Racist pagans identified

Spokane Spokesman-Review/March 12, 2000
By Bill Morlin

Organization that idolizes The Order moves to Spokane

A racist pagan organization that idolizes terrorist members of The Order and its slain leader has moved its headquarters to the Spokane area. The White Order of Thule, headed by Nathan Pett, operates two Web sites and publishes a newsletter and journal -- all advocating white superiority. One of the newsletter's contributors is a convicted cocaine dealer from Maine who is a suspect in the killing of a "race traitor" in a federal prison in Pennsylvania, authorities say.

"The White Order of Thule is a brotherhood -- a loose alignment of Aryan minds, hearts and souls," the organization's literature says.

"We're concerned about this new group because it appears to be reconstituting the violent views of Bob Mathews and The Order," said Brian Goldberg, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League.

The Order, founded by Mathews in Metaline Falls, Wash., carried out racist murders, robberies, bombings and counterfeiting to fund its race war in 1983 and 1984.

Pett is frequently seen at the new Bullet Proof Tattoo at 14401 E. Sprague in the Spokane Valley.

Jason E. "Swany" Swanson, who has ties with the Aryan Nations, works as a tattoo artist at another Bullet Proof shop at 2309 N. Division. Law enforcement officials who track racist groups confirm that Swanson and Pett, both 26, and other skinheads work at or frequently visit the two tattoo stores.

A Spokane radio station held a live broadcast at the North Division shop Friday, promoting the Gonzaga University basketball team. Several fans got tattoos and at least one GU player was on hand. Some of the proceeds were donated to the Food Bank, KDRK-FM told listeners. Gonzaga President Robert Spitzer later said the university didn't authorize use of its name in the tattoo promotion and had no idea that racists worked at the shop.

Pett's White Order of Thule was listed as a "hate group" in a new report by the Northwest Coalition for Human Dignity.

Members must advance through "degrees of membership," studying the works of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, Adolf Hitler and others. A book about Mathews is on the White Order's suggested reading list. While the Aryan Nations wraps its racism around a religion known as Christian Identity -- which contends that white people are the true children of God -- the White Order of Thule is tied to Greek and Norse mythology, and white superiority. Various types of the racist mythology exist. "Throughout the prisons of this country, we've noticed a marked increase in racist Odinism, paganism and asatru," said Joe Roy, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, a hate group watchdog.

"Even Aryan Brotherhood members in the prisons are afraid of these guys," Roy said. "They are some really serious people.

"This same belief system is becoming real popular with skinheads," Roy said. Thule "is an ancient Greek word designating the place of origin of the Aryan race," the organization's literature says. "That soul which was unified in the people of Thule must now be reunited in a new experience of spirituality in order to manifest the next great Aryan race." The White Order of Thule lists a post office box in Deer Park, where Pett moved after living on Whidbey Island, near where Mathews died in a 1983 shootout with the FBI.

Pett, in a brief interview, denied involvement with the group. But documents show his ties to the White Order of Thule and its publications, Fenris Wolf Press and Crossing the Abyss.

The white supremacy publications also make anti-government and anti-Semitic references.

Roy said the publications are showing up in prisons.

Law enforcement officials also link Pett to the White Order and its publications. They say he is known to have used the names Nathan Zorn and Nathan Zorn Pett.

In the past five years, he has used addresses in Texas, Louisiana, Missouri and Pennsylvania, records show.

His newsletter, Fenris Wolf Press, started appearing in 1996. Peter Georgacarakos, a convicted cocaine dealer, is listed as a staff member of Fenris Wolf, which also has an Internet site. It is among 305 active hate sites on the Internet, Roy said, compared with just one site in 1995.

Georgacarakos is under investigation for the murder of an inmate in November 1996 at the U.S. Penitentiary in Lewisberg, Pa., federal authorities say. The inmate, who was white, apparently was viewed as a "race traitor" -- someone more hated than Jews or people of color by some white racists. Georgacarakos, now in the U.S. Penitentiary at Florence, Colo., apparently continues to write for Fenris Wolf.

Last September, authorities say, Pett rented the post office box in Deer Park for Fenris Wolf Press and "WOT Headquarters." Both the publication and the White Order of Thule previously listed a post office box in Clinton, Wash., on Whidbey Island. While he lived there, Pett organized public events honoring Mathews.

The White Order of Thule hosted a "Feast of Fires" on Whidbey Island last Aug. 15, the anniversary of the founding of The Order by Mathews. The event included placing roses and a wreath at the site where Mathews died. Last Memorial Day, the organization hosted a similar "tribute to our leader, Robert Mathews."

"We had a pagan feast, toasted to the martyrs, ancestors and our future victories, then burned the wretched `American' flag as a Bob Mathews speech played," the group's literature says. On the Fenris Wolf Web site, imprisoned Order member Richard Scutari says the publication called Crossing the Abyss "is becoming one of the main voices of our Folk."

Scutari was a founding member of The Order. Its imprisoned members are viewed as heroes by many racist organizations, including the White Order of Thule.

Employees at the Valley Bullet Proof Tattoo shop said Pett works there, but he wasn't seen at Friday's radio promotion at the North Division shop. Swanson, however, was photographed by local television stations as he tattooed a Gonzaga Bulldog on the lower back of a young woman. In 1998, Swanson marched alongside a Jeep carrying Aryan Nations founder Richard Butler in downtown Coeur d'Alene. David Madvin, a Detroit businessman who owns the two Spokane tattoo parlors, said he had no idea that Swanson or other artists at his shops have skinhead ties.

"That's news to me," Madvin said. "I've never even heard of the Aryan Nations.

"I don't care what people do or believe," Madvin said. "It has never affected our shop or the excellent work these artists produce." Madvin said Swanson is one of the top tattoo artists in the country. "He doesn't bring his personal beliefs into the shop with him." Madvin said the artists at his two stores are private contractors, and that he knows only their first names. He doesn't withhold Social Security or federal taxes, he said, so he couldn't provide the full names of employees at the new Valley store.

"The two artists out there are Justin and Ed, and I've never heard of anyone by the name of Nathan Pett. He doesn't work for me." But tattoo artists at the Valley store this past week said Pett did work there. "He keeps his own hours, and I don't know when he'll be in," one of them said.

Pett later called The Spokesman-Review from the tattoo shop where he said he works, but he declined to be interviewed about the White Order of Thule or its publications. "I don't know anything about it," he said.

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