Craig Cobb has been active in the radical white-power movement for years — he’s known for running Podblanc, a neo-Nazi version of YouTube — but he made the front page of the New York Times for the first time in August. The story was about Cobb’s plans to transform the small North Dakota town where he has been quietly buying up property into a colony for white supremacists like himself.
Cobb has already offered homes to high-profile leaders of the white nationalist movement, including White Aryan Resistance founder Tom Metzger, April Gaede (mother of the reformed Prussian Blue pop singers), Alex Linder of the neo-Nazi Vanguard News Network, and Jeff Schoep of the National Socialist Movement.
Now, Cobb is extending the invitation to New Yorkers, too.
“I would like to invite people from New York, if they’re tired of the multi-cult hell here, to come out — white people — they’re welcome to, and I can get them good jobs on the block, making between $50,000 and $70,000 a year,” Cobb said on the phone from Stamford, Connecticut. He was back in the Northeast to make an appearance on the Trisha Goddard Show.
What does North Dakota have that New York doesn’t? A surplus of oil, and favorable regulations for companies intent on fracking the land for that oil. New York state still has a ban against fracking. The extraction process can have the unfortunate side effect of turning drinking water flammable, but it has also created jobs in North Dakota.
Cobb pledges he will drive anyone who makes it out to Leith, North Dakota, the hour and 45 minutes to its closest oil town, Dickinson, every day. He admits, “That’s a little bit long, but I have two 4-cylinder cars, one gets 40 miles to the gallon the other 34, and I have a Durango, an 8-cylinder, with three seats a 4-wheel drive, and, again, I’m not going to charge anyone rent.”
He seems optimistic that some New Yorkers might consider the proposition. “I think a lot of them are sick to their bones of the multi-cult — especially the youth,” Cobb says. “I want to tell the young people here, I’ll help them — the young white people.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organization that monitors hate groups, was the first to report Cobb’s grand design for Leith. Mark Potok, editor-in-chief of the SPLC’s quarterly journal, Intelligence Report, and its blog, Hatewatch, tells the Voice Cobb has been on the organization’s radar for years.
Within the white supremacist world, Potok says Cobb isn’t really affiliated with any one group; He describes Cobb as more of a “freelancer.”
“He’s been around the movement for a long time, but to describe him as any kind of leader would be entirely wrong. Is he vicious? Oh, yeah — he’s at the extreme end of the extreme world.”
Back in 2006, Cobb attempted to create a similar space in Estonia. He purchased a house 30 miles outside of the capital, where he said he hoped to “network with White Nationalists throughout Europe and the United States, and especially to form an International Office of White Diaspora.”
From the same house, Cobb ran the website Podblanc, which hosted graphic videos of racially motivated killings. Keith Luke, the 26-year-old sentenced earlier this year to two consecutive life term for a racially motivated murder and rape spree committed in Massachusetts, told officers he took inspiration from the site.
According to the SPLC, Cobb was kicked out of Estonia, Finland, and Canada (where he is wanted by authorities for “willful promotion of hatred”) before he surfaced in North Dakota.
At the same time that Cobb is trying to lure other white supremacists to Leith, the residents of the North Dakota town are working as hard to drive Cobb out. Last week, the Leith city council passed a building ordinance that might give the council an opening. According to the Bismark Tribune, “Under the ordinance, anyone without water and sewer will have 30 days to come into compliance, or face fines or possible condemnation.”
Cobb called the new regulations, which would affect his property, “patently unfair.”