Revealed: US race hate rioter visited Edinburgh to meet up with extremist group

A violent white supremacist convicted for his part in one of the deadliest rallies in modern US history travelled to Scotland to meet up with a far-right extremist group in the weeks leading up to the incident, according to prosecutors in the US.
White nationalists, including Cole White, in the striped top to the right, participate in the torch-lit march on the grounds of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Picture: 
Stephanie Keith/ReutersWhite nationalists, including Cole White, in the striped top to the right, participate in the torch-lit march on the grounds of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Picture: 
Stephanie Keith/Reuters
White nationalists, including Cole White, in the striped top to the right, participate in the torch-lit march on the grounds of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Picture: Stephanie Keith/Reuters

Scotland on Sunday can reveal that Cole White, an associate of the militant and anti-Semitic Rise Above Movement, visited Edinburgh the month before the notorious Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on 11-12 August, 
2017, which left one woman dead and dozens of people injured.

An investigation by the FBI and police in the eastern US state also uncovered a video White recorded and uploaded to social media, in which he boasted of meeting the leader of a white supremacist group in Scotland.

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While investigators in the US have drawn links between the Rise Above Movement and extremist groups in Germany, White’s travel records are believed to provide the first direct connection between the California-based hate group and the UK.

Charlottesville was one of the largest gatherings of white supremacists in the US for decades.

Hundreds of neo-Nazis, and members of the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups converged on the city to protest against plans to remove a statue of the Confederate General Robert E Lee.

After a torch-lit rally in which Nazi sympathisers chanted slogans such as “blood and soil” and “Jews will not replace us”, the gathering erupted into a series of violent attacks.

White has been described by prosecutors as “among the most violent individuals present” during the unrest.

The evidence of his ties to Scotland is detailed in a filing to the US District Court for the Northern District of California, where prosecutors successfully argued White’s international travel meant he posed a flight risk. The motion, a copy of which has been obtained by Scotland on Sunday, was submitted as part of White’s detention hearing.

In it, prosecutors stated that the 24-year-old travelled throughout Europe between 19 July and 30 July, 2017, visiting not only Edinburgh, but Belfast, Liverpool, Manchester, and Dublin.

Prosecutors also cited a Facebook video made by White in which he admitted to travelling to Europe to meet the leaders of white supremacist groups, including one he referred to as the Scottish National Resistance. It is understood another was based in Northern Ireland.

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The prosecutors argued 
that White used the internet to “orchestrate his interactions domestically” with the Rise Above Movement and “internationally with other white supremacist leaders”.

The court heard White, from Clayton, California, claimed he was joking when he told FBI agents he travelled to Europe to meet with the leaders of other hate groups, but the judge, Kandis Westmore, ruled he was a flight risk and a danger to the community before denying his release from detention.

It is unclear who White met in Scotland or whether the so-called Scottish National Resistance is an active group. It does not appear to have any online presence and it is understood the FBI did not seek the assistance of authorities in Scotland as part of their investigation.

White pleaded guilty last November at the US District Court in the Western District of Virginia to conspiracy to riot charges after admitting to travelling across the US to commit acts of violence at the event.

In a press release issued by the US justice department after White’s guilty plea, prosecutors detailed how during the torchlit march on 11 August, he swung his torch and struck several counter-protesters.

The next day, White and members of Rise Above Movement punched, kicked, choked, and head-butted several people, sparking a riot.

“As Mr White has acknowledged as part of his guilty plea, he and members of the Rise Above Movement travelled to the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in order to engage in riotous conduct,” said US Attorney Thomas Cullen.

White is currently awaiting sentencing. He faces up to five years in prison and a fine of around £190,000.