By Ben Norton
The Federal Bureau of Investigation says it has no records on one of the most notorious neo-Nazi hate groups in the United States. At the same time, the FBI has acknowledged that it is actively "investigating" antifascists and surveilling Black activists.
Journalist Ken Klippenstein filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the FBI, asking for its records on Identity Evropa, a fascist group that is closely linked to white supremacist violence.
The agency replied writing, "We were unable to identify any file records responsive to your request."
The Real News obtained a copy of the FBI's full response to Klippenstein, and it contains no further information. A screenshot of the letter follows below.
Open and active investigations are exempt from FOIA requests, so this response could possibly mean that there is an ongoing investigation. But the FBI indicated that it does not currently have records on the hate group.
Identity Evropa, which only allows members "of European, non-Semitic heritage" and advocates racial separatism, is connected to acts of fascist violence, including a domestic terror attack.
Eli Mosley, the former leader of the fascist group, helped organize the neo-Nazi "Unite the Right" hate rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017.
At this Identity Evropa-sponsored rally, a young woman was killed in what top government officials have acknowledged was an act of white supremacist domestic terrorism.
James Alex Fields, a 20-year-old neo-Nazi, has been charged with several felonies, including first-degree murder, after intentionally plowing his car into a crowd of anti-racist counter-protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and wounding 19 more people.
Leaked online chats from the fascist organizers of the Unite the Right rally show they had been planning for violence.
Identity Evropa was founded in 2016 by Nathan Damigo, a white supremacist and former Marine who is closely linked to neo-Nazi Richard Spencer. Damigo was imprisoned for robbing a taxi driver who he believed was Iraqi at gunpoint, and was further radicalized by KKK propaganda during his time in prison.
In April 2017, the then Identity Evropa leader Damigo punched a female anti-fascist protester in the face. After the Unite the Right hate rally in August, Damigo stepped down and was replaced by Mosley, one of the event's key organizers.
Surveilling Antifascists and Black Activists
While the federal law enforcement agency says it has no records on this right-wing extremist group, however, it is "investigating" antifascists who oppose these neo-Nazis.
FBI Director Christopher Wray told members of the House Homeland Security Committee in November that the agency is monitoring people who are inspired by "kind of an antifa ideology," using a common abbreviation for "antifascist."
The FBI has also been clamping down on Black activists. The agency coined the term "Black Identity Extremist" to demonize Black Americans resisting white supremacy and police brutality. At least one person has been detained based on this designation.
Law professors have condemned the Black Identity Extremist categorization "as frightening and dangerous as the bureau's infamous Cointelpro program of the 1960s and ’70s, under which J. Edgar Hoover set out to disrupt and destroy virtually any group with the word 'black' in its name."
Human rights attorneys have also sued the FBI for records on its surveillance of the Black Lives Matter movement. Released documents have already shown that the Department of Homeland Security and New York Police Department have spied on Black Lives Matter activists.
Allying with Fascists
The FBI has a long history of crushing civil rights, labor, and other left-wing movements. The agency helped Chicago police assassinate Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton. The FBI also blackmailed Martin Luther King Jr., pressuring him to commit suicide; repeatedly threatened him; and plotted to "neutralize" King.
Today, the FBI is likewise accused of entrapping Indigenous activists protesting the construction of an environmentally destructive oil pipeline at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.
The FBI is certainly not the only U.S. government agency that has sided against antifascists. Court documents obtained by The Guardian show California police who sympathized with white supremacists collaborated with Nazis expressly in order to target and repress anti-racist activists.
Moreover, documents released from the Department of Homeland Security reveal U.S. officials have cited white supremacist so-called "alt-right" websites in order to demonize Antifa and exaggerate the threat of "anarchist extremist" violence.
The vast majority of terrorist attacks committed in the U.S. are carried out by far-right and white supremacist groups. Yet law enforcement agencies are not only largely ignoring this threat; many actively sympathize with it.
Meanwhile, many prominent liberal leaders are praising the FBI, in opposition to Donald Trump, ignoring the federal law enforcement agency's vicious attacks on the left and its double standards for fascists.