism is bedded in pagan nature worship -- it was patchouli fascism on a grand scale. A solid case can be made that the Third Reich National Socialists were the first green party -- a genocidal pack of ecofreaks -- but green nonetheless. The term ecology itself is a purely German concept coined by Ernst Haeckel, a 19th century social Darwinist, German nationalist, anti-Semite and mystical racist.
No matter how much the deep ecology believers wish it to be otherwise, their uncompromising bison worship and dreams of an all-natural euthanasia program flow from a poisoned well dug by fascists and Nazis.
The group Earth First was cranked up 20 years ago by a clutch of white eco-warriors whose backpacks carried some anti-immigrant racism and a genocide-friendly attitude mixed in with their monkey wrenches and love for absolute wilderness. Original Earth First headman and ecoterrorist David Foreman came straight out of the Sixties' right-wing street pack -- Young Americans for Freedom -- bringing a white-boy anarcho-libertarian stance that would later slip right into step with the movement. "An Ice Age is coming and I welcome it as much-needed changing," Foreman said in 1993. "I see no solution to our ruination of earth except for a drastic reduction of the human population."
As AIDS, war and starvation killed African women and children during the Nineties, the news put social Darwinist Foreman and his humans-are-cancer allies in a party mood. "The worst thing we could do in Ethiopia is to give aid -- the best thing would be just to let the people there just starve," said Foreman, sounding more like a member of the S.S. than the Sierra Club.
While Foreman and other ecofanatics regurgitated variations on National Socialist environmental policy and Aryan paganism, some overt neofascist cross-breeds went into visions of annihilation.
In March 1995 the Green-Brown Anarchists took Foreman's suggestion and ratcheted it up several degrees in an internal bulletin:
For circulation among initiates only! The only sane response to mass society is mass murder. In the shadows, ashes and remains of the Green Action death camps there will be far more than mere liberation from mass society. This is where we shall discover the philosopher's stone, and with it the knowledge of how to return to a traditional form of society in tune with mother earth. This is a revolution in the true sense of the word, a homecoming.
Pol Pot had the right idea! Let the parasites drown in a sea of blood. A world population of 100,000 will be enough to build a pure society. Long live death!
A screed such as the above was but one among a myriad of communiques, threats and ultimatums that screamed across the Internet and out of shorwave radios in 1995. That was the year two white guys with different styles of killing became the most infamous American terrorists of our time.
Proclaiming itself as "neither left nor right, neither communist nor capitalist," this peculiar political creature is best known as the Third Position. Its history predates the Third Reich. Third Positionists push aside Hitler to identify with the Strasser brothers -- Otto and Gregor, influential early members of the National Socialist German Workers' Party -- the true "OG" Nazis. Gregor was Reich organization chief of the NSDAP until Hitler consolidated power and replaced him Josef Goebbels, a Strasserite who leaped to the arms of Hitler.
The Strassers and their Black Front looked east beyond national boundaries to a pan-Aryan socialist alliance that would oppose American democracy and Jewish finance. This was unacceptable to Hitler and his big-business partners in Germany who were hell-bent for the total conquest of Russia. The Strassers took the socialism in National Socialist seriously. But for Hitler it was merely a ploy. Hitler's power required the solid support of aristocrats, bankers and industrialists. On June 30, 1934 Hitler purged the Strasser brothers, their followers and the leadership of the S.A. in one murderous operation known as the Night of the Long Knives. The Gestapo took Gregor to one of its holding cells and shot him in the head. Brother Otto managed to escape, eventually making his way to Canada, where he prudently soft-pedaled his anti-Semitism while continuing as a significant presence on the international left-fascist scene until his death in 1974.
Whether calling themselves Third Positionists, national revolutionaries, national anarchists or some variant on the theme, the followers of the Strassers have fused strategic alliances -- actual and virtual -- into a movement that blends with the battle against global capitalism, environmental destruction and the evil empire -- the U.S.
"It's like they have this giant basket full of Easter goodies and are trying to figure out how to eat it all," observed historian Kevin Coogan, author of Dreamer of the Day: Francis Parker Yockey and the Postwar Fascist International. Coogan's book is a biography of the influential and strange American fascist who killed himself with a cyanide capsule in a San Francisco jail in 1960. In the course of his dogged research into Yockey, Coogan found himself interviewing aging members of the neo-Nazi undergrond that flourished during the Cold War. "There are some good reasons to think that Third Position radicalism may well be the next big thing when it comes to right-wing terrorism," says Coogan. "The most important reason is so obvious that it's easy to overlook -- the end of the Red Menace." As long as the commies were pounding shoes at the UN and pointing missiles at Miami, the far-right mantra was that capitalism and communism were both controlled by the Jews but that communism was worse. Now no one on the right today believes the Russki bogeyman theory except for a few guys who still spend each Saturday waddling around in camouflage in mosquito-infested swamps.
"Antiglobalism, anti-WTO protests, anarchists, ecowarriors, animal rights," continues Coogan. "They see this whole new counterculture generation as a potential constituency. They push fascism as a revolutionary movement of the left."
Even the conventional reading of the Nineties' American militia movement is now called to question. Was it really a right-wing movement after all? All their ranting about the new world order, loss of sovereignty and police-state tactics in 1994 easily transpose to the mouths of the anarachists today in the streets of Seattle, Prague, Davos and Genoa. The new Aryans have torched the white supremacy standard and raised their own separatist flag alongside the other ethnic banners -- except, of course, that blue one with the Mogen David. Within this fast-breeding white revolutionary subculture, young activists disdain hierarchy and seek a fluid movement capable of mass action on the streets and anonymous acts of target-specific terrorism.
Unlike America, Europe has a tradition to build on. In places such as Passau and Rome, grandfathers and great-uncles are links to the days of fascism. It is no surprise that the largest, most successful neofascist organizations in the world are in Germany and Italy. The Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands is one spawn of the postwar Nazi network. Like any good German production, the NPD is an extremely well organized, disciplined and substantially financed political machine. It is driven by a Strasserite, a member of the left-wing faction of National Socialism. The 37-year-old NPD functions as host to thousands of young brutes who form amorphous networks known as Kameradschaften. (Although, in Germany it's debated whether the NPD uses these local hard-core groups or the groups use the NPD.) German law enforcement and intelligence services saw the neo-Nazis shift to a cell strategy during the Nineties. They soon found shadowy trails leading from an array of terrorist crimes to the battered doors of the NPD. With such evidence the German government sought a ban on the neofascist party in 2000, an issue that quickly became a rallying point for the neo-Nazis from Moscow ito Australia.
Of all the NPD's friends who've rallied to the party's defense, the American William Pierce is easily the best known. Pierce is revered by every Aryan terrorist worth his ordnance as author of The Turner Diaries, a feverish dream book brimming with bombings, assassinations and nuclear strikes on Washington, D.C. and Tel Aviv. Since the publication of The Turner Diaries in 1978, a litany of major terrorist bombings, bank robberies, murders and other felonies in North America and Europe -- all in the name of white revolution -- have at times seemed inspired by Pierce and his book. Timonthy McVeigh's bombing in Oklahoma City increased sales of The Turner Diaries and heightened Pierce's status as a revolutionary. Trial testimony revealed that McVeigh made numerous phone calls to National Alliance offices -- including Pierce's headquarters -- beginning in 1993. McVeigh proselytized the novel to family, friends and strangers -- often giving away copies from a stash he carted around to gun shows.
By adapting to the times, Pierce has outlasted the dinosaurs of the American extremist right. With short-wave radio, the Internet, CDs, magazines and books, Pierce's racist revolutionary message reaches a global audience. Over the past seven years he has made numerous trips to Europe from his 346-acre National Allianced headquarters in West Virginia.
In 1999, the stoop-shouldered professor packed his bags and motored down from his mountain lair and made for Bavaria, where the NPD hosts an international conclave of neo-Nazis, fascists and skinheads in Falkenberg. Scheduled as the featured speaker for that year's congress, Pierce pitched international solidarity to the multinational crowd. "If our alliies are spread throughout many nations, so much the better," he said. "The Germans agree with me, the Russians agree, the Irish agree, the Poles agree, the Magyars agree, the Swedes agree, the Romanians agree. In every country in Europe, voices are being raised now for the same cause."
Despite his impeccable fascist credentials, Pierce's Hitler worship and stubborn authoritarianism have put him at odds with the Third Positionists and national revolutionaries. So in May 2000, when the Germans again convened an international meeting in Passau, Pierce was not among the thousands of neo-fascists who crammed into the Nazi-era Nibelungenhalle. Instead, the featured speaker was none other than Horst Mahler, whose Red Army Faction (also known as the Baader-Meinhof Gang) and its second- and third-generation progeny had peppered Europe with spectacular violence for more than 20 years. Trained at terrorist camps in the Bekk'aa Valley, the RAF joined forces with the Palestinians while obtaining weapons from German neo-Nazis. Indeed, a strong strain of anti-Semitism covered as "anti-Zionism" permeated the RAF ranks during those years.
Joining Mahler on the Passau stage were two heavy hitters linked to the Third Position. Roberto Fiore and his Irish protege, Derek "the Mad Monk" Holland, received enthusiastic applause as honorees at the congress. A millionaire mover on the neofascist scene, Fiore has terrorist credentials that date back more than 25 years to an era of vicious assassinations, bombings and kidnappings in Italy known as the years of lead. The grim highlight occurred on a hot August day in 1980 in Italy, when a suitcase detonated in the Bologna train station ripping through throngs of holiday travelers. The powerful device left 85 people dead and maimed more than 200 others. It was the worst terrorist attack in modern Italy.
Eight years later 13 men were convicted and sentenced for the attack. But at least 40 other neofascist suspects in the Bologna bombing and a score of other terrorist actions remained at large. Two of them -- Fiore and Massimo Morsello -- are wanted for questioning about their potential association as go-betweens for the Bologna bombers and the Italian secret service. (Fiore denies any involvement with the Bologna bombers, but he was convicted in absentia in Italy in 1985 for being a member of the group implicated in the bombing.) The young fanatics not only avoided extradition for more than a decade after fleeing to London, but they also became rich in the process, running an employment agency.
Fiore is national secretary of Forza Nuova, the Italian neo-Nazi organization based in Rome. Behind the scenes, he reportedly controls the International Third Position headed by Holland. The ITP shelters an array of organizations, front groups and operations throughout Europe and North America. Deceptively named groups such as Crusaders for the Unborn Child, the Legion of Saint Michael, the Legionary Third Position, the English Third Position, the American Third position, the Welsh Distributist Movement and the Scottish Distributist Movement and the publications Final Conflict, Candour, Rebellion and The Crusader all spin within Fiore's and Holland's orbits.
Two years ago Fiore extended his reach beyond the university-trained upper middle class and the orthodox Catholic right-wingers and went for the skinheads. He consolidated the ultraviolent neo-Nazi Hammerskin movment in Europe, employing Italian, Polish and other European skinheads and Nazis in his various businesses. For more than a decade, the conventional view from law enforcement and hate group monitors had been that skinheads were little more than drunken street thugs, full of beer and venom, dimwitted, dysfunctional yobs. They couldn't be organized and couldn't be controlled.
"Up until now the Third Position network has lacked the cadre to carry out serious mayhem," says Coogan. "Because trying to organize skinheads is like trying to herd cats."
But the Hammerskins were different. Their crossed claw hammers signify the best organized, most widely dispersed and dangerous skinhead group known: the Hammerskin Nation, which is rapidly assuming a political stance that goes beyond the old right-wing racism.
Maybe most troubling, the Hammerskins are a pure American product that first appeared on police blotters in the Eighties as the Confederate Hammerskins out of Dallas. They quickly spread acorss the country -- Northern Hammerskins in the Great Lakes region, Eastern Hammerskins in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Western Hammerskins in Arizona and California. Within a few years the Hammerskin Nation was global. Today the Hammerskin Nation has chapters in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Germany, Serbia, the Netherlands, France, the Czech Republic, Poland, Spain, Slovenia, Russia and Italy.
With the number of Hammerskins in Europe now exceeding 2000 and the frequent transatlantic travel of Hammerskin contingents between the U.S. and Europe, the Hammerskin Nation can no longer be viewed as a provincial problem. Police intelligence units in Florida, Arizona and Texas have reported the presence of British and German Hammerskins among the ranks of their local Hammerskin units.
British neo-Nazi fugitive Del O'Conner lived safely among his fellow Dallas Hammerskins, holding down a job and getting married. It wasn't until he made an ill-advised return to England that he was arrested. A Swedish neo-Nazi headed to America after he and his partner allegedly robbed a bank and killed a police officer. U.S. marshals arrested another notorious neo-Nazi outside the gates to William Pierce's National Alliance headquarters. This transatlantic traffic runs a regular schedule based on white-power concerts and festivals. These events offer cover to strategic and tactical meetings that take place before and after the concerts. From Germany to Georgia, it's a small world when you're doing business in the virtual Reich.
Full-bore neofascist front men like Pierce, Fiore and Mahler openly entertain media attention, but the more dynamic and dangerous fusion of right and left takes place apart from the large organizations. The tactic of leaderless resistance is an operational standard -- from the Earth Liberation Front to the anti-abortion Army of God to Black Bloc anarchists to neo-Nazi skinheads. It has permeated the Islamic jihad and the terrorist teams bankrolled by Osama bin Laden, who, according to reports from German intelligence, funneled money to European neo-Nazi cells last year.
The best-known advocates of leaderless resistance and lone wolf terroist actions are Louis Beam and Tom Metzger, two of the most prominent leaders of the American racist movement over the past quarter century. These revolutionary warhorses of the Aemrican white nationalism have long pressed forward a strategy that transcends the polarities on the left and right.
On his return from the Vietnam war as a Huey door gunner on an Army medevac, Beam saw the federal government as his main enemy. During the Seventies and Eighties, whether as a Grand Dragon in Texas or as ambassador-at-large for the Aryan Nation, Beam heaped abuse on "the federals" in Washington, D.C. and called for their destruction. Slowed by the effects of Agent Orange, Beam now holds forth from his Internet station deep in Texas as the eminence grise of the global white revolution. His website showcases the American-style Third Position and its solidarity with its European compatriots.
Even before the stench of CS gas had cleared in Seattle, Beam had posted a photo essay in solidarity with the demonstrators. Graphically drawing a line between the old racist right and the new wave of white revolution, Beam's web page showed how the neofascist game would play in the new millennium. Titled "Battle in Seattle: Americans Face Off the Police State," it is the most important and influential revolutionary essay by a white nationalist since the publication of Beam's essay "Leaderless Resistance." And like that 1983 terrorist insurgency classic, its impact will reach far beyond a constituency of racists. "The new American patriot will be nither left nor right, just a free man fighting for liberty," wrote Beam. "This is the same old game of dividing people up by labeling them racists or socialists, patriots or leftists, conservatives or liberals. All of these labels are but branding irons used to suppress people, keeping them at odds with one another, rather than paying attention to the black boots, the black suits and the black hearts of the police state that rules over all."
In California, Tom Metzger --- Beam's friend and fellow Klansman who once opposed the Vietnam war in the streets of San Diego -- has pushed for a working-class white revolution in the American bare-knuckle tradition of Jack London. Each Sunday Metzger's Aryan Update broadcasts to the world from his little house in Fallbrook that doubles as headquarters for the White Aryan Resistance, his propaganda and neo-Nazi sales enterprise. Few weekends go by in which Metzger fails to hammer global capitalism while urging would-be Aryan terrorists to raise their sights accordingly.
"I want it understood the right wing is the enemy. It stands between us and a real fight to take our race and nation back," declares Metzger, echoing Beam's dismissal of old guard racists in blunt terms. "They are the traitors within the gate. We must totally divorce our struggle from the right in all areas. For those who will not wake up, they must get out of the way or suffer the consequences."
Last year an American underground group calling itself Comrades of Kaczynski issued a communique on May Day. In a whirligig of wild-ass rhetoric, COK shot past the old left-right paradigm to call for total war. It rang the bells of young neofascists, primitive anarchists, ecowarriors and counterculture nihilists from Seattle to Stockholm: "We are never bored, and we are always planning. Collapse is near, and we are happy to be a part of it. A world full of rubble awaits. Freedom is ours."
"You have these Third Position-type groups organized in decentralized cells and hard as hell to infiltrate," sums up Coogan from his lair in Brooklyn. "With the militia craze gone like the hula hoop, who's to say the Third Position might not fill that void in the hard right? If that happens you don't have to be Cassandra to think we'll have a problem."
There are many options for the terrorist beyond ammonium nitrate and nitromethane, bullets and gasoline and matches. September 2001 woke up everyone to the fact that box cutters, a commercial jetliner, a vial of anthrax and the U.S. Postal Service were all a handful of terrorists needed to transform the most powerfu nation in history to a state of fear and confusion. There are thousands on the same wavelength of McVeigh and Kaczynski and Kopp. There are tens of thousands more on the wavelength of Bin Laden, Mahler, Pierce, Beam and Fiore. And hundreds of thousands more are coming from directions where the old mapping is irrelevant. Their targets and anger and hatred are unified beyond the old Chinese-menu style of politics - column A or column B. There are no Moscow rules, nor orders out of Langley, Virginia. The new terrorist is right next door, in the next cubicle or up the road. No one needs to tell a young anarchist in Arkansas, a Bavarian neo-Nazi, an anti-abortionist in Rome or an Egyptian jihadist what to do next. No one needs to go to Lebanon or east Texas or Afghanistan for terrorist training. As for political definitions, it's every man for himself and God against all.