Two ex-Special Forces officers have taken up key positions in the neo-Nazi National Alliance.
A new leadership regime at the National Alliance — possibly the most dynamic and sophisticated in the neo-Nazi organization's history — was unveiled for key members and supporters at an annual Labor Day weekend "leadership conference."
The new positions announced by William Pierce, leader of the Alliance and author of the infamous race war novel The Turner Diaries, reflected an increasing militarization of the group and an explicit effort to recruit more effectively within the armed forces.
They also showed the growing international thrust of Pierce's revolutionary organization, which is clearly the most effective and best-organized fascist group in the United States.
Steven Barry, a retired non-commissioned officer in the Special Forces who created the extremist Special Forces Underground group and edits its magazine The Resister, was tapped by Pierce to become the Alliance's "military unit coordinator."
In this post, Barry will have line responsibility for all Alliance members connected in any way with the American armed forces.
"Our Military Unit Coordinator," Pierce wrote in the August National Alliance Bulletin, "will advise members on recruiting activities in the armed forces, on appropriate conduct, and on security matters. Appropriate discretion will be used in all contacts. All previous Alliance Units have been Local Units, and membership has been based on geography. The Military Unit, with its membership based solely on occupation, is a new development for the Alliance, and we intend to make it a successful one."
In the other key change, Pierce named Sam van Rensburg as the Alliance's national "membership coordinator." Van Rensburg is a former officer in the South African Speical Forces, dating to the period before that nation's apartheid regime was dissolved.
He had been Pierce's unit leader in Nashville, Tenn., but now works in his new position with the Alliance's headquarters staff in their offices just outside Hillsboro, W. Va.
In the last year, van Rensburg has been touring the country with other Alliance leaders and attending meetings of like-minded white nationalist groups.
Recently, for instance, he was at a Cleveland meeting of the American Nationalist Union, and another near Washington, D.C., hosted by the American Friends of the British National Party (a support group for an English neofascist party). Pierce also spoke at the latter meeting.
Van Rensburg and Barry bring professional insurgency and propaganda skills, developed in the military, to the National Alliance — something that no other racist group in the United States has mustered to date. These two men are products of two of the world's best military special operations units, a fact that apparently was critical to Pierce.
The appointment of Barry marked the end of a political trajectory that began with Barry essentially acting as a sharp critic of the military. In the time since he formed Special Forces Underground in 1993, Barry has increasingly embraced explicitly white supremacist and anti-Semitic views. Now, he has joined an openly neo-Nazi organization.
Pierce's leadership conference, attended by 63 members and their spouses, was the ninth such semi-annual meeting and the largest yet held.
It was attended by National Alliance members from at least a dozen states and Canada and featured reports from Todd Blodgett about the acquisition of racist rock 'n' roll distributor Resistance Records; Cleveland unit leader Erich Gliebe (see ... And Another Springs Up); and Lawrence Myers, a man who has written for Media Bypass, a favorite magazine among extremists, and has spoken recently at meetings of the racist Council of Conservative Citizens and other, similar groups.