Craig Cobb

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Craig Cobb
Born Craig Paul Cobb
(1951-10-09) October 9, 1951 (age 62)
Maryville, Missouri, U.S.
Residence Sherwood, North Dakota, U.S.[1]
Nationality American, Canadian[2]
Occupation Owner of Podblanc
Religion The Creativity Movement

Craig Paul Cobb (born October 9, 1951) is an American anti-semitic, anti-LGBT, white supremacist who operates the video sharing website Podblanc. He claims "racism is my religion"[3] and advocates "racial holy war" in accordance with the tenets of The Creativity Movement.[4] Cobb gained notoriety within anti-racist and anti-fascist movements and legal advocacy organizations that investigate hate speech and hate crime for his "celebration of violence and murder committed against minorities"[5] as documented in his video recordings, online activities, and disruptions at public events.[6][7]

Cobb is known for his movement to dominate the hamlet of Leith, North Dakota with other white supremacists. The hamlet of sixteen inhabitants has one African-American resident, who is married to a white woman. Cobb, who moved to Leith in 2012, attracted other white supremacists to the town and has Neo-Nazi paraphernalia displayed on his property. As a result, local residents and anti-racist organizations have organized multiple protests in Leith against Cobb and his allies. Cobb has appeared on several radio talk shows and the The Trisha Goddard Show, to talk about his plans for the white supremacy movement in Leith.

Biography[edit]

Youth and early adulthood[edit]

Cobb was raised in Boston, Massachusetts. His father was a multimillionaire businessman and his mother was a teacher. Cobb attended a private school in Boston where he graduated in 1968.[8][9] Cobb says he grew up a Christian, but has since renounced Christianity, saying "I don't understand Christians. They have a need to be morally superior than the next guy... They are very threatened by anything with racial cohesion." [10] After serving in the armed forces he moved to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada for five years then relocated to Hawaii where he lived for another 25 years and earned a living as a taxi driver.[11] It was believed during his taxi driving career that he developed white supremacist views, with the rising crime rate in Hawaii, and the ethnic demographics of the state.[11]

In 2003 he relocated to Frost, West Virginia, where he opened a grocery store and subsequently registered a business called "Gray's Store, Aryan Autographs and 14 Words, L.L.C." During this time he was involved in unsolicited inter-state deliveries of a neo-Nazi newspaper published by Alex Linder,[12] distribution of Project Schoolyard CDs to local children,[13] and attended an invitation-only leadership conference of the National Alliance.

Moving abroad[edit]

In late 2005, after receiving an inheritance of $85,000, he moved to Tallinn, Estonia. In Tallinn, Cobb met with white power skinheads, and purchased land 30 miles (48 kilometers) south of Tallinn where he hoped to establish an "International Office of White Diaspora".[14][15] During this period of time, Cobb established Podblanc, a white supremacist video sharing website. He also unsuccessfully attempted to find an Estonian wife[16] and came to public attention after conducting an interview with a former Estonian Ministry of Justice employee whom he introduced as the leader of the Estonian Nazis.[17] On August 25, 2009, he was issued a ten-year ban from Estonia and deported to Canada, where Cobb claims to hold citizenship, for "endangering state security, public order, public safety, moral standards, health, other public interests"[18] and promoting racism.[19][20] During his period of incarceration before deportation his supporters in the U.S. made contact with Canadian neo-fascist Paul Fromm in order to prepare for Cobb's anticipated arrest under Canadian hate speech laws. In March 2010, after posting videos of anti-racist activists online, he was discovered to be living in Vancouver where he also made an unsuccessful attempt to register a non-profit society called Whitepeace.[2][21]

Returning to the U.S.[edit]

In June 2010 Cobb was arrested by police in Vancouver but released with a summons[22] after which he left Canada to return to the United States. In 2010, Cobb was living in Kalispell, Montana, which was a recruiting target for several white nationalists.[23] Cobb engaged in a feud with another local neo-Nazi, Karl Gharst, against whom he recently[when?] obtained a restraining order. His activities were opposed by the local pro-tolerance group Love Lives Here.[24] At the end of December 2010 Canadian authorities issued a warrant for his arrest on the charge of "wilful promotion of hatred after a failure to appear".[25][26] Cobb responded to the warrant by stating "You can find me in the orange easy chair near the elevator" at the Flathead County Library in Kalispell.[27][28]

Leith, North Dakota[edit]

Cobb relocated to western North Dakota due to its supply of high-paying jobs at oil fields and high proportion of white residents. He claimed that he was fired from a job due to disagreements with a co-worker, and that he lost a job with a Fargo paving company after there was media coverage of his settlement plans.[29] While Cobb was working in Watford City, North Dakota, he found on Craigslist that there were lots available for sale in Leith, North Dakota. He moved there in 2012.[30] As of December 2013, Cobb resides in Leith, where he is trying to create a white supremacist community.[31] He reportedly owns at least 12 plots of land in the town. Several other prominent white supremacists, including April Gaede and her husband, also own land in Leith.[32] He has transferred ownership of two plots to fellow white supremacists Alex Linder and Tom Metzger. Another white supremacist, Jeff Schoep, visited Leith in late September 2013 in order to support Cobb, and he brought several fellow members of the National Socialist Movement with him.[33] Several former members of Anti-Racist Action formed a peaceful, grassroots movement called UnityND and began organizing a demonstration of their own in Leith, that would protest against both Cobb and Schoep. Several hundred people attended the protests against Cobb and his allies, including hundreds of members of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.[34] As a reaction to Cobb's planned takeover of Leith, some have even advocated disbanding Leith and dissolving it into Grant County proper. Cobb stated that he will pursue to file a restraining order against the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.[35]

Legal issues[edit]

On September 24, it was announced that Custer Health Environmental Services in Mandan which provides safety and sanitation inspections for five counties, including Grant County, had issued 12 citations the previous week to 10 individuals, including Cobb.[36] Citing Cobb's failure to install a running water and sewage system in his properties within the 30 day deadline,[36] the health unit announced they would seek a court order to condemn his properties,[36] unless he cooperated and released a plan detailing future water and sewage installation.[36] Afterwards, Cobb announced that he had no intention of cooperating with the health unit and planned to fight the eviction notice.[36]

Arrest and release on probation[edit]

On November 16, 2013, it was announced that Cobb and Kynan Dutton had been arrested by county deputies and were in custody after patrolling town while carrying rifles allegedly threatening two residents of Leith and one visitor with guns, after Cobb's property was allegedly vandalized by the town's residents. Two videos from their patrol were posted on YouTube. They were booked on suspicion of terrorizing.[37] According to the Leith website developer, Cobb and the other man arrested held the guns high and then lowered them, but did not speak and did not point the guns directly at the men.[38] The two men subsequently appeared in court for a bond hearing, and the court decided that both should be held without bail.[39] He refused food while in prison, but said that his refusal was not due to a hunger strike; rather, he was practicing mahasamadhi and that he believed he would leave his physical body for another "plane of existence" at Yuletide. He also said he considers himself a martyr.[40] Together with his follower Kynan Dutton the two men are scheduled for a preliminary hearing on seven felony accounts of terrorism to be held January 13, 2014.[41] His bail was set at $1 million.[42]

After a plea agreement, Cobb was released on April 29, 2014 on four years probation and time served. Leith's Mayor Ryan Schock and Councilman Lee Cook, who was one of Cobb's victims, expressed concerns for the town's safety as Cobb had given property to white separatist Tom Metzger, National Socialist Movement Commander Jeff Schoep and white supremacist Alex Linder. Cobb himself had earlier announced his "retirement from white nationalism" and has said that he will seek permission to transfer his probation to Missouri where he will look after his mother.[43]

Media appearances and genetic testing[edit]

In October 2013, Cobb was featured as a guest on The Trisha Goddard Show, where he met with the lone black resident of Leith and his white wife. The couple said that their lives were being disrupted and that their experience in Leith since Cobb moving in as ridden with "turmoil and deception." The episode featured Shahrazad Ali, who agreed with Cobb on the concept of racial separation.[44] In a November 2013 interview, Goddard revealed the results of a DNA test to which Cobb had agreed indicating that he may be genetically 14 per cent Sub-Saharan African.[45] Cobb dismissed the results as "statistical noise" and "short science".[45] An article claiming that Cobb hanged himself after learning of his black ancestry soon began to spread across social media websites; however, this was a hoax.[46]

Plans for expansion[edit]

Cobb has expressed interest in purchasing lots in Regan, North Dakota and Crosby, North Dakota.[47][48] However he later said he will leave town if his charges will be dropped.[49] In February of 2014, though, he sold his house in Leith and one other plot of land to a man from neighboring Carson, and in March he deeded his remaining lots back to the city of Leith. Of the dozen lots he originally purchased, three remain owned by Alex Linder, Tom Metzger, and Jeff Schoep.[50]

Video recordings and disruptions[edit]

Cobb's video recordings fall into two types of productions. The first consists of unedited presentations of antisemitic canards commentary and discussion featuring close-up shots of himself, often presented as part of his "Deprogram" series on YouTube and Podblanc. The second consists of street interviews gathered at events where Cobb presents himself as a journalist for Vanguard News Network, asks a series of provocative questions laced with racial slurs, typically sparking outrage from targeted individuals.[51] Documented incidents include a rally in Kingston, New York in 2005 and a 50 Cent concert in Tallinn in 2008.[52][53] The most well-known of these disruptions occurred in October 2005 at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda as civil rights leader Rosa Parks was lying in state. Cobb confronted visitors, referred to Parks as a "shitskin communist", and stated that he was there celebrating her death.[51]

Online activities[edit]

Cobb uses the online pseudonyms "No 1965 Chain Immigrants" (on Stormfront) and "Chain" (on Podblanc), which references to the abolition of the National Origins Formula in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. While his Internet activities center upon "tireless propaganda"[54] for Podblanc he is also active in discussion boards where, after the arrest of Matt Hale in 2003 for soliciting the murder of U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow, Cobb posted the judge's home address, family photographs and a map to her house. Lefkow's husband and mother were subsequently murdered. In reply to a reporter's question "What were you feeling when the double murder happened?" Cobb stated "What was I feeling? Emotions are not yet illegal. I was just fine with it. I think it was well done."[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Craig Cobb Could be Moving to Sherwood - KX News
  2. ^ a b Thompson, Dave (September 23, 2013). "White supremacists want to take over North Dakota town". Edmonton Examiner. Retrieved October 20, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Kärmas, Mihkel (9 November 2006). "Rassism on minu religioon". Eesti Ekspress. Retrieved March 28, 2010. 
  4. ^ Cobb, Craig (24 March 2010). "Deprogram". Podblanc.com. Retrieved March 29, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Looky Who Wants To Come To Canada: Craig Cobb". Anti-Racist Canada. 11 August 2009. Retrieved March 28, 2010. 
  6. ^ Maynard, Curt (21 January 2010). "More Pseudo-Nazis Exposed". Rebel News. Retrieved March 30, 2010. 
  7. ^ Lindstedt, Martin (21 April 2009). "The Christian Identity News Network vs. Corn Cobb's Podblanc". White Nationalist. Retrieved March 30, 2010. 
  8. ^ "'The Village of the Damned': Inside the North Dakota town where residents sleep with guns by their beds in fear of white supremacist 'cult' trying to take over community". London: Daily Mail. November 6, 2013. Retrieved November 6, 2013. 
  9. ^ Morenko, Constantine (5 September 2009). "Apxив: Одинокий расист желает познакомиться". DzD.ee. Retrieved March 28, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Leith, N.D., residents want white supremacist out; he says he is staying". 
  11. ^ a b "White supremacist Cobb attends UND symposium on 'Faces of Hatred'". The Bemedji Pioneer. October 8, 2013. Retrieved October 20, 2013. 
  12. ^ Owens, Michael; Foster, J. Todd (28 October 2005). "Aryan Messenger Comes to "Wake up White People"". The News-Virginian. Retrieved March 30, 2010. 
  13. ^ "Racist Group Distributes White Supremacy CDs in West Virginia, Weeklies Report". Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues. 29 October 2004. Retrieved March 28, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Американский националист искал в Таллинне жену" [American nationalist was looking for wife in Tallinn] (in Russian). Postimees.ru. 3 September 2009. Retrieved March 31, 2010. 
  15. ^ "U.S. Neo-Nazi Operates in Estonia". Southern Poverty Law Center. Summer 2007. Retrieved March 28, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Одинокий расист желает познакомиться" [Lone racist wants to meet]. Postimees.ru. 3 September 2009. Retrieved March 28, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Неонацист ищет сторонников в Балтии" [Neo-Nazi supporters looking in the Baltics]. Gorod.lv. 7 November 2006. Retrieved March 28, 2010. 
  18. ^ Turay, Abdul (14 August 2009). "Американского неонациста высылают из Эстонии" [American neo-Nazi deported from Estonia]. Postimees.ru. Retrieved March 28, 2010. 
  19. ^ Turay, Abdul (11 August 2009). "Neo-Nazi Thrown Out". Estonia Today. Retrieved March 28, 2010. 
  20. ^ "Estija išsiuntė amerikietį neonacį" [Estonia sent out an American neo-Nazi] (in Lithuanian). Lrytas.lv. 14 August 2009. Retrieved March 30, 2010. 
  21. ^ Smith, Charlie (25 March 2010). "U.S. White Supremacist Videotapes Anti-Nazi Rally in New Westminster". The Georgia Straight. Retrieved March 28, 2010. 
  22. ^ Bellett, Gerry (7 January 2011). "RCMP seek white supremacist who fails to appear in court". The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 7 January 2011. 
  23. ^ Testa, Dan (October 17, 2010). "Another Prominent White Nationalist Screens Film at Library". Flathead Beacon. Retrieved October 20, 2013. 
  24. ^ Headley, Jessica (October 14, 2010). "New Sect Of White Nationalists Promotes In Flathead Valley". NBC Montana. Retrieved November 8, 2010. 
  25. ^ Chan, Cheryl (6 January 2011). "Warrant issued for man over B.C.-based racist website". Postmedia News. Retrieved 7 January 2011. 
  26. ^ Wintonyk, Darcy (6 January 2011). "B.C. Mounties hunt white supremacist over website". CTV News. Retrieved 7 January 2011. 
  27. ^ Baron, Ethan (7 January 2011). "White supremacist wanted in B.C. taunts police from U.S.". Postmedia News. Retrieved 7 January 2011. 
  28. ^ Wintonyk, Darcy (7 January 2011). "Wanted white supremacist taunts authorities". CTV News. Retrieved 7 January 2011. 
  29. ^ Nicholson, Blake (August 30, 2013). "Tiny N.D. town fights against white supremacist". USA Today. Associated Press. Retrieved August 30, 2013. 
  30. ^ "Small town struggles with hate and racism". Student Media Center. October 18, 2013. Retrieved October 19, 2013. 
  31. ^ Wanted in Canada, B.C. white supremacist seeks to turn North Dakota town into a neo-Nazi enclave by Jennifer Saltman, Postmedia News (published in the National Post), August 27, 2013.
  32. ^ "White supremacist taking over North Dakota town?". 
  33. ^ "Leader of supremacist group plans visit to Leith". 
  34. ^ "Protest planned for white supremacist's visit to Leith, N.D.". 
  35. ^ "UND Symposium Addresses 'Cobbsville'". KVRR. October 7, 2013. 
  36. ^ a b c d e Jerke, T.J. (September 24, 2013). "Health unit says it is willing to work with Cobb, planning to go to court". The Dickinson Press. Retrieved October 8, 2013. 
  37. ^ "Craig Cobb in Custody". 
  38. ^ "White supremacists arrested in Leith, N.D., on suspicion of terrorizing". 
  39. ^ "Cobb remains in jail on no bond". 
  40. ^ "White supremacist refusing food in ND jail". The San Francisco Chronicle. 
  41. ^ "White supremacist returned to jail in North Dakota". Rapid City Journal. December 12, 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  42. ^ Scott Kaufman (2013-12-30). "North Dakota white supremacist Craig Cobb’s bail on terrorizing charges set at $1 million". The Raw Story. Retrieved 2014-03-03. 
  43. ^ NIcholson, Blake (2014-04-29). "White supremacist gets probation in North Dakota". Lowell Sun. Associated Press. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  44. ^ "The Trisha Show". The Trisha Goddard Show. October 2013. Retrieved October 20, 2013. 
  45. ^ a b "Watch the moment white supremacist trying to take over North Dakota town refuses to fist bump black host after she tells him he was 14 per cent African". London: Daily Mail. 11 November 2013. 
  46. ^ "Craig Cobb Hanging Hoax: White Supremacist Did Not ‘Lynch’ Himself, Isn’t Dead". 
  47. ^ "Craig Cobb wants to purchase land in Regan, ND". WDAY. October 10, 2013. 
  48. ^ "White supremacist family moves to Leith". Bakken Today. October 12, 2013. 
  49. ^ "Craig Cobb: Will Leave North Dakota if Charges Dropped | Hatewatch". Splcenter.org. 2013-11-27. Retrieved 2014-03-03. 
  50. ^ "Cobb gives property back to Leith; white separatist Metzger says he won’t do the same". The Dickinson Press. 2014-03-04. Retrieved 2014-07-02. 
  51. ^ a b "Behind the Gunfire: Alleged Murderer Inspired by Podblanc Hate Site". Southern Poverty Law Center. Summer 2009. Retrieved March 28, 2010. 
  52. ^ Nichols, Nicole (7 December 2005). "Chain of Fools". Citizens Against Hate. Retrieved March 31, 2010. 
  53. ^ Kärmas, Mihkel (8 April 2008). "Американский неонацист занимался пропагандой на концерте 50 Cent в Таллинне" [American neo-Nazi propaganda engaged in at 50 Cent concert in Tallinn]. Postimees.ee. Retrieved March 28, 2010. 
  54. ^ Kärmas, Mihkel (2 November 2006). "Neegrivihkaja rajab Rapla metsatallu keskust" [Neegrivihkaja establishes Rapla farm forestry center]. Eesti Ekspress. Retrieved March 31, 2010. 

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