Update 3/27/2020: We have now identified the International Keystone Knights of the KKK supporter discussed in this article as Robert Timothy Dickenson.
Since late last year, longtime white supremacist Chester Doles has attempted to build an organization – American Patriots USA (APUSA) – in north Georgia. Doles held a far-Right “Patriots” rally in Dahlonega, Georgia in September 2019 that was greatly outnumbered by counter-protesters, and started APUSA shortly afterwards. Although Doles’ September rally was not the success he’d hoped for, Doles has held regular meetings for his new organization since December.
Recently, APUSA seized on “2nd Amendment Sanctuary” proposals as their main organizing issue. As this article discusses, APUSA is dominated by active Klansmen as well as neo-Nazis, and is an attempt by ideological white supremacists to broaden their base of support in North Georgia and gain conservative electoral credibility. Our update will also discuss a newly identified business manager supporting APUSA; local militiamen doing security for the organization; a planned APUSA candidate for Sheriff in White County who became a community laughing stock; and finally, a new business linked to the APUSA front group. We hope this information is useful for North Georgia locals challenging Doles’ organizing.
Meetings so far
To date, Doles’ American Patriots USA has had two formal meetings, both held at the Lumpkin County Parks and Recreation Center where Doles rented a room. The first meeting was held on December 14, exactly three months after Doles’ far-Right rally in Dahlonega. The main goal for this meeting appears to have been signing up members for the APUSA organization. After the meeting, new members briefly distributed The Conservative Action Report in downtown Dahlonega and also went to a local bar (more below). The Conservative Action Report is published by William Carter of South Carolina, who was listed as a speaker for Doles’ September 14 rally but failed to appear. Carter was previously the SC state leader for the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens, and in 1992 ran that state’s presidential campaign for neo-Nazi and former Klan leader David Duke.
The January meeting, held on the 11th, focused on preparing for the anti-gun-control rally in Richmond, Virginia on the 20th. APUSA had by then seized on the issue of “2nd Amendment Sanctuaries” as an issue for the organization to push in north Georgia. Paul Lovett of Grovetown, GA and key member of the racist “Nationalist Liberty Union” gave a talk at the January 11 meeting, as did Christy Howle of Clarks Hill, SC. Howle is the designer for the APUSA website, attended the September 14th rally in Dahlonega with Lovett, and is Lovett’s “girlfriend” according to Chester Doles’ 10/2/19 appearance on The Right Voice white nationalist podcast.
APUSA aimed to have their third meeting on February 8th. That meeting was intended as a “muster call” for their efforts to make Lumpkin County a “2nd Amendment Sanctuary” which would not comply with any state or federal firearms restrictions. This is an ideal issue for APUSA, since overstated fears of a gun grab play directly into the organization’s main narrative: that the US is careening into civil war, and that “Patriots” must prepare to battle the menacing forces of “socialism”. White supremacists using the issue to position themselves as community leaders is dangerous, whatever one’s actual position on 2nd Amendment rights and firearm restrictions. Local paper The Dahlonega Nugget gave APUSA’s efforts front-page coverage and failed to push back on Doles’ claims that the current APUSA campaign is “not a race thing”. The February 8th meeting was canceled due to snowfall and has been rescheduled for February 22nd, with the organization offering a free meal and auctioning an AR-15 in an attempt to attract numbers.
To examine the white supremacists at the core of APUSA, we return to their first meeting.
Neo-Nazis and Klansmen at Core of Group
Following the first APUSA meeting on December 14 and propaganda distribution in downtown Dahlonega, APUSA’s new members visited Johnny B’s restaurant and bar in the downtown area, where they posed for a group photo. Johnny B’s is a notable choice for a spot to celebrate, since that is where Chester Doles and other white supremacists attacked the family and friends of an interracial couple in December 2016. Not only has Johnny B’s failed to bar Doles from its space, but the establishment seemingly welcomes business from white supremacists despite their knowledge of how this endangers other customers.
The group photo from Johnny B’s following the December 2019 APUSA meeting shows how Klansmen and neo-Nazis form the core of the “Patriots” group. Of the eight individuals pictured, all are either documented Klansmen or neo-Nazis. Michael Carothers (AKA Michael Weaver) is a longstanding neo-Nazi who served a prison sentence for assaulting a Black man in Columbus, Georgia. Doles himself is a self-proclaimed “fourth-generation Klansman” who was also active in the National Alliance – once the most important neo-Nazi organization in North America – and later with Crew 38, the auxiliary support group for the Hammerskin Nation gang. Another, currently unidentified, individual in the group photo has appeared in public wearing International Keystone Knights of the KKK apparel. Four individuals in the group photo – Cody Cantrell, Robert McDuffie, Gayle Hathcock Maddox and Justin Maddox – are affiliated with the SCK Klan group which we wrote about last year. At the time, we portrayed Cantrell as a KKK supporter even though he had been photographed giving Klan salutes. As we will discuss later, Cantrell has now admitted that he is “affiliated” with the Klan. We will discuss the eighth person from the group photo, Sean Charles Keena, in a separate section below.
In addition to those pictured on December 14, Robert Craig Korom of Cumming, Georgia is listed as an official American Patriots USA member on the registered users’ section of the APUSA website. Earlier, Robert Korom appeared with Ku Klux Klan members (from the SCK group) at Dole’s September 14, 2019 rally in Dahlonega. Korom has publicly stated that he is “proud” of the KKK and that he believes the Klan exists “to help the white community”.
Since Klansmen and neo-Nazis dominate American Patriots USA, there is no doubt that the organization exists to further these white supremacists’ goals. Portraying themselves as “Patriots”, they aim to build a broader base of support in the community, while their extreme-Right and racist politics remain unchanged: they simply recycle their typical calls to attack Black and Jewish people as calls to attack “socialism”.
Sean Charles Keena
Sean Charles Keena, who took part in the group photo with other white supremacists following the APUSA December meeting, also attended Chester Doles’ “American Patriots USA” far-Right rally in downtown Dahlonega in September 2019. Keena is an old friend of the Doles family and is linked through his social media accounts to not just Chester Doles but to his wife Teresa Doles and son Pierce Doles (AKA “Chevy Doles”). Keena uses the alias “Sean Cooley” for social media.
On social media, Keena celebrated Hitler with a “smiley Adolf” image. He uses eliminationist language against Jewish people, who he refers to as “rats”. In another post, Keena mocked the Holocaust, posting a picture of the cattle car tracks that led into the Auschwitz concentration camp with the comment “I’m staying at the motel 6 million tonight.” Keena promotes conspiracy theories blaming Jewish people for a wide range of evils. For example, Keena promotes a book on “false flags” by deceased American Free Press writer Michael Collins Piper, which blames Jewish conspiracies for everything from the Kennedy assassination to the Oklahoma City bombing to the Sept 11, 2001 attacks. Facebook comments made by Keena also suggest that he used to have a swastika painted on his motorcycle.
On his Twitter account, Keena posted over a dozen supportive comments to neo-Nazi and former KKK leader David Duke in late 2019. Keena also follows the account for Kevin MacDonald, an antisemitic propagandist who claims that Jewish people are evolutionarily predisposed to subvert societies. Interestingly, Keena’s antisemitism and far-Right affiliations may predate his online activity of recent years. According to Federal Election Commission records, in 1999 Keena made two $200 donations to Pat Buchanan’s Reform Party-ticket run for president. Buchanan’s lifetime of racism and antisemitism is well documented.
According to the Better Business Bureau, Sean Keena currently manages the Bennett Piano Movers company and its affiliated piano tuning service. The Bennett website lists customers such as Georgia Tech, University of Georgia, Marietta High School, the Chastain Amphitheater and Coca Cola. The Georgia Governor’s Mansion and the Atlanta Symphony Hall are listed as historic customers.
Keena also plays bass in the rock group Wild Knights, which performs infrequently around Georgia.
Militia Support for “American Patriots USA” Group
In our article about Dole’s September far-Right “Patriots” rally in Dahlonega, we noted that William Tex Simmons and his Brotherhood of Constitutional Patriots / American Brotherhood of Patriots (BCP / ABP) militia appeared to be drawing closer to Doles’ circles following the event. (Brotherhood of Constitutional Patriots is the name for a Facebook group for militiamen administered by Simmons, while the local group operating in North Georgia also goes by “American Brotherhood of Patriots”.) We have previously noted that ABP/BCP leader Tex Simmons knows about Chester Doles’ white supremacist agenda but plays stupid.
In December, Chester Doles announced that, following “several private meetings”, Simmons’ militia group would provide “security” for all upcoming meetings of APUSA. Simmons is currently a full member of APUSA according to the registered users’ section of the APUSA site.
The alliance between neo-Nazi Chester Doles and Simmons’ militia makes sense, since they share similar political impulses. On the BCP Facebook page, one post approved by Simmons alleged that a “kosher mafia” controls events behind the scenes. In February, Simmons posted footage of a march by the white supremacist and antisemitic Patriot Front in Washington, DC to the BCP Facebook page, seemingly endorsing the rally. Despite Patriot Front being a white power group, Simmons claimed that calling the organization “racist” was just “spin”. This follows a pattern of Simmons promoting and assisting white supremacists, while pretending that there is nothing racist going on. Indeed, Simmons has publicly stated that designations of “white supremacist” or “neo-Nazi” currently mean “nothing”, and that people should “grow a spine” and not care about being considered racist.
Unsurprisingly, Simmons has been active in the drive to make Lumpkin County a “Second Amendment Sanctuary”. In the process, Simmons normalizes the white supremacists steering APUSA as acceptable community leaders, since APUSA is the main organization behind that campaign locally.
The Klansman who Wanted to be White County Sheriff
At the end of December, Cody Steven Cantrell announced his plans to run for Sheriff of White County in north Georgia as an American Patriots USA candidate. Cantrell’s announcement was published on the “White Information Network” blog operated by Georgia neo-Nazi and APUSA organizer Michael Carothers (AKA Michael Weaver). Carothers also reposted the announcement of Cantrell’s planned candidacy on two notorious white supremacist forums, Stormfront and the Vanguard News Network. APUSA member Joshua Noah Mote of Gainesville, Georgia was listed as “Mr. Cantrell’s Campaign Manager” on the White Information Network post for Cantrell.
Prospective candidates for Sheriff would have to file paperwork with the County in early March in order to qualify as a candidate. Until then, individuals may announce their candidacy, but nothing is official. In the second week of January, a north Georgia resident who had seen a flyer about Cantrell for Sheriff posted about it on Facebook. White County locals began discussing a picture of Cantrell and others giving Klan salutes, circulating it widely in the community. In the hubbub that followed, Cantrell admitted that he was “affiliated” with the Ku Klux Klan but claimed the KKK does not have “racist views”. “Campaign manager” Josh Mote meanwhile insisted that Cantrell was not a Klansman. Having become a laughing stock, Cantrell’s Facebook profile disappeared. An incredible story blaming everything on “antifa” hackers briefly appeared on the APUSA website. While a restart is possible, nothing has been heard of Cantrell’s campaign since.
In January, a new website appeared for a “Patriot” clean-up and junk removal business based in Dahlonega. The site is designed by Christy Howle who maintains the APUSA site and features a phone number used by Doles for APUSA as well as a picture of him. The junk hauling business appears to not only be an effort by Doles to bring in additional personal income, but to bankroll the APUSA group beyond dues and merchandise income. The business could also be a possible source of employment for Doles’ white supremacist associates if it grows. Any resident of North Georgia should know that support for “Patriot Clean Up and Junk Removal” means financially supporting organized violent racists. We hope any posters or business cards that spring up in north Georgia are promptly removed.
While the APUSA website claims that there is “No Home for Hate” in the organization, Doles’ several decades in the white supremacist movement, as well as the individuals he brought in for the core of his new organization, make a mockery of that claim. APUSA aims for influence in the region, for example through its Lumpkin County ordinance campaign or running its own candidates. Although the Klansman for White County Sheriff campaign appears to have flopped on its own, other efforts may need to be actively opposed. If Doles’ group grows, it is reasonable to expect more harassment or worse against those Doles views as his enemies.
In our last major article on Doles, we wrote that anti-racists in North Georgia are “better connected, better organized, and most importantly confident” following their September counter-protest in Dahlonega. While this remains true, in recent months Doles has demonstrated that he has no intention of stepping back. Locals must organize to challenge his white supremacist front group, which will be harder to drive back if it grows.
If you have further information on APUSA members, please get in touch.