Activist-run media organization Unicorn Riot has revealed that a prominent neo-Nazi who instructed white supremacists how to fight in Charlottesville and helped organize the “Unite the Right” rally last year was an active duty Marine based in Havelock, North Carolina.
Chesny offered violent protesters advice on how to most effectively harm counter protesters.
“[Are] you trying to impale people,” he posted just weeks before the Charlottesville rally. “Put a 6-8 inch double threaded screw into [two] 3 ft axe handles. If s*** gets real unscrew the bottom and go to town.”
He also posted an image of a combine harvester, which is used in farming, overlaid by the text “Introducing John Deere’s New Multi-Lane Protester Digestor” and the caption “sure would be nice.”
Chesny posted other messages disparaging Islam, talking about “final victory,” and describing himself as “a US Marine who was born to kill.”
His messages were part of a lawsuit initiated in October that claimed white supremacists had organized the events in Charlottesville intending to engage “in unlawful acts of violence, intimidation, and denial of equal protection.”
Chesny posted about prior events in which he publicly supported white supremacist causes. He attended a rally in Pikeville, Kentucky, last April, and video showed him marching with others carrying neo-Nazi flags and clothing that supports a racial holy war. He was also arrested last year for trespassing and hanging a banner featuring white supremacist logos on a building.
Chesny’s entrance into the military occurred in 2007, during relaxed recruiting standards, which had been implemented to facilitate a troop surge in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was discharged on April 5.
Marine Corps leaders condemned the Charlottesville violence but said that troops’ involvement with white supremacist organizations led to “separation following the first substantiated incident of misconduct.”
Al Jazeera reached out to Chesny, but he would not speak or comment on the outlet’s terms and attempted to record the phone call so he could redistribute the conversation if he desired.
Although the viewpoints expressed by Chesny are not surprising considering the sentiments expressed by other neo-Nazis, his former role in the military is concerning. Chesny was deployed in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, and his view that he is “born to kill” raises troubling questions about how he may have behaved while on tour.
President Donald Trump claimed there were “very fine people on both sides” after violence erupted in Charlottesville. At the time, these statements were a ludicrous defense of white supremacists with violent intentions. As more messages are published, the public can understand just how toxic the internal neo-Nazi discussions are.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters, Joshua Roberts