Richard Scutari's connection with white supremacist organizations can be traced back to 1982 when he attended the national convention of The Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord. Only two years later, his involvement with the white supremacist gang The Order propelled him to the highest ranks of his cause and resulted in a 60-year prison sentence. Since his 1989 imprisonment, Scutari has remained actively involved with the radical right, writing extensively for far-right groups and promoting a racist version of Asatru, a polytheistic Norse religion. Recently denied parole, he and several of his colleagues in The Order remain unrepentant about their activities and continue to be a driving force in the white supremacist movement -- even from behind bars.
Year of birth :1948
Location: United States Penitentiary in Atlanta, GA
Articles: "Target Shooting with Richard Scutari," "Ragnarok Revisited,"
"F.B.I. Information Gathering Center," "Was It Worth It?"
and "Sparring with Richard Scutari"
Background: The Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord; The Order;
14 Words Press; Sigrdrifa
Criminal activity: Convicted of racketeering and conspiracy charges stemming from a 1984 robbery of a Brink's armored truck; currently serving a 60-
year sentence in the federal penitentiary at Florence, Colorado.
Ideology: White supremacy, Christian Identity, Odinism
Quote: "I offer no apologies, except for having failed to meet our goals.
The Bruder Schweigen [The Order] has shown you the way.
Learn from our mistakes; succeed where we have failed."
Richard Scutari was born in New York but grew up in what he describes as an "ultra- conservative" home in Florida. In an autobiographical account he says that he left home at the age of 17 and enlisted in the Navy, then worked as an oil field diver for 12 years; he also became a martial arts expert. In the early 1980s, he "traveled the southeastern United States teaching unarmed combat, as well as assault rifle and combat pistol shooting, to different movement groups." One of these was The Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord, a now-defunct paramilitary Christian Identity organization. Scutari was a guest instructor in hand-to-hand combat at the CSA's 1982 national convention at their Ozark Mountain compound in Arkansas. Although CSA was deeply racist, Scutari later told Internet activist Alex Curtis that Dr. John Grady, head of the American Pistol and Rifle Association -- for which Scutari says he worked as an unarmed combat instructor -- "gave me my first copy of The Turner Diaries. He was also the first to educate me about the Jews."
In June of 1984, Scutari received an invitation from Robert Mathews to join an organization whose exploits would shortly land him on the F.B.I.'s Ten Most Wanted list and make him a hero in the eyes of white supremacists around the world. Less than a year earlier, in October 1983, Mathews, a past National Alliance recruiter, had started organizing dissident members of Aryan Nations and National Alliance as well as various Klan renegades into an underground terrorist gang called The Order, also known as Bruder Schweigen (The Silent Brotherhood). Mathews was frustrated by what he saw as the passivity of the established far-right groups, and wanted The Order to ignite a racial "revolution" that would lead to the creation of a homeland for whites in the Pacific Northwest. According to Scutari, he and Mathews spent "four days together in constant conversation" in June of 1984 before Scutari became "convinced" of The Order's "mission." If Scutari's chronology is accurate, he became active in The Order's terrorist activities shortly thereafter.
Using a six-step plan for revolution based on The Turner Diaries, The Order began committing bank robberies throughout the Northwest in 1983. During the following year, the group's crimes included counterfeiting, assault and murder, most notably the June 18, 1984, assassination of Alan Berg. (Berg was a Denver radio talk show host who mocked right-wing extremists and, in particular, ridiculed Order front man David Lane, calling him "sick" and "pathetic" during an on-air exchange. Scutari was indicted for the murder, but not convicted.) A month later, on July 19, 1984, Scutari and 11 confederates robbed a Brink's armored truck in Ukiah, California, of $3.6 million.
Operation Clean Sweep
Despite the huge windfall, the Ukiah robbery marked the beginning of the end of the gang. A gun left at the scene was traced back to two members. Another member, Tom Martinez, became an F.B.I. informant. Moreover, the United States Department of Justice launched Operation Clean Sweep, a federal crackdown on a national network of extremist groups, which included The Order, Aryan Nations and the Posse Comitatus, on charges ranging from conspiracy to sedition. The investigation culminated in several arrests and three trials that landed Order members in prison for decades.
The first trial began in April 1985 when 23 members of The Order, including Scutari, were named in a federal racketeering indictment stemming from the Brink's heist. Since the murder of Berg the year before, Scutari -- suspected in that crime -- had been living in San Antonio, Texas, as a fugitive and spent several months on the F.B.I.'s Ten Most Wanted list. He eluded authorities until March 1986 when he was arrested at a San Antonio auto repair shop where he was working under an alias. (A subsequent search of his home turned up six high-powered rifles.) Although he vowed never to be taken alive, Scutari pleaded guilty to charges of racketeering and conspiracy relating to the armored truck robbery. Before his sentencing, Scutari told Judge Walter McGovern that he had no choice but to "strike out against a satanic government." He received a 60-year sentence.
Scutari's guilty plea was not the end of his legal battles. In April 1987, he was indicted along with 13 others, including Richard Butler of Aryan Nations and former Klan leader Louis Beam, by a Fort Smith, Arkansas, grand jury on charges of seditious conspiracy. Scutari and other members of The Order were accused of robbing the Brink's truck to fund a planned overthrow of the government. Other counts included assassination of ethnic groups, destruction of utilities, establishment of guerrilla training camps and assassination of federal officials.1
A month after the indictment, in May 1987, Scutari and three other members of The Order were again indicted, this time in Denver, for violating Alan Berg's civil rights. Scutari and Jean Craig, a Wyoming grandmother who allegedly stalked Berg before his murder, were both acquitted, while David Lane and Bruce Pierce were convicted and given 150-year sentences. (Craig had already received a 40-year sentence in the 1985 Brink's case; Lane and Pierce, also convicted of other Order-related crimes, faced prison terms of 190 and 252 years, respectively.)
By 1985, all members of The Order were in jail or dead; Mathews himself died in a fire during a shootout with federal authorities on Whidbey Island, in Puget Sound, Washington.
The Convict as Writer-Activist
Imprisonment did not put an end to Scutari's activism, however, and he and many members of The Order remain celebrities in the movement -- men who were willing to sacrifice their freedom for the betterment of the white race. Scutari's opinions about the movement's current activities and goals are widely sought and valued, and he frequently contributes to extremist publications. His anarcho-racialist definition of "political prisoner" is a benchmark in white supremacist circles and has been cited in such publications as Hammerskin Press, a skinhead magazine, and Tom Metzger's White Aryan Resistance newspaper. Scutari has also written letters to extreme-right outposts like the National Alliance magazine Resistance and the now-defunct Fenris Wolf zine.2 For instance, in the Winter/Spring 1999 issue of Fenris Wolf, Scutari wrote: "Thank you for sending issue #4....It will be publications like yours that will awaken the next Bob Mathews. Give my regards to all who believe our Race is worth fighting for and to Hel with all the rest." (In Norse mythology, "Hel" is the goddess of death and the underworld.)
Several members of The Order, including Scutari, contribute to the multiple publications and Web site of Sigrdrifa, "the premier voice of the white woman" and one of the most active supporters of white "prisoners of war."3 Sigrdrifa devotes a Web page to each of the nine best-known members of the group, and several of "the Silent Brotherhood" have written articles for the site. Scutari's writings for Sigrdrifa range from the practical -- "Sparring with Richard Scutari" and "Target Shooting with Richard Scutari" -- to the more reflective -- "Richard Scutari Speaks Out About Leaderless Resistance" and "Ragnarok Revisited." (Ragnarok is the battle between good and evil in Norse mythology.) In his article about leaderless resistance (a terrorist strategy, usually attributed to former Klan and Aryan Nations leader Louis Beam, that rejects centralized organization in favor of small independent cells), Scutari argues that, while The Order was originally underground and guerrilla-like, it unwisely became integrated into the white supremacist movement following its first armored car robbery. "Since The Order was an action-oriented organization, we made mistakes," Scutari said. "We want the movement to study, analyze and learn from our mistakes so they are not repeated. We also want the movement to learn from our successes so others will have the courage to take the next step and succeed."
Scutari's recent contributions to white supremacy have not been limited to writing. His conversion (like others in The Order) to a racist form of Asatru, a polytheistic Norse religion, allows him to freely promote white triumphalism from behind bars.
While in The Order, Scutari was an Identity Christian, but he converted to Wotansvolk after reading Voices of Our Ancestors, a booklet written by Heinrich Himmler under the pen name Wulf Sörensen. Wotansvolk is a racist variation of Asatru4 created by David Lane, Scutari's associate in The Order. (Lane is best known for coining the so-called 14 Words: "we must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.") According to Lane, Wotansvolk is the incarnation of WOTAN, or the Will Of The Aryan Nation, a "spirit" through which Aryans will awaken to what Lane describes as "the racial imperative" or the preservation of the white race. Much like Asatru, Wotansvolk adherents worship the gods and goddesses of Norse mythology and hold their ancestors in high reverence. Both share the same ritual celebrations and make use of the same texts, such as Havamal (a summary of the virtues of Asatru). Wotansvolk, unlike Asatru, glorifies what it holds to be the cultural supremacy of white Germanic and Norse ancestors, whom it regards as the builders of "the greatest civilizations ever to exist." Wotansvolk advocates further believe their white culture and heritage are being wiped out by racial integration.
In an interview with Magnus Söderman of the 14 Words Press/Wotansvolk branch in Sweden (which has also been reprinted on the Sigrdrifa site and in White Aryan Resistance), Scutari discusses his success in spreading Wotanism among white inmates:
There is a hunger among white prisoners in the U.S.A. to learn of their heritage. I have had the honour of helping many of them get started on the path of making the connection with their genetic link to their ancestors....Lompoc [the Federal penitentiary at Lompoc, California] gave us permission to set up an Odinist program....At these meetings we were teaching not only the religion of our ancestors, but also White history and White culture....Today Asatru or Odinist kindreds are established in almost every open-population federal prison.
The efforts of Scutari and Lane have been saluted by white supremacist leaders. In his August 13, 2000, Aryan Update, Tom Metzger of White Aryan Resistance referred to Scutari and Lane as "heroes in the racist struggle" who "invok[e] the gods of Odinism to rouse revolutionary action and vengeance around the world." Metzger claimed the two men were "more influential than ever because of their embrace of and energetic dissemination of a racist pre-Christian Odinism....[Racist skinheads] are intoxicated by a theology that is fresh and insurgent, yet rooted in a glorious past."5
Legal Battles and Support From the Movement
Scutari's career in The Order gives him heightened status among some of his fellow inmates, but his fame and reputation have not exempted him from problems typically experienced by convicts, including gang conflict and legal struggles.
On September 29, 1998, for instance, Scutari was involved in a fight between black and white inmates at the Lompoc penitentiary provoked by a disputed call in a flag football game. Several of the inmates were injured, including Scutari. The National Association for the Advancement of White People called the brawl an "unprovoked attack" during which "prison guards stood by...while Scutari was savagely beaten...(by) over 200 Negro prisoners." Scutari was soon transferred from Lompoc to a maximum security facility at Florence, Colorado, where he has been placed in a unit apart from the general prison population.
In February of 2001, Scutari was denied parole, which many in the movement deemed unjust. He has since filed an appeal. Sigrdrifa, the World Church of the Creator and the Salem, Oregon-based white supremacist group Volksfront, among others, have solicited funds and legal assistance on his behalf. A June 2001 e-mail solicitation from Volksfont admonished readers:
We all owe this man a debt that cannot be repaid with money but sending a few dollars to help him is the least we can do to somewhat repay our obligation to this PRISONER OF WAR!...This is a real chance to make a difference to free our martyrs!
Should Scutari's appeal be denied, his next parole opportunity is not scheduled until January 2016; his mandatory release date is February 10, 2026. Nonetheless, he remains unrepentant about his past and believes that, though behind bars, he is near the front line of extreme right activity:
This...second avenue [in bringing about a white revolution] is the development of a serious and dedicated action oriented underground guerrilla army. Due to my present circumstances, I cannot go into detail about this. Armed struggle can only succeed when it comes from a well-disciplined underground guerrilla force.
March 26, 2004
Richard Scutari’s appeal of a ruling denying him parole was rejected by the U.S. Parole Commission on November 21, 2003. Scutari is eligible to reapply for parole in 2016. He is serving a 60-year prison sentence for his activities with The Order, the white supremacist group that assassinated Denver talk show host Alan Berg.
1Everyone charged in the indictment was acquitted in 1988 (the charges against one defendant had already been dismissed).
2Fenris Wolf was a publication of the Washington-based White Order of Thule, racist pagans who idolized The Order. On Memorial Day 2000, the group held a "pagan feast" during which they honored white supremacist martyrs by burning an American flag while playing a Bob Mathews speech. The group disbanded shortly thereafter.
3Sigrdrifa is the name of one of the Valkyries of Norse mythology. The Valkyries were warrior maidens who attended Odin, ruler of the gods, and who selected the heroes to be slain in battle and conducted their souls to Valhalla.
4Asatru incorporates the worship of Odin, Thor and other gods and goddesses and is not innately racist. Scutari and like-minded white supremacists consider it to be the religion of their ancient northern European ancestors.
5White supremacists in prison frequently adopt bigoted religions, such as Christian Identity, not only to promote racism but as an attempt to circumvent prison regulations. Although religious accommodation is somewhat limited in prison to protect the security of the facility, religious groups are allowed to hold worship services, and members of religious groups are given access to literature and clergy; racist prison gang members, on the other hand, are not allowed to congregate or meet with gang leaders. Richard Scutari, David Lane and other members of The Order have adopted Asatru as a way to reach a wider prison audience with their message of the transcendent glories of white culture and heritage.