June 14, 2022


Everything We Know About the 31 Patriot Front Members Arrested in a U-Haul (Vice News, 6/14/22)

Unsurprisingly, all 31 of the men who were arrested are white and male, per the group's requirements. According to a booking memo, all men were aged between 20 and 40 (Patriot Front typically requires members to be under the age of 35). 

They hailed from a dozen different states: seven from Texas, six from Utah, and five from Washington. Just two are from Idaho, but neither are from Coeur d'Alene. 

They were booked on misdemeanor charges of conspiracy to riot. Law enforcement recovered shields, shin guards, and a smoke grenade in the rented U-Haul truck. 

The arrests set off an online feeding frenzy among antifascist activists, who, since Saturday, have been trying to glean more information about the men behind the names and mugshots. 

An activist group in Spokane, Washington, identified brothers Mishael Buster and Josiah Buster, both arrested in Idaho. They are the sons of Matt Buster, who leads a congregation called the "Real Men's Ministry" and has ties to former Washington state rep. Matt Shea, who was accused by his colleagues of domestic terrorism. 

Activists in Portland, Oregon, identified another arrestee, Jared Boyce, as being formerly affiliated with a slightly more moderate far-right group Patriot Prayer, particularly in connection with the anti-lockdown movement in March 2020. 

Patriot Front formed in 2017 as a splinter faction of a neo-Nazi group Vanguard America, which came under heavy scrutiny after members were seen at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville marching alongside James Alex Fields, who later rammed his car into a crowd of protesters and killed one. 

Thomas Rousseau, 23, the former leader of Vanguard America's Texas chapter, created Patriot Front around some of the hard lessons that the far-right had learned from Charlottesville. Rousseau realized that openly embracing neo-Nazi iconography and rhetoric, as Vanguard America had done, was detrimental to the movement's broader goals of radicalizing more people to white nationalist ideology. Instead, Patriot Front cultivates a preppy Americana aesthetic, and relies on euphemism to express old racist tropes and ideas. 

Posted by at June 14, 2022 12:00 AM