Craig Cobb

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Craig Cobb
Craig Cobb supporting Pioneer Little Europe on Facebook, craigcobbple.png
Craig Cobb supporting Pioneer Little Europe on Facebook
Born Paul Craig Cobb
1951 (age 64–65)
Nationality American, Canadian[1]
Occupation Owner of Podblanc
Religion Creativity

Paul Craig Cobb (born circa 1951),[2] better known as Craig Cobb, is an American-Canadian[1] white nationalist, white separatist, Neo-Nazi, antisemite, and Holocaust denier who operates the video sharing website Podblanc. He claims "my race is my religion,"[3] and advocates "racial holy war" in accordance with the tenets of the Creativity religion.[4] Cobb gained notoriety within anti-racist and anti-fascist movements, and legal advocacy organizations that investigate hate speech and hate crimes, 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 city of Leith, North Dakota, with other white supremacists. The community has around 32 inhabitants. Cobb, who moved to Leith in 2012, attracted other white supremacists to the town and displayed Neo-Nazi paraphernalia on his properties. As a result, local residents and anti-racist organizations organized a protest 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. Welcome to Leith, a documentary film about Cobb's attempt to take over Leith, was released in 2015.

During the 2013 airing of The Trisha Goddard Show, Cobb was revealed as being part African American, though this has since then been proven false.[8] Nevertheless since then, Cobb has been described as a real-life Clayton Bigsby and has come under scrutiny of his fellow White Supremacists.[9]

Biography[edit]

Youth and early adulthood[edit]

Cobb has said his father was a multimillionaire businessman and his mother was a teacher.[2] 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 [sic] the next guy. ... They are very threatened by anything with racial cohesion."[10]

After serving in the armed forces, he lived in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, for five years before moving to Hawaii, where he lived for another 25 years and earned a living as a taxi driver.[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[clarification needed],[12] and distribution of Project Schoolyard CDs to local children,[clarification needed][13] and also attended an invitation-only leadership conference of the National Alliance.[citation needed]

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, 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 the Downtown Eastside area of Vancouver, British Columbia, where he also made an unsuccessful attempt to register a non-profit society called Whitepeace.[1][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 "willful 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 for its supply of high-paying jobs at oil fields and its high proportion of white residents. He claimed that he was fired from a job over 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.[citation needed] As of December 2013, Cobb resided in Leith, where he tried to create a white supremacist community.[30] By August 2013, he had purchased 13 plots of land in the town.[31] 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]

Plans for expansion[edit]

Cobb expressed interest in purchasing lots in Regan, North Dakota, and Crosby, North Dakota,[36][37] and said he would leave Leith if his charges will be dropped.[38] In February 2014, 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 Leith. Of the lots he originally purchased, three remain owned by Alex Linder, Tom Metzger, and Jeff Schoep.[39]

Legal issues[edit]

In September 2013, Custer Health Environmental Services in Mandan, North Dakota, which provides safety and sanitation inspections for five counties, including Grant County, had issued 12 citations that month to 10 individuals, including Cobb.[40] Citing Cobb's failure to install a running water and sewage system in his properties within the 30-day deadline,[40] the health unit announced that it would seek a court order to condemn his properties,[40] unless he cooperated and released a plan detailing future water and sewage installation.[40] Afterwards, Cobb announced that he had no intention of cooperating with the health unit and planned to fight the eviction notice.[40]

Arrest and release on probation[edit]

In November 2013, Cobb and Kynan Dutton were arrested by two Grant county deputies and held in the Mercer County jail. Dutton was already out on bond for a previous drunken disorderly conduct charge. Cobb was upset, claiming his property was vandalized by the town's residents; two videos from their subsequent 'patrol' were posted on YouTube. They were booked on suspicion of terrorizing.[41] Ultimately the two were charged with six counts of "terrorizing", the DA dropped the second of seven originals counts, after one man, acting as a reporter in some capacity, later claimed that he 'did not feel threatened'. 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.[42] This despite two Youtube videos depicted a heated, profanity-filled exchange and tirade by Cobb.[43] The two men subsequently appeared in court for a bond hearing, and the court decided that both should be held without bail.[44] He refused food while in prison, but said that his refusal was not 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.[45] Together with his follower Kynan Dutton the two men were scheduled for a preliminary hearing on seven felony accounts of terrorism to be held on January 13, 2014.[46] His bail was set at $1 million.[47]

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 because 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.[48]

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 moved in was being ridden with "turmoil and deception." The episode featured Shahrazad Ali, who agreed with Cobb on the concept of racial separation.[49] In a November 2013 interview, Goddard revealed the results of a DNA test to which Cobb had agreed indicating that he was genetically 14 percent Sub-Saharan African.[8] Cobb dismissed the results as "statistical noise" and "short science".[8] An article claiming that Cobb had committed suicide by hanging himself after learning of his black ancestry began to spread across social media websites after the test; the article turned out to be a hoax.[50]

Cobb said in March 2015 that a second DNA test found him Caucasian except for what he called a "3% Iberian thing."[51]

Antler, North Dakota[edit]

In 2015, Cobb attempted to purchase $10,000 worth of property in Antler, North Dakota, in an attempt to take over the town and rename it "Creativity Trump", a reference to Donald Trump, whom Cobb says he admires.[52] [53]

Nebraska[edit]

In 2015, Cobb purchased three foreclosed properties, two in Red Cloud, Nebraska and one in Inavale, Nebraska. He stated that these purchases were part of another plan to establish an all-white community.[54] A local court blocked the sale after nearby town residents were able to pay the back taxes for the properties.[55]

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.[56] Documented incidents include a rally in Kingston, New York in 2005 and a 50 Cent concert in Tallinn in 2008.[57][58] One such disruption 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.[56]

Online activities[edit]

Cobb posts under his own name on Stormfront and under the pseudonym "Chain" (on Podblanc), which references the abolition of the National Origins Formula in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. While his Internet activities center upon "tireless propaganda"[59] 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 albeit by somebody not affiliated with Cobb or white supremacy. 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]

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  2. ^ a b Collins, Laura (November 6, 2013). "'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". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved November 6, 2013. Craig Cobb, 62... 
  3. ^ a b Kärmas, Mihkel (9 November 2006). "Rassism on minu religioon". Eesti Express. Retrieved March 28, 2010. 
  4. ^ Cobb, Craig (24 March 2010). "Deprogram". Podblanc.com. Retrieved March 29, 2010. 
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  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. ^ a b c "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. 
  9. ^ "Feud tied to DNA test of supremacist's black blood". Virginia: USA Today. 21 November 2013. 
  10. ^ "Leith, N.D., residents want white supremacist out; he says he is staying". The Grand Forks Herald. August 23, 2013. 
  11. ^ "White/African American supremacist Cobb attends UND symposium on 'Faces of Hatred'". The Bemedji Pioneer. Minnesota. Forum News Service. October 8, 2013. Archived from the original on July 15, 2015. 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. 
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  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. 
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  29. ^ Nicholson, Blake (August 30, 2013). "Tiny N.D. town fights against white supremacist". USA Today. Associated Press. Retrieved August 30, 2013. 
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  31. ^ Donovan, Lauren (August 22, 2013). "Mayor: 'Everybody's wound up' over plans for white supremacist takeover of N.D. town". The Bismarck Tribune. Bismarck, North Dakota. Archived from the original on August 27, 2013. Retrieved September 8, 2015. 
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  34. ^ "Protest planned for white supremacist's visit to Leith, N.D.". 
  35. ^ "UND Symposium Addresses 'Cobbsville'". KVRR. October 7, 2013. 
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  40. ^ 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. Dickinson, North Dakota. Forum News Service. Archived from the original on September 26, 2013. Retrieved October 8, 2013. 
  41. ^ "Craig Cobb in Custody". 
  42. ^ "White supremacists arrested in Leith, N.D., on suspicion of terrorizing". 
  43. ^ ?
  44. ^ "Cobb remains in jail on no bond". 
  45. ^ "White supremacist refusing food in ND jail". The San Francisco Chronicle. 
  46. ^ "White supremacist returned to jail in North Dakota". Rapid City Journal. December 12, 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  47. ^ 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. 
  48. ^ NIcholson, Blake (2014-04-29). "White supremacist gets probation in North Dakota". Lowell Sun. Associated Press. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  49. ^ "The Trisha Show". The Trisha Goddard Show. October 2013. Retrieved October 20, 2013. 
  50. ^ "Craig Cobb Hanging Hoax: White Supremacist Did Not 'Lynch' Himself, Isn't Dead". 
  51. ^ "Craig Cobb Continues Fighting to Prove He's Actually White". Southern Poverty Law Center. March 10, 2015. Archived from the original on September 26, 2015. 
  52. ^ Glass-Moore, Adrian (August 14, 2015). "White supremacist wants to take over, rename town after Donald Trump". Grand Forks Herald. Grand Forks. Archived from the original on September 28, 2015. Retrieved October 9, 2015. 
  53. ^ "Report: White Supremacist Wants To Rename Tiny North Dakota City After Donald Trump". CBS New York. CBS Local. October 7, 2015. Retrieved 4 July 2016. 
  54. ^ Kokesh, Jessica (October 2, 2015). "White supremacist buys properties in south-central Nebraska". Omaha World-Herald. Nebraska. Archived from the original on October 6, 2015. Retrieved October 6, 2015. 
  55. ^ Thomas, Judy L. (November 11, 2015). "Towns thwart neo-Nazi's efforts to create all-white enclaves". The Kansas City Star. Archived from the original on December 17, 2015. Retrieved December 17, 2015. 
  56. ^ a b "Behind the Gunfire: Alleged Murderer Inspired by Podblanc Hate Site". Southern Poverty Law Center. Summer 2009. Archived from the original on June 2, 2009. Retrieved March 28, 2010. 
  57. ^ Nichols, Nicole (7 December 2005). "Chain of Fools". Citizens Against Hate. Retrieved March 31, 2010. 
  58. ^ 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. 
  59. ^ Kärmas, Mihkel (2 November 2006). "Neegrivihkaja rajab Rapla metsatallu keskust" [Neegrivihkaja establishes Rapla farm forestry center]. Eesti Ekspress. Retrieved March 31, 2010.