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'The Village of the Damned': Inside the North Dakota town where residents sleep with guns by their beds in fear of white supremacist 'cult'

Posted by on Nov. 7, 2013 at 3:32 PM
  • 59 Replies

'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

  • 'Pure evil' Craig Cobb, 62, a hate crimes fugitive has quietly bought up land in Leith to turn it into a white enclave
  • Town residents claim they've been goaded by Cobb and his followers to provoke them into violence
  • The only black resident, married to a white woman, says 'things are only going to get worse' 
  • Signs were posted on his family's door: 'What are you doing with a Negro?'
  • One of first families to move in, an Iraq veteran, his wife and five children, claim they are 'not racist, but racially aware'
  • Cobb, an intellectual son of a millionnaire, says he plans to bus in hardened Federal ex-cons to sweep away 'the bridge tolls that live there'
  • Despite trying to use ordinances to block Cobb's building plans, residents fear authorities are powerless to stop him
  • One resident, who claims Cobb taunted him over the murder of his daughter, told MailOnline: 'law enforcement are throwing us to the wolves'
  • Lee Cook, 49, now sleeps with a gun by his bed and bought his wife a gun

By Laura Collins In Leith, North Dakota

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By rights it should be the ‘Welcome to Leith’ sign that draws the eye. It stands stark against the vast North Dakota sky, surrounded and impeded by nothing.

But it isn’t. Instead a small makeshift sign does. Tacked awkwardly in high brush and bare branches a few hundred yards further on where dirt track bends towards town, a red swastika is painted on its white background, next to the jagged words, VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED.

Craig Cobb, 62, put it there last week. The residents want to take it down but they’re not sure if they can legally– it’s on his land.

Welcome to a town fighting for its existence against an enemy and a cause of which most had never heard, far less dreamed they’d encounter, just three months ago.

Scroll down for video

Craig Cobb walks

Intellectual and hate crimes fugitive Craig Cobb, 62, told MailOnline he wanted to rid Leith of the 'bridge troll' residents and turn it into a white enclave by bussing in Aryan Nations and federal ex-cons

 

 

 

A sign hangs in the trees on the property of white nationalist Craig Cobb in the tiny North Dakota town of Leith.

Battle lines: Cobb, who has been buying up land has put up this sign on the Leith boundary to the dismay of the town's residents who fear their fight with him will turn violent

That was when the people of Leith learned that Craig Cobb, the wild-haired recluse who had been living in their midst for more than a year, was a hate crimes fugitive who had quietly bought up lots of land in a bid to turn this rural community into a white enclave.

According to Mayor Ryan Schock, 38, that was when ‘all hell broke loose.’

‘The town and the life that we knew was flipped on its head,’ he said. ‘Fighting this has just taken over our lives.’

In a matter of weeks the once quiet community of just 16 has seen rallies and riot police. ‘Keep out’ and ‘No trespassing’ signs have sprung up in a place where once doors were barely shut never mind locked.

 

 

Town residents claim they have been goaded by Cobb and his followers to provoke them into violence – into landing the first punch or firing the first shot - in a bid to legally gain the upper hand.

Cobb claims it is he who has been defamed and harassed and that it is his civil rights and liberties, which are under threat.

So far the potshots have been verbal but how much longer can that remain the case?

Last week the town council placed a moratorium on new construction. And on Sunday, it passed a series of ordinances including ones preventing anyone from living in a trailer for more than 10 days straight, or from being residents with voting powers if not in proper housing. 

Meanwhile, Cobb will have to install potable water and sewerage in the largely derelict buildings he owns if people are to live there. He will be served with a notice giving him 30 days to comply.

Their hope, of course, is that he does not comply and that the buildings can be condemned and their residents evicted.

cob kevin cederstrom

Cobb cult: Iraq vet Kynan Dutton and his wife Deborah moved to Leith in September and live in Cobb's house with their five children. Dutton says Cobb is doing something that 'as a race if we don't do we'll be wiped out'

So far just one family have heeded Cobb’s clarion call and moved to Leith. Badge-wearing member of the National Socialist Movement Kynan Dutton and his wife Deborah, both 28, arrived from Oregon on September 23 with their five children, ages four to 11.

They are currently living in Cobb’s two-storey house without running water or heat other than a couple of space saver heaters as North Dakota temperatures dip towards 20 degrees at night.

Former teacher, Deborah, homeschools the children.

The town residents know them as ‘Followers of Cobb’ - a turn of phrase that lends an uncomfortably cult-like feel to the whole scenario.

It is a feeling only compounded by ex-marine Dutton’s unwavering admiration of ‘innovator’ Cobb and the party’s reliance on military terms. Dutton refers to himself as Cobb’s ‘Sergeant-at-Arms.’


 ‘Our goals are to create a white enclave – an all white society. When somebody calls me a racist they’re being ignorant. I’m racially aware. I’m racially motivated. I prefer my own people’

A thin man, brimming with nervous energy, he lost faith in the Government after watching his brethren killed in Iraq when he served as a combat infantryman during tours of duty in 2004 and 2005. 

Now he has swapped one cause for another.

Speaking from his porch, he said: ‘Craig is an innovator. He is somebody who is doing something that others have tried and failed. He is doing something that we as a race and a people if we don’t do we’ll be wiped out.

‘Our goals are to create a white enclave – an all white society. When somebody calls me a racist they’re being ignorant. I’m racially aware. I’m racially motivated. I prefer my own people.’

It is according to Dutton, the ‘natural order of things.’

Perplexingly, he added: ‘We’re not excluding anyone. But we would prefer to live separately with our own people.’

There is only one black resident in Leith – council member Bobby Harper who has lived there with wife Sherill for close to two decades.

The couple has had a note pinned to their door demanding: ‘What are you doing “married” to a Negro?’

And instructing: ‘I want you to LEAVE your ‘husband’ and go and join Mr Cobb’s movements. Do it now!’

As far as Dutton is concerned Mrs Harper is a ‘race traitor.’

Mr Harper is remarkably philosophical. He said: ‘Yes it’s been personal and they’ve done hurt and harm but I’m better than that. I don’t need to talk in those terms.’ 

Leith, N.D. resident and councilman Bobby Harper speaks during a town meeting held Sunday in Leith.

Hatred: The town's only black resident Bobby Harper has been the victim of racist abuse because he has a white wife. He says 'things are only going to get worse'

 

 

 

Bobby and Cheryl Harper are shown here during a protest and rally in September in Leith, N.D. following a townhall meeting conducted by the National Socialist Movement.

Brave: Undeterred Mr Harper and his wife Cheryl Harper held a potluck in September when the National Socialist Movement held a rally there

When members of the National Socialist Movement descended on Leith last month to ‘protect Cobb’s civil right and liberty to address the populus’, Mr Haper calmly grilled hot-dogs and held a potluck in his backyard for the Native Americans and others who had turned out to protest against them.

Two weeks ago another man, who gave his name only as Freddie, turned up and is now living in the same ramshackle house as the Duttons and Cobb.

Cobb has already gifted properties to Tom Metzger, founder of the White Aryan Resistance (WAR), a designated hate group, Alex Linder, owner and operator of the Vanguard News Network, (VNN), an anti-Semitic white supremacist website and supporter of ‘exterminating’ Jews and National Socialist Movement leader ‘Commander’ Jeff Schoep.

For all his stoicism Mr Harper is in no doubt: ‘It’s going to get worse.


 ''They are prepared to sacrifice their lives for him and be here. He may be clever but they are capable of doing something silly’

‘Look at the people who are his followers. They are prepared to live without water, without heat, without much food .They are prepared to sacrifice their lives for him and be here.

‘He may be clever but they are capable of doing something silly.’

It is in the face of this and the threat of more arrivals that, Mayor Ryan Schock is, ‘trying to turn the tide.’

Mr Schock is not a career politician. He is mayor because it was his turn to be mayor. He drives the school bus, runs a 1000-acre farm with wife Michelle, they have 100 head of cattle, horses for their three children to ride, chickens, goats, dogs and kittens. 

Until a few months ago the matters discussed at town meetings were hauling gravel for somebody’s drive, shoveling snow and when to turn on the Christmas lights.

Now he and the council are desperately seeking some recourse in law, passing of ordinances that they hope might stop Cobb in his tracks. But in reality there is no recourse if Cobb plays the game he seems set to. 

 

by on Nov. 7, 2013 at 3:32 PM
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sweet-a-kins
by Emerald Member on Nov. 7, 2013 at 3:32 PM

 

A look down Main Street in Leith, N.D.

Pressure: Cobb has already gifted properties to the founder of the White Aryan Resistance (WAR), a designated hate group, Alex Linder, owner of anti-Semetic and white supremicist website the Vanguard News Network, (VNN), and National Socialist Movement leader ‘Commander’ Jeff Schoep

 

 

Flags of various organizations, some representing the National Socialist Movement, fly in front of the home of white nationalist Craig Cobb in Leith, N.D.

Cobb brazenly displays the flags of hate groups outside his house to goad the residents of Leith

 

 

Craig Cobb, pictured here in front of his house in Leith, N.D. after local residents learned of his plan to establish a white enclave in this tiny community.

Fighting talk: Cobb told MailOnline residents are 'just going to have to roll with it. We will become the majority. There is no doubt'

Well-educated, a bookish child by his own account raised in Boston, the son of a multimillionaire businessman and teacher mother, Cobb has made a point of familiarizing himself with civic law and staying within its boundaries.

Sheriff Steve Bay admitted: ‘He owns land here. This isn’t going away any time soon. When he first got here everyone thought he was just crazy. He may have crazy ideas but he’s an intellectual person.’

Cobb says he will comply with the ordinances set down by Leith’s town council and as the residents’ sense of powerlessness grows the ticking of the clock on that compliance might as well be the ticking of a bomb.

The lines have been drawn. Now, according to Cobb: ‘It’s war.’

He said: ‘They’re just going to have to roll with it. We will become the majority. There is no doubt.’

He said he is bringing another follower - a mother-of-three from Georgia - to Leith next week.

He added: ‘Do not ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for Leith.’ 


 ‘It’s war... They’re just going to have to roll with it. We will become the majority. Do not ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for Leith’ 

In a lengthy, often rambling interview with MailOnline, he said: ‘What we’re trying to do here is we’re trying to find a refuge.’

But the place that he describes bears little resemblance to any sort of refuge and he reacted to local opposition with the threat: ‘I’m going to bring hardcore Aryan Nations here, we’re going to bring guys who’ve served 20 years in Federal prison.’ 

He is not, he was at pains to point out, a white supremacist nor a neo-Nazi, but a ‘Creator.’ 

This is a recognized religion, based on Credo 64, The White Man’s Bible.

He is not part of a violent movement, he said, but went onto quote from his bible: ‘If the Jews and powers that be take away the First Amendment we have the right to violence.’

He added: ‘There is good violence and there is bad violence.’

Cobb considers himself not only free to use profoundly offensive racist and anti-Semitic terms - and does so liberally - he is ‘very proud’ to do so.

Lee Cook, a resident and councilman in Leith, N.D., talks about the frustrations him and his family face in dealing with white nationalist Craig Cobb, who lives across the road.

Lee Cook, a councilman in Leith, lives across the road from Cobb, and claims the white supremacist has taunted him about the death of his murdered daughter. He now sleeps with a gun next to his bed

The old two-cell jail still stands in Leith, N.D. A plan by white nationalist Craig Cobb to attract like-minded individuals to Leith and create a white enclave has drawn unwanted attention to this tiny Grant County town.

Remote: The old two-cell jail still stands in tiny Leith. The residents are tearing their hair out at how powerless they have been to act against Cobb

Racially offensive words are enshrined in the White Man’s Bible and to him they are therefore ‘holy words.’

He dreams of establishing a 'White News Service' staffed by accredited members of the press to pump out his propaganda from his white enclave.

With an unnerving calm he said: ‘The question is are you human?’ In answering his own question he said that, by virtue of their lack of enlightenment, the people of Leith had been ‘stripped of their humanity.’

‘They’ve done it to themselves,’ he said.

On the contrary, according to town councilman Lee Cook, 49, who says everything that the people of Leith are currently suffering has been forced upon them by Cobb and his followers.

He said: ‘The way I see this playing out is that Cobb is going to get out of town or somebody is going to have to do something dramatic. Law enforcement is just throwing our families to the wolves.

‘This guy wants you to believe he’s an intellect but at the heart of Cobb is pure evil.’

Mr Cook has become one of Cobb’s most vocal opponents. He established the town's Legal Defense Fund which seeks donations to fund the legal advice residents feel compelled to seek and the civil suits they anticipate lying ahead.

For him it is a bitterly personal battle because two weeks ago Cobb reached into a painful episode from the town councilman’s past in the most outrageous way.

Mr Cook’s daughter, Crystal, was murdered in 2000 by the then partner of his ex-wife.

He was living in the Washington area at the time. He said: ‘It was an evil murder. She was 17 at the time. It was just a week past her birthday.

‘Part of the reason I moved here was I was looking for an excuse to get away from there. I’d grown up there, I knew people there. It’s never going to go away but there it just followed you around and new surroundings helped.’

Mr Cook, now a dirt works foreman at the Garrison Dam, moved to Leith in April 2012. By then he had remarried to wife, Heather with whom he has three children. He moved them to Leith in July – one month before Cobb arrived.

He claimed to have had very little by way of dealings with Cobb over the past year and concluded he was just an ‘odd hermit kind of guy.’

But at one of the emergency meetings that are now a weekly occurrence, Cobb approached the council and, Mr Cook said, ‘got in his face.’

Ryan Schock, mayor and lifelong resident of Leith, N.D., is frustrated with the actions of white nationalist Craig Cobb who moved to town with the plan to establish a white enclave.

Overwhelmed: Mayor Ryan Schock,the school bus driver and farmer is having to learn to adapt to Cobb's tactics

Leith, N.D. Sheriff Steve Bay, left, and deputy Darwin Roth talk near the entrance of the Leith townhall during a meeting Sunday.

Help: One resident told MailOnline that local law enforcement, Sheriff Steve Bay, left, and deputy Darwin Roth, are throwing the residents 'to the wolves'

He recalled: ‘He was trying to accuse me of being responsible in some way for my daughter’s murder.

‘I was stunned. For a moment I was trying to figure out what I’d heard.’ 

A few days later Mr Cook was told by friends that Cobb had posted details of tax statements relating to a house he had sold and the names of his brothers and sisters.

He said: ‘I’ve talked to the Attorney General about this and state law enforcement and nobody does nothing about it. Cobb raised my daughter’s murder because he knew it was salt in a wound.

‘He hoped to get me to beat him up so that he could sue me. I think that’s what he’s like. He wants to look like the victim but this is all his doing. He’s willing to sacrifice his face to further his cause.

‘It was an evil attempt by a demented individual to aggravate me.’


 'You go to bed with a loaded gun by your side. You buy your wife a gun and tell her to keep it ready. You don’t want your kid sleeping upstairs so you have your kid sleep in your bedroom'

If that is true then, to a great extent the attempt has worked. Mr Cook admitted he has considered simply leaving town but that he cannot quite bring himself to quit and let Cobb win.

Yet the town in which he once felt safe and optimistic is a very different place to him now.

During the weeks he works beyond Hazen, North Dakota, a good hour and a half drive from Leith and he no longer feels able to leave his wife and children behind when he isn’t around. Instead the family live in a trailer during the week returning ‘home’ at weekends.

When there he said: ‘You go to bed with a loaded gun by your side. You buy your wife a gun and tell her to keep it ready. You don’t want your kid sleeping upstairs so you have your kid sleep in your bedroom.

‘You wake up, have your coffee and if you open your curtain you’re looking at this guy’s front door.

‘Sometimes there’s flags out sometimes there’s not. You think, “How am I going to control myself if I see him?” You want to work in your yard but you think, “Am I going to snap if I see him?”

‘We’ve done nothing to deserve this other than stand up against this hatemonger.’

It isn’t a phrase that worries Cobb who views the notion that hate is a bad thing as an oversimplification. 

He said: ‘In our case we hate that which hates what we love.

‘Hate is affirmative action for whitey.’

Residents of Leith, N.D. and surrounding communities attend a town meeting held Sunday in this tiny Grant County town dealing with white nationalists with a plan to set up a white enclave.

Concern: The town has tried to pass ordinance setting down rules on water and sewerage in a bid to evict Cobb, but he is sure he will be able to meet the demands

For all Cobb’s and Dutton’s talk of non-violence the truth is that the threat of it hums the air in Leith.

People here have done their research. They know that Cobb fled from Canada where he was charged with hate crimes for his website Whitepeace. They know that he went there after being kicked out of Estonia in 2009 and that he was issued with a ten year ban from that country for, among other things, ‘endangering state security, public order and moral standards.’

They know enough to fear him – not just what he represents but what his followers may be capable of should he lead them to it.

Six different attorneys turned down the town council’s request to advise them on these matters because they feared for their families’ safety.

Every day, after ‘coffee and chow’ Dutton puts out a variety of flags – the National Socialist Movement, the Third Reich, one supporting the right to bear arms.

And when not busying himself with the ‘Beautification Project’ – which is clearing the ground around Cobb’s house and other properties - he patrols the town with his Mag-Lite by way of security detail. 

He complains that people in grocery stores nearby won’t serve him or his children water or food and so they must drive the more than 60 miles to Bismarck for such essentials.

He said: ‘We’ve had threats of people coming and shooting the place up, stealing things, being scalped.’

He claims not to have arms, though Cobb recently posted a picture of himself holding a gun online.

But Dutton admitted: ‘It’s coming to the point where having arms may not be a bad thing to consider. Everybody in North Dakota has weapons.’

Nobody is prepared to back down. There is too much at stake.

For Cobb this has become about overturning something for which he has nothing but disdain.

‘The people of Leith are the lowest of the low,’ he said.

‘They are intellectual munchkins. They are bridge trolls. They’re the Village of the Damned. They’re bitter, frightened and angry.

‘They act as if their small town is more holy than others. Get off it.’

For the people of Leith it has become about protecting all that they hold dear.

Mr Cook said: ‘It’s about beating him now. It’s about beating his ideas. It’s about beating his lies.

‘That is our daily existence right now. That’s what we’re dealing with now.’

autodidact
by Platinum Member on Nov. 7, 2013 at 3:37 PM
3 moms liked this

motherfuckers. profaning kilts. 

I do like "intellectual fugitive" though. that phrase speaks volumes, lol

Cutenessmom
by Bronze Member on Nov. 7, 2013 at 3:37 PM

It is just sad  the guy  and his family saldy should leave and some placeelse for there safety  I would not want to stop for gas in that town even :(

Cutenessmom
by Bronze Member on Nov. 7, 2013 at 3:38 PM

I think it is okay to  be proud of your hertiage but  this is being proud of hatred I say for any race!

autodidact
by Platinum Member on Nov. 7, 2013 at 3:39 PM

why do these dipshits have to steal a town, why can't they start their own? 

AdrianneHill
by Platinum Member on Nov. 7, 2013 at 3:42 PM
4 moms liked this
Signs were posted on his family's door: 'What are you doing with a Negro?'


My response would be "laughing at your small penis"
Healthystart30
by Silver Member on Nov. 7, 2013 at 3:49 PM
2 moms liked this
Smells like a cult! It's very scary when people start following someone blindly, especially when his message is hate! How far will these people go for this lunatic! Scary! I feel so bad for the mayor that obviously has more on his plate then he signed up for!
sweet-a-kins
by Emerald Member on Nov. 7, 2013 at 3:53 PM

 sidesplittinglaughter

Quoting AdrianneHill:

Signs were posted on his family's door: 'What are you doing with a Negro?'


My response would be "laughing at your small penis"

 

sweet-a-kins
by Emerald Member on Nov. 7, 2013 at 3:54 PM
6 moms liked this

 Dodging intelligence like a f*cking Ninja

Quoting autodidact:

motherfuckers. profaning kilts. 

I do like "intellectual fugitive" though. that phrase speaks volumes, lol

 

rfurlongg
by on Nov. 7, 2013 at 4:02 PM

I agree.

Quoting Healthystart30:

Smells like a cult! It's very scary when people start following someone blindly, especially when his message is hate! How far will these people go for this lunatic! Scary! I feel so bad for the mayor that obviously has more on his plate then he signed up for!


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