Are Racists Joining the Bundy Siege of a Federal Building in Oregon?

The takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon by three of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s sons and their fellow militiamen continues to attract support from the hardcore extremist and racist right.

At least two racists have apparently joined the Bundy Brothers at the wildlife refuge building. Perhaps most notable, John Friend, a 29-year-old hardcore anti-Semite from San Diego, Calif.,  came to Oregon earlier this week while attempting to get an interview with Ammon Bundy, Cliven Bundy’s eldest son.

A member of the board of contributors for American Free Press, an anti-Semitic, white nationalist publication, Friend claims the Holocaust “is a total fraud” and referred to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as “the Holohoax Museum” on Twitter during a visit to the memorial last fall. He has also described Jews as “the most vengeful, evil monsters of all times” on Facebook, adding, “Jews are at war with us and are trying to exterminate [the white race].”

Friend is a regular attendee at racist gatherings, too. In 2015, he attended the white nationalist National Policy Institute “Who Are We” conference in Washington, D.C., where he manned the AFP booth, distributing holocaust denial material. In December, Friend received the “Freedom of Speech Award” from the Foundation to Defend the First Amendment, another anti-Semitic group closely affiliated with AFP.

Another person reported to have joined the ranks is Burns is Rance Harris of Silverton, Ore. While the extent of Harris’ racist activities and views are unclear, he has tattooed two of his fingers with the number 88, a white supremacist numerical symbol standing for “Heil Hitler.” H is the eighth letter of the alphabet.

While the support of other antigovernment extremists to the Bundy cause in Oregon is expected -- though many antigovernment groups have condemned the Bundy Brothers for their actions -- the arrival of racists in the ranks serves only to complicate an already messy affair.