POLITICS
18/03/2019 1:00 PM AEDT | Updated 19/03/2019 2:50 AM AEDT

Exclusive: 7 U.S. Military Members Identified As Part Of White Nationalist Group

Leaked chat logs revealed military servicemen with ties to the extremist group Identity Evropa.

HuffPost Illustration/Getty Images
HuffPost verified the identities of seven men currently serving in the armed forces who posted messages on the messaging platform Discord, which is used by the white nationalist group Identity Evropa, indicating that they hold deeply racist and anti-Semitic views.

Leaked chat logs have connected seven current members of the U.S. armed forces to a white nationalist group, according to a HuffPost investigation.

Two Marines, two Army ROTC cadets, an Army physician, a member of the Texas National Guard and one member of the Air Force all belong to an organization called Identity Evropa, which is listed by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center as an extremist group.

For years, Identity Evropa members have used a server on Discord, a group chat app popular among the alt-right, to send messages to one another. Last week the independent media collective Unicorn Riot published the contents of that Discord server in its entirety.

A largely anonymous network of anti-fascist activists reviewed the Discord logs, using biographical details mentioned by Identity Evropa members, most of whom posted under pseudonyms, to uncover their offline identities.

Building off that research, HuffPost verified the identities of seven men currently serving in the military. Their messages on the Discord server indicate that they hold deeply racist and anti-Semitic views and participate in Identity Evropa propaganda campaigns, posting stickers and flyers in cities and on college campuses.  

The Marine Corps, the Army, the Air Force and the Texas National Guard confirmed to HuffPost that the identified men were active members in those services. After HuffPost’s inquiries, the military is investigating some of the men’s possible ties to Identity Evropa; some servicemen were already under investigation as a result of previous tips. The military is determining whether they violated rules regarding discrimination and extremist activity.

News of Identity Evropa’s presence in the military comes at a time of heightened awareness of white nationalist violence. On Friday, a white nationalist gunman opened fire on two mosques in New Zealand, killing at least 49 worshipers. Asked Friday if he sees a rise in white nationalism around the world, President Donald Trump responded, “I don’t really. I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess.”

There is growing concern about white nationalists connected to the U.S. armed forces, of which Trump is commander-in-chief.

In February, federal authorities arrested Coast Guard Lt. Christopher Hasson, a white nationalist who prosecutors allege was stockpiling weapons to massacre leftists and reporters in a violent plot to establish a “white homeland.”

Last year, a series of investigative reports by ProPublica and “Frontline” found multiple members of violent neo-Nazi groups among the ranks of the military.

And a 2017 poll conducted by the Military Times found that nearly 25 percent of service members surveyed said they encountered white nationalists within their ranks. That poll found that 30 percent of troops said they saw white nationalism as a bigger threat to national security than the wars in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Kathleen Belew, the author of Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America, told HuffPost that white nationalists in our armed forces pose a clear danger.

Veterans and active-duty personnel, she said, have “played an instrumental role in moving weapons, training and tactics from military to civilian spaces” and “dramatically escalated the impact of white power violence on civilian populations.”

Daryle Jenkins, the founder of the anti-racist group One People’s Project and an Air Force veteran, expressed concern over the safety of nonwhite and non-Christian members of the services who have to work alongside white nationalists in uniform who could “undermine and threaten their fellow soldier,” he said.

NurPhoto via Getty Images
White nationalists and neo-Nazis marching on Aug. 11, 2017, the night before the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a counterprotester was killed.

Identity Evropa itself was founded by an ex-Marine. The group — distinctive for its blue-and-white dragon eye logo — was instrumental in organizing 2017’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, as HuffPost reported from the ground. The group claims to promote white European pride but is decidedly racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-immigrant in nature.  

Members of the group marched through Charlottesville chanting, “You will not replace us!” One of Identity Evropa’s leaders at the time, Eli Mosley — mere hours after a neo-Nazi drove a car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer — told HuffPost, “Our people are feeling good right now.”

The group’s former leaders are named in a lawsuit for their role in the violence there.

Since then, Identity Evropa — which claims to have hundreds of members — has tried to shake its public association with the violence of the so-called alt-right and to appeal to Trump’s supporters.

The group has been working to infiltrate the GOP — one member won an uncontested seat on his local Republican Party committee — and recruit members on college campuses. A recent report from the Anti-Defamation League found that Identity Evropa’s campus flyer campaigns were partly responsible for record-setting levels of white supremacist propaganda spotted across America last year.

Days after the chat logs were published, Identity Evropa’s leader, 29-year-old Patrick Casey, a resident of Virginia who rose to a leadership role after producing videos for a white nationalist site, announced a rebrand: Identity Evropa is now the American Identity Movement.

A list of the servicemen in Identity Evropa identified by HuffPost is below.

Members In The U.S. Marine Corps

Stephen T. Farrea, a corporal in the Selected Marine Corps Reserve, wrote on Discord, “Portsmouth my town 95 percent white very nice.”

Stephen T. Farrea, 29, is a corporal in the Selected Marine Corps Reserve, a spokesperson for the military branch confirmed. In the chatlog, Farrea used the username SuperTomPerry-RI and often noted that he was in the military.

“I have the Marine Corps Ball during the November meetup sorry gents,” he wrote in August 2018.

Photos posted by SuperTomPerry-RI match photos posted on Instagram by his wife; public records show the couple as having lived at an address in Rhode Island. She separately posted a photo of her and her husband at the Marine Corps Ball last November.

In the chat logs, Farrea made racist comments. He wrote, “Portsmouth my town 95 percent white very nice” and said he couldn’t wait to post “It’s okay to be white” flyers in Rhode Island.

Last week, he attended an Identity Evropa gathering in Kentucky. HuffPost called the hotel where members were staying. A hotel employee confirmed that he was a guest there. Later, his wife posted a photo to Instagram from near the hotel.

Farrea did not respond to requests for comment.

Also at the gathering in Kentucky was another Marine, Jason Laguardia, who the Marine Corps confirmed is a lance corporal in the Selected Marine Corps Reserve.

Jason Laguardia posted on the Discord server an image of himself waving an Identity Evropa flag (left). He visited a New Haven, Connecticut, TV station wearing a Marine uniform (right).

On Identity Evropa’s Discord server, he goes by the name Jason-CT.

Jason-CT regularly posted pictures of Identity Evropa flyers and stickers he placed throughout Connecticut and New York City. He often targeted college campuses with the propaganda, posting photos from Yale University, New York University and Baruch College.

Working from anonymous activists’ research, HuffPost identified Laguardia by linking photos of him from the Discord to pictures on other sites.

In October 2018, Jason-CT posted photos of a trip he took to Fort Nathan Hale on the Connecticut coast near New Haven. The photo shows two men, one of them holding up an American flag and the other with an Identity Evropa flag.

The man with the Identity Evropa flag can also be seen in an unrelated photo posted to a Greenwich news article. The caption of that photo names him as Jason LaGuardia.

In yet another photo, posted by a New Haven TV host, Laguardia can be seen in a Marine uniform.

Laguardia was also pictured at the Kentucky gathering. He hung up on a HuffPost reporter who reached out to him for comment.

A photo from a gathering of the American Identity Movement, originally called Identity Evropa, posted to Twitter in March 2019. Laguardia, a Marine, can be seen in the photo.

Col. Ted Wong, a spokesperson for the U.S. Marine Corps, told HuffPost in a statement that the branch is investigating Farrea’s and Laguardia’s connections to Identity Evuropa.

“There is no place for racial hatred or extremism in the Marine Corps. Our strength is derived from the individual excellence of every Marine regardless of background,” Wong said. “Bigotry and racial extremism run contrary to our core values. The Marine Corps will investigate the allegations and take the appropriate disciplinary actions if warranted.”

Two ROTC Cadets

One of the most active posters in the chat logs was Lawrence of Eurabia.

Lawrence of Eurabia referred to biographical information in his chats. He said he is a member of the ROTC program at Montana State University in Bozeman and is in the Army National Guard. He also said that he was a wrestler in high school from a town in Montana and that his dad worked as a stonemason there.

Those details match publicly available information about Jay C. Harrison, 20, who the Army confirmed is in the ROTC program at Montana State University at Bozeman and is a member of the Army National Guard.  

His posts in the chat logs, as well as those on another white nationalist server published by Unicorn Riot, are often racist and anti-Semitic.

“Go play niggerball if you aren’t tough enough for wrestling,” Harrison wrote in one post. “God I hate basketball so much.”

“I wish the holocaust had been real,” he wrote in another. “Not one kike was ever gassed.”

Lawrence of Eurabia posted this photo in the Identity Evropa chat logs.

In December 2018 he wrote he was holding off on posting racist flyers until he could join Identity Evropa. By March 1, it appeared Harrison had become a member. He posted a photo of an Identity Evropa sticker he placed on a concrete bollard. “Montana State University Bozeman,” he wrote in the caption. “Heavy foot traffic area between classes, good spot for my one sticker left.”

HuffPost attempted to relay a message to Harrison via an official at the Montana State ROTC program. He hasn’t responded to that request for comment. HuffPost was unable to contact Harrison directly.

Last fall, Identity Evropa flyers and stickers were posted across Brighton, New York, a town just south of Rochester. Police investigated, pulling fingerprints from the stickers, and this month announced they found a match: a 23-year-old University of Rochester student named Christopher Hodgman, who the Army confirmed is an ROTC cadet and a member of the Army Reserve.

It’s possible that Hodgman also posted on Discord under the name Alex Kolchak-NY.

Alex Kolchak-NY wrote often about Russian politics and history. Since-deleted information on Hodgman’s Linkedin profile notes that he is a Russian studies major.

In September, Alex Kolchak-NY posted photos of stickers he said he placed in Brighton — around the same time Hodgman has admitted he did the same.

A lawyer for Hodgman said in an email to HuffPost that just because his client posted Identity Evropa posters doesn’t necessarily mean he belongs to the group. The lawyer did not confirm or deny that Alex Kochak-NY is Hodgman or that Hodgman belongs to Identity Evropa.

An Army spokesperson told HuffPost that both ROTC cadets were under investigation. 

The spokesperson said in a statement that the Army prohibits “personnel from actively advocating supremacist, extremist, or criminal gang doctrine, ideology, or causes” and that “soldiers who choose to engage in such acts will be held accountable for their actions.”

Last fall, Identity Evropa flyers and stickers were posted across Brighton, New York. Police matched fingerprints from the stickers to Christopher Hodgman, an ROTC cadet and a member of the Army Reserve. 

A Doctor In The Army

Christopher Cummins, a lieutenant colonel physician in the Army Reserve. Many of his biographical details match those of Discord user giuseppe398, who bragged about posting Identity Evropa flyers in Mississippi and Tennessee.

Christopher Cummins, 44, is a lieutenant colonel physician in the Army Reserve. The website of the Military Order of Stars and Bars, a neo-Confederate organization, lists Cummins’ email address as giuseppe398@*****.com.

A giuseppe398 in the Identity Evropa chat logs refers to many biographical details that match Cummins’: He has four kids, is originally from Mississippi and currently lives in Jackson, Tennessee.

In the chat messages, giuseppe398 bragged about posting Identity Evropa flyers in Mississippi and Jackson and told the Identity Evropa members that he likes Tennessee because it is “conservative & Christian - implicitly white.”

In December 2018, he posted a message to Patrick Casey, the Identity Evropa leader. “If a member is not living very close to other members, what is the best thing or things to do to be active/help?” he wrote.

Cummins — who the Army said has served in the Army Reserve and the Mississippi Army National Guard and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2008 — did not respond to multiple requests for comment.  

In The Texas Army National Guard

Joseph Kane, a member of the Texas Army National Guard, has shared on Facebook the “It’s okay to be white” meme popular among white supremacists.

A user going by Kane in the chat logs described himself as married and residing in Texas. He wrote he was in Houston during Hurricane Harvey and that his dad was from a town in Montana.

That biographical information matches details about 25-year-old Joseph Kane, a resident of Denton, Texas, who joined the Texas Army National Guard in 2016 and is currently assigned to the 636th Military Intelligence Battalion, a National Guard spokesperson confirmed.  

Before joining the Texas National Guard, Kane served in the Army for four years as an intelligence specialist and was at one point deployed to Kosovo.

On Facebook, Kane liked a Facebook post by a known Identity Evropa member and has shared the “It’s okay to be white” meme, popular among white supremacists.

He was once before accused of being a white nationalist. In 2017, when he was a precinct chair for the Denton County Republican Party, anti-fascist activists noticed that he often posted white nationalist material to Twitter and that his account followed dozens of racists and neo-Nazis.

A local news channel asked Kane if he was a white nationalist. “No, no,” he responded. “This country was made for all people. If you accept the Constitution, you’re willing to live by our values, you’re willing to be a citizen in all that entails, you’re welcome.”

But by July 2018, he appeared to be a member of a white nationalist group.

“I mean, my wife isn’t in IE but she comes to the events same as most our guys wives,” he wrote in one message.

Kane didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment. A spokesperson for the National Guard would not say whether he was under investigation.

In The Air Force

In an August 2018 message posted in the chats, a user named DannionP introduced himself as Dannion Phillips of Oklahoma. He then made arrangements to pay his membership dues.

In August 2018 a Discord user named DannionP introduced himself as Dannion Phillips of Oklahoma. The Air Force's Dannion A. Phillips was stationed at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma before going overseas.

The Air Force has an Airman First Class (E-3) Dannion A. Phillips,” a spokesperson for the military branch confirmed to HuffPost. He is currently stationed at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey.

Before going overseas, Phillips was stationed at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma. A military newspaper affiliated with the base profiled him in an article last month.

“Phillips is an excellent role model,” the article states. “His impeccable military appearance and bearing sets the example for other Airmen to emulate.”

In October, he posted photos of Identity Evropa stickers that he put up around Oklahoma City.

Phillips couldn’t be reached for comment.

Andy Campbell contributed reporting. 

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly referred to the U.S. servicemen as all being “active-duty.” They are currently serving in the military.