The White Order of Thule, like many of the newer vintage white supremacist groups, has rejected the Christian identity embraced by most Aryan gangs and instead practices a pagan religion known as racist Odinism, named after the Norse god Odin.
The group takes its name from a combination of Greek and Norse mythology and appears to be gaining followers among the country's white convict population, according to experts who study hate groups. "There's a a marked increase in racist neo-Nazi paganism in prisons," Joe Roy, the director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Mobile, Ala., said in an interview yesterday. "Even Aryan Brotherhood members in prison are afraid of these guys."
Leo V. Felton, indicted yesterday in a plot to blow up the New England Holocaust Memorial, was released from a New Jersey prison in January before moving to Boston's North End. It is possible Felton became a Thule follower while behind bars. The group claims the name comes from an ancient Greek word Thule (pronounced TOO-lee) "designating the place of origin of the Aryan race," according to one of its publications.
"That soul which was unified in the people of Thule must now be reunited in a new experience of spirituality in order to manifest the next great Aryan race," the literature states. Allegedly headed by a radical white supremacist named Nathan Pett, the group lists its world headquarters in Deer Park, Wash., and also maintains a post office box in Richmond, Va.
Roy said Pett "can barely feed himself with a spoon" after being beaten into a coma by rival skinheads earlier this year. Thule members must advance through degrees of membership by studying required readings by philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, Adolph Hitler and others. Members are also urged to read the "Bruder Schweigen," written by Bob Matthews, the radical founder of The Order who was killed in a shootout with the FBI.
The Thule order is an offshoot of a growing Aryan following called Black Metal, but members of other white supremacist groups dismiss them as "anarchists. "They're mostly a cyber group," said Richard Barrett, general counsel for the Nationalist Movement known for his attempts to recruit South Boston residents for his racist group. "Black Metal is anarchists. They blow things up."
Widely read among the nation's inmates, the publications "Fenris Wolf" and "Crossing the Abyss" carry columns and articles written by group members who are imprisoned, writings that have onerous implications that may have triggered Felton's alleged plot.
"It will take a lot more than a few skins beating some (black) to death to get society's attention," an Arizona convict named Jeremy wrote in one recent edition of "Fenris Wolf." "(Oklahoma bomber Timothy) McVeigh had the right idea but lacked the knowledge and manpower to carry it out." Jack Meyers contributed to this report.