Dylann Roof refers to Harold Covington’s white separatist group, the Northwest Front, in his alleged manifesto. The rightwing sci-fi writer distances himself from the shooting, but his followers speculate if his work influenced Roof’s actions
One of the shadowy figures who appears to have influenced alleged Charleston killer Dylann Roof is Harold Covington, the founder of a white separatist movement and, within supremacist circles, an influential sci-fi author. Covington, the latest in a long line of rightwing sci-fi writers, has been linked to racist crimes in the past and this week called the massacre “a preview of coming attractions”.
The racist manifesto and photos apparently posted by Roof makes mention of the Northwest Front, created by Covington, a former member of the American Nazi party who traveled to South Africa and Rhodesia in order to agitate for white power. In the accompanying photos, Roof wore patches with Rhodesian and apartheid-era South African flags on them.
The Roof killings are not the first time Covington’s name has come up in connection with an allegedly racist murder. Covington was part of a group of white supremacists in the 1970s who massacred black people at a rally in Greensboro (Covington didn’t kill anyone and wasn’t in attendance on the day of the violence). He was also at one time close with Frazier Glenn Miller , who is charged with killing a one woman, a 69-year-old Jewish man and that man’s 14-year-old grandson in front of their temple last year.
Covington said he’d never heard of Roof before the massacre.
Much of Covington’s influence on his followers comes from his novels.
The Northwest novels “are not meant to be mere entertainment”, according to Covington’s website Northwest.org. “They are meant to be self-fulfilling prophecies. The author wishes to inspire the creation of a real Northwest American Republic, and his novels are filled with a great deal of sound practical advice about how to do it.”
Covington’s prophecyIn an email exchange with the Guardian, Covington said he was urging followers not to talk about Roof until “all the facts were out”.
What did he mean by that? “I mean that a lot of times these things are not as advertised and people like you have a tendency to try to use us as props and aids to support the Official Version. Oklahoma City being a prime example; there is a compelling case to be made that was a government sting operation gone very wrong, but I long ago gave up any hope of ever getting anybody to listen; anything we say is simply shouted down or kicked aside, we are treated as cranks at best, and facts are never allowed to interfere with the Received Wisdom from on high.
“For another example, I am well aware of the ideological orientation of the Guardian (I lived in the British Isles for a number of years [Covington spent time among skinheads in the UK – “a lot of them were great guys,” he said on a recent podcast]) and I understand that I have not a snowball’s chance in hell of getting our viewpoint represented honestly and fairly there.”
A few hours later, a new installment of his radio show went up on the Radio Free Northwest website, in which he did not advocate for violence, but did fantasize for a little while, saying that liberals were afraid of Charleston because it was “a preview of coming attractions”.
White supremacist who inspired Dylann Roof calls Charleston ‘a preview of coming attractions’
Sam Thielman, The Guardian
28 Jun 2015 at 08:51 ET
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