Thursday, February 17, 2011

Harold Covington Calls Dr. William Pierce a Federal Informant

In Harold Covington's "Radio Free Northwest" podcast dated 17 February 2011 there are several issues that I could discuss but I am particularly concerned with Covington's attack on Dr. William Pierce, which is an aspect of Covington's rumormongering hobby that he took up in the early 1990s. As is his usual practice, Covington placed the personal attack late in the program so as to build up some trust in the listener before dropping this payload. (Click here to listen.)

Covington said, “I would never be dumb enough to do what William Pierce did and let somebody hand me $300,000 in a briefcase that I knew damned well came from an armored car robbery.”

There are three problems with this statement.

First, nobody can document that Dr. Pierce “knew damned well” that whatever money he may have received from Bob Mathews was stolen: Glenn Miller knew that he was receiving stolen money because he asked; Dr. Pierce certainly would not have asked.

Second, there is no documentation of the amount ($300,000) that Covington claims that Dr. Pierce received from Bob Mathews. As a matter of fact, mainstream sources allege that Mathews gave Dr. Pierce only $50,000. That would make Dr. Pierce a minor figure in the matter of receiving Order money, according to the testimony of Bruce Pierce, as reported by the Chicago Tribune:

One of the co-defendants in the Ft. Smith trial, Bruce Carroll Pierce, who was convicted last month in Denver in the Berg murder, told the FBI that the group planned to give $300,000 to North Carolina Klan leader Miller, $200,000 to the California racist Metzger, $50,000 to William Pierce (no relation), $40,000 to Butler and an unspecified “large sum of money” to Miles.

Another former Order member, Randall Radar, who helped train the commando squad in combat tactics, told the FBI that Matthews had told him he gave $300,000 to Miles.” [James Coates and Stephen Franklin, Chicago Tribune via the Spokane Chronicle, 29 December 1987]

Several others not mentioned in that newspaper report were also reputed to have received funds.

Third, why was it “dumb” for Dr. Pierce to accept a cash donation? Covington will most likely tell people who ask this question the lie that he incorporated into his novel Hill of the Ravens, that Dr. Pierce was trapped into becoming a Federal informant because of the money that he accepted.

There is absolutely no evidence for this. It is pure surmise, and not a very reasonable surmise when one considers how many others -- whom Covington does not accuse of having become Federal informants -- also are alleged to have received donations.

NOBODY ever faced criminal charges for receiving money from The Order. Not Bob Miles, not Richard Butler, not Louis Beam, nor anybody else.* The charges at Fort Smith were not about receiving money; they were based on the far-fetched theory that The Order, as big as it was, was only the tip of the iceberg of a much larger conspiracy, and that the real leaders were men like Miles, Butler, et al. In the Fort Smith Sedition Trial only those figures were charged against whom there seemed to be a strong case based on witnesses.  Since the FBI’s case in the Fort Smith Sedition Trial fell flat, with no convictions and no useful revelations that would facilitate further prosecutions -- a fiasco for the Reagan Administration -- nothing further was pursued.

Consequently there is no basis for Covington's insinuation that Dr. Pierce had some "immunity" or "arrangement" with the government.

Robert Miles was supposed to have received the largest gift from Bob Mathews, but Covington makes no accusations toward Miles, neither in propria persona nor through his anonymous Brief History. Why then has Covington singled out Dr. Pierce from among the multitude that received Order money, to accuse him of doing something "dumb"? There are two glaringly obvious reasons, both manifestations of Covington's personal animosity. One, Covington envied the success and respect that Dr. Pierce enjoyed. Two, Dr. Pierce was closely  associated with Covington’s nemesis Will Williams.

Apart from personal animosities, it is obvious in this passage from Covington's novel The Hill of the Ravens, published in 2003, the year after Dr. Pierce's death, that Covington hoped to gain some followers by attacking the reputation of Dr. Pierce and his organization, which Covington called derisively "the Pierce cult":

"It is my understanding that before you joined the Party, both of you were briefly members of the Pierce cult.”

“Yes, that’s true,” admitted Ed. “If you found that in our files then you also know that back at the turn of the century, Pierce was all there was. The Northwest Migration was only just beginning to appear on the radar screen by the middle of the first decade. We were associated with the cult for less than a year, and we both immediately resigned when it finally came out after his death that William Pierce had been a longterm Federal government informant, as did virtually everyone else involved who had any sense of decency or integrity. The day after our resignations Brit and myself called the Old Man [i.e. Covington], explained who we were, and offered our services. He accepted. We have been completely devoted to the Party ever since.” [Covington, The Hill of the Ravens, p. 253]

It should be obvious that the foundation of Covington's accusation is not in reality but in Covington's envy of William Pierce's greater prestige and achievement, which Covington could surpass only in the self-aggrandizing scenarios of his own fiction.
* The only evidence that most of them had received any money was hearsay.

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