Members of the national white supremacist group Identity Evropa are actively working to recruit impressionable young minds at college campuses across San Diego, a leak of more than 200,000 online chat logs have revealed.
The group, which helped organize the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., is trying to tidy its public image and present itself as “respectable,” all while its members continue espousing racist, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic ideologies online and in private.
The hate group, as described by the Southern Poverty Law Center, made headlines last week after online, anti-fascist whistleblowers named several public employees and officials believed to have ties to the racist organization. A Virginia policeman, along with seven U.S. military service members were among those outed as alleged white supremacist operatives after left-wing media collective “Unicorn Riot” published troves of messages from Identity Evropa’s private chat group.
After reviewing the logs, the San Diego Union-Tribune found that a local branch of the group had visited colleges in the San Diego area at least a dozen times since 2017. The chat logs also pointed to recruitment efforts and activities at Southern California campuses as recently as last month.
The group’s current CEO, Patrick Casey, is a San Diego State University grad and has vehemently denied the hate group characterization.
“We explicitly denounced racial hatred and extremism on many occasions,” Casey told the Union-Tribune in a recent interview.
However, the chats proved otherwise, as leaked messages showed Casey’s attempts to muffle hate speech spewed by fellow members online.
“REMINDER,” the CEO wrote under his acknowledged pseudonym Reinhard Wolff. “Do not post negative things about other races. Don’t advocate violence, don’t use crude language. In short, do not say anything that, if leaked, would make us look bad.”
His directive seemed to fall on deaf ears, as the inflammatory rhetoric continued.
Identity Evropa members often referred to Islam as a “cancer” and warned about Muslims immigrating to majority-white countries and holding public office, according to the leaked chats. In more than 150 comments, members also discussed the “great replacement,” a common conspiracy among far-right extremists that Europeans will soon be outnumbered by people of color.
When they weren’t dishing on offensive conspiracies involving Jews, IE members wrote of their efforts to target mainstream conservative organizations like Turning Point USA and College Republicans. In a February chat, one group member bragged about manning a TPUSA table at a campus event while espousing his own group’s beliefs.
“My ultimate goal is subversion of my school’s TPUSA chapter into a front for IE,” he wrote.
In September, the Union-Tribune reports that another user moonlighting under the screen name “TMatthews” wrote that he was officer for his campus’ College Republicans chapter and said he believed several other IE members had also joined.
“It’s easy to infiltrate low-level GOP stuff if you just show up,” he wrote.
As reported by the newspaper, the group members commonly worked under pseudonyms and were responsible for flyers posted at San Diego State in September 2017 and February 2018, as well as banners at UC San Diego in 2017.
Last year alone, “Identity Evropa posted materials at San Diego City, Palomar, Grossmont and Mira Costa colleges. A San Diego-Southern California cell also posted materials at Cal State Fullerton and Mt. San Jacinto College and last month spread flyers around UC Irvine and Saddleback College campuses,” according to the Union-Tribune.
The Anti-Defamation League also estimates that Identity Evropa is behind 191 of the 319 reported incidents of white supremacist propaganda at colleges and universities across the U.S. in 2018.