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memri
November 18, 2019 No.
1484

Weapons Confiscated Under 'Red Flag' Law From Suspected Leader Of Washington State Chapter Of The 'Atomwaffen Division' Extremist White Supremacist Terrorist Network – But He Is Not Charged With A Crime; A Review Of Atomwaffen Division's Online Activity

By: MEMRI Staff

Introduction

In October 2019, Seattle authorities confiscated five rifles, including an AK-47, and three pistols and other gun components from 24-year-old Kaleb James Cole, an avowed neo-Nazi. The weapons were seized under Washington State's "red flag" Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO), which authorities requested to file against him on September 26. The request stated: "Kaleb Cole is a self-admitted member of the Atomwaffen Division and believed to be the cell leader of the Washington state chapter." The judge in the case said that Cole posed "a serious threat to public safety by having access and possession to firearms and a concealed pistol license." A prosecutor said, "This was an individual who had access to firearms and was preparing for a race war." Under ERPO, he is prevented from owning weapons for up to one year.[1]

Later, on November 4, Cole was present during the arrest of a suspected Atomwaffen Division member in Post, Texas. Aiden Bruce-Umbaugh, 23, was arrested for possessing firearms while illegally using marijuana and THC oil. Law enforcement seized firearms from Bruce-Umbaugh's vehicle, including a Sig Sauer 9mm pistol, an AR-15 rifle, an AK-47 rifle, and another semi-automatic rifle, and at least 1,500 rounds of ammunition. At the time of the arrest, both Cole and Bruce-Umbaugh were wearing tactical military gear, which is commonly worn by Atomwaffen Division members.[2]


Bruce-Umbaugh (left) and Kaleb Cole at Auschwitz (Source: Dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7691023/Neo-Nazis-tactical-gear-1-500-rounds-ammunition-arrested.html, November 15, 2019)

While Atomwaffen Division, one of the most violent extremist groups in the U.S. which is linked to a series of killings, openly calls for violence against Jews, minorities, the LGBTQ community, and the federal government, and its members undergo military training to actively prepare for a "race war," Cole was not charged with any offense.


The confiscated weapons. (Source: Wqad.com/2019/10/18/police-seize-guns-from-avowed-neo-nazi-in-washington/, October 18, 2019)

Against this backdrop, this report will review Atomwaffen Division members' online activity promulgating hate speech and calls for violence and also showing means of taking action.

The Atomwaffen Division – Background

The Atomwaffen Division (Atomwaffen is German for "atomic weapon") was founded by Brandon Russell in 2015, who recruited for it via the now-defunct Ironmarch.org website that was a popular forum for white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and fascists.[3] It originated in the American South but has since expanded to other regions in the U.S. and to other countries, including Germany, Canada, and the United Kingdom.[4]


Atomwaffen poster circulated on Ironmarch.org, for Atomwaffen Division which was posted on the now defunct website ironmarch.org, stating that a "new order will rise from the ashes of the kike system" and featuring an Atomwaffen slogan, "Join your local Nazis."(Source: Brewminate.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/022318-08-Atomwaffen-Blaze-Bernstein-LGBTQ.jpg, accessed November 14, 2019)

The group fetishizes Nazi relics and Third Reich propaganda and as part of its brand of racist, fascist, and white-nationalist ideology it holds that the current world order is coming to an end. Its goal, therefore, is to overthrow the U.S. federal government, carry out ethnic cleansing, and create a white ethno-state. Atomwaffen Division particularly idealizes white supremacist James Mason, author of the 1992 book Siege, who currently serves as an advisor to the group. According to a prosecutor in a 2019 case against Atomwaffen, Mason "may well represent the most violent, revolutionary, and potentially terroristic expression of right-wing extremism current today."[5]

An Atomwaffen video uploaded November 12, 2019 and titled "Nuclear Congress 2019,"[6] features masked group members with James Mason. In it, one member reads a text aloud. The following is the transcript:

James Mason: "You live and you act your philosophy.. it develops according to need and ability. Our best weapon, and our best shield is truth. We owe it to ourselves and to the truth to wield it most properly."

Masked figure: "...our chances of being left alone skyrocket with this practice. So it is of the upmost importance that we establish ways to finance and execute this endeavor before they start using their tools at hand to put us away for what we think, which appears to be a more and more likely scenario as the tension and violence plaguing the system escalates..."

James Mason: "What should happen following the turn of the 21st century [is] that more young people should bring forth... the Atomwaffen Division... all of it... outside of my control... but here we are gathered today."

This is followed by text reading "More to come soon" and some binary code, and the Atomwaffen motto "Join your local Nazis!" with the address of the group's TOR website, atomyn4ln9oqw5it.onion.


James Mason with members of the Atomwaffen Division. Source: "Nuclear Congress 2019" video, November 12, 2019

According to a former Atomwaffen member, the group has approximately 60 members and many more "initiates." He called the group a "Nazi extremist group seeking to spread terror" whose main course of action is through lone wolf activity.[7] The "Nuclear Congress 2019" video also featured a ceremony akin to knighting for promoting "initiates" as full-fledged members.


A masked Atomwaffen member, left,  (on the left) places a sword on the shoulder of a masked "initiate." In the background is the Black Sun symbol between two Atomwaffen Division flag; two other members wield. (Source: "Nuclear Congress 2019," November 12, 2019)  


The new member stands next to the member who performed the ceremony. (Source: "Nuclear Congress 2019," November 12, 2019)  

Like many white supremacist groups and individuals that are inspired by literature on the subject, Atomwaffen bases its ideology on Mason's Siege, which calls for a "leaderless, cell-structured terrorism and white revolution." The book presents the author's belief in the need to establish neo-Nazi terror cells willing to strike at American culture, which is controlled by "the System," comprising Jewish influences[8] (see also MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 1472, The Evolving White Supremacy Ideology And Its Protagonists, September 6, 2019).

Atomwaffen's terror activity was revealed in May 2017, after 18-year-old Devon Arthurs, thought to be a co-founder, shot dead two of his Florida roommates and fellow members, Andrew Oneschuk, 18, and Jeremy Himmelman, 22. He said initially that he had killed them because they teased him about his recent conversion to Islam.[9] Arthurs told police that among Atomwaffen Division's potential targets were nuclear reactors, power lines, and synagogues. In the apartment, police found a "bomb-maker's work shop," Nazi paraphernalia, guns, radioactive material, and homemade explosives, as well as a framed photograph of 1995 Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.[10]

Other Atomwaffen-linked murders include the December 2017 incident in Reston, Virginia when member Nicholas Giampa, 17, shot and killed his girlfriend's parents after they forbade her from associating with him because of his views. Additionally, in January 2018, member Samuel Woodward stabbed the Jewish and openly gay Blaze Bernstein to death.[11]

Atomwaffen Division's Online Activity

Until July of 2019, Atomwaffen Division was active on social media platforms including Gab and Twitter. Since then, its accounts on social media are terminated almost as quickly as they are opened. At this time, its posters and recruitment videos are posted on sites such as BitChute, which serves as a YouTube-type platform for white supremacists,[12] and the Russian VK, to which U.S. white supremacists barred by Facebook are migrating,[13] and also on the "Atomwaffen" Telegram channel.[14]


A pinned poster on the Atomwaffen Division Telegram channel.

Hate Speech And Calls For Violence In Videos And Other Content

In its videos and posters, Atomwaffen Division promotes Nazi and white supremacist ideologies, recruiting with slogans such as "Join your local Nazis" and showing their members shouting "Gas the kikes! Race war now!" and giving the Nazi salute, for example in a video titled "Zealous Operation" posted on YouTube and the Internet Archive in July 2018.[15] Another video, "The Sword Has Been Drawn," also posted in July 2018 on the Internet Archive,[16] featured founder Russell saying: "To all of those who have abandoned ship since hitting rough waters, woe to you. Adolf Hitler once said there is no room in this world for cowardly people."

"#OperationRockwell," another one posted at the same time, included audio of George Lincoln Rockwell, the founder of the American Nazi Party, saying: "There is only one way to win back for our nation and our race the birthright that was conferred on us by our founding fathers. That way is to fight. You don't win it by talking. You don't win it by publishing newspapers. You don't win it by passing pamphlets and saying: 'Take a look at this, what the Jews are doing.' That doesn't win anything. You go out where the Jews are... And the Jews come up in force and they try to kill you, and in the process people see that they're not [the] love-and-brotherhood people that they're supposed to be. They're pretty vile. This is the way that every single great advance in the history has been written and run. We're getting young people more and more. You can't get them by passing them papers. You can't get them by talking to them. You can't get them by private meetings. You get them by fighting, getting out there in the streets and defying these Jew traitors, and egging them on: 'Come on, you Jew cowards, let's see what you got.'"

Atomwaffen Division has 20 videos on the Internet Archive (archive.org); they were all posted in July 2018.[17] They are categorized under "Atomwaffen," "Atomwaffen Division," "AWD," "Ironmarch," "SIEGE," "James Mason," "Nazi, National Socialism," "Fascism," "Revolution" and "Hate." They show the group carrying out "field activities" demonstrating its affinity for violence and its aspirations for fomenting civil and racial chaos, including military-style weapons training, and social activity such as group bonfires where members drink alcohol and burn items such as copies of the U.S. Constitution and the LGBTQ rainbow flag, the UN flag, the Israeli flag, and so on. Showing the group members' brotherhood is aimed at appealing to potential members

The videos are titled:

  1. "Fire Up The Panzers and Launch the Nukes"

  2. "Atomwaffen Visits Texas A&M"

  3. "Atomwaffen Visits the University of Washington"

  4. "Evergreen State College"

  5. "#ResistRacialEclipse"

  6. "Left-Right Spectrum"

  7. "#OperationRockwell"

  8. "James Mason is Back"

  9. ":The Lesson of Charlottesville"

  10. "Urban Exploration"

  11. "Announcement For Our Supporters"

  12. "SIEGE – Family"

  13. "Doomsday Hatecamp 2017 – Midwest"

  14. "Happy Nuke Year"

  15. "Zealous Operation"

  16. "The Sword Has Been Drawn"

  17. "Atomwaffen Division In Germany"

  18. "VladislavShootsRifle"

  19. "Accelerating Vengeance!"

  20. "Nuclear Congress 2019"

A video showing the global aspect of Atomwaffen's activity, also posted in July 2018 on the Internet Archive, a member tells potential recruits in Germany: "National Socialism is alive despite the whole world wanting to destroy it. This clearly shows us its deep, unswerving power. Oh Germany freedom fighters, follow the Atomwaffen Division! We are preparing for the last fight in ruins, which is soon coming. The knives are already being whetted! And to our true comrades of Atomwaffen Division in the United States: Greetings from Germany. Also here, we prepare for the last, long fight, soon to come. Sieg Heil!"[18]

Video: "Atomwaffen Division"

A compilation of Atomwaffen recruitment videos shows the group carrying out provocative and violent acts, including burning flags and a copy of the U.S. constitution, members giving Nazi salutes, and chanting slogans such as "Gas the Kikes!" and "Race War Now!" as they fire weapons during military-style training.

To view this video, click here or below:

A video titled "Atomwaffen Division in Germany," posted in July 2018 on the Internet Archive, featured the group's activity in Germany.

To view this video, click here or below

Atomwaffen In Canada

It was reported in June 2018 that Atomwaffen has emerged in Canada, and that the group has at least one prominent Canadian member, a figure known as "Dark Foreigner," who has been described as its graphic designer. A Canadian national intelligence agency official said that Atomwaffen is on its radar.[19] 


Atomwaffen members in Canada (source: Vice.com, June 19, 2018)

 

 

[1] Nytimes.com/2019/10/17/us/atomwaffen-kaleb-cole.html, October 17, 2019; Nydailynews.com/news/national/ny-arsenal-seized-neo-nazi-leader-red-flag-law-20191019-bo2ml7mcjfgrjhj5xhkez2n7cy-story.html, October 19, 2019; Cnn.com/2019/10/19/us/kaleb-james-cole-guns-seized/index.html, October 19, 2019; Wqad.com/2019/10/18/police-seize-guns-from-avowed-neo-nazi-in-washington/, October 18, 2019.

[2] Dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7691023/Neo-Nazis-tactical-gear-1-500-rounds-ammunition-arrested.html, November 15, 2019.

[3] Spiegel.de/international/the-hate-network-an-inside-look-at-a-global-extremist-group-a-1226861.html, 2018.

[4] Dw.com/en/what-is-the-atomwaffen-division/a-51106179, November 4, 2019.

[5] Bbc.com/news/uk-48672929, June 18, 2019.

[6] Archive.org/20/items/atomwaffendivision20nuclearcongress2019/Atomwaffen%20Division%20-%20%2820%29%20Nuclear%20Congress%202019.mp4

[7] Pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/documenting-hate-new-american-nazis/, November 20, 2018.

[8] Splcenter.org/hatewatch/2018/02/22/atomwaffen-and-siege-parallax-how-one-neo-nazi%E2%80%99s-life%E2%80%99s-work-fueling-younger-generation, February 2, 2018.

[9] Apnews.com/222eaf9f330e4cdf812634f0baf3d5ca, August 22, 2017.

[10] Pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/documenting-hate-new-american-nazis/, November 20, 2018.

[11] Spiegel.de/international/the-hate-network-an-inside-look-at-a-global-extremist-group-a-1226861.html, 2018.

[12] Theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/nov/14/far-right-safe-haven-online-white-supremacist-groups, November 14, 2019.

[13] Voanews.com/usa/us-white-nationalists-barred-facebook-find-haven-russia-site April 10, 2019.

[14] T.me/atomwaffendivision.

[15] Vice.com/en_us/article/zmwg38/atomwaffen-division-steam-youtube, February 23, 2018; Archive.org/details/AtomwaffenDivisionVideoArchive, accessed November 14, 2019.

[16] Archive.org/details/AtomwaffenDivisionVideoArchive accessed November 14, 2019.

[17] Archive.org/search.php?query=creator%3A%22Atomwaffen+Division%22

[18] Archive.org/details/AtomwaffenDivisionVideoArchive accessed November 14, 2019.

[19] Vice.com/en_ca/article/a3a8ae/atomwaffen-an-american-neo-nazi-terror-group-is-in-canada, June 19, 2018.