Atomwaffen Division

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Atomwaffen Division
Atomwaffen.jpg
Alias: Iron March

National Socialist Order

Foundation: 2015
Headquarters: United States
Commanders: James Mason
Goals: Overthrow of the Federal government of the United States by use of terrorism and guerrilla warfare (failing)
Crimes: Murder

Hate Crimes
Threats
Terrorism


The frail whites will serve as prey to the Aryan predator.
~ Excerpt from the Atomwaffen Division's website.

The Atomwaffen Division (Atomwaffen meaning "atomic weapons" in German) is a neo-Nazi/white supremacy terrorist network. Formed in 2015 and based in the United States, it has since expanded across the United States and it has also expanded into the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, and the Baltic states. The group is part of the Alt-Right but is considered extreme even within that movement. It is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

Background

Atomwaffen encourages flag desecration, the burning of the United States Constitution, and attacks on the federal government of the United States, minorities, African-Americans, gays, Jews, and Muslims.

Atomwaffen Division has engaged in plans to cripple public water systems and destroy parts of the Continental U.S. power transmission grid Atomwaffen has also been accused of planning to blow up nuclear plants in order to cause nuclear meltdowns. The organization's aim is to violently overthrow the federal government of the United States via terrorism and guerrilla warfare tactics. Since 2017, the organization has been linked to five killings and several violent hate crimes.

The organization explicitly advocates Neo-Nazism, drawing a significant amount of influence from James Mason and his publication, Siege, a mid-1980s newsletter of the National Socialist Liberation Front that paid tribute to Adolf Hitler, Joseph Tommasi, Charles Manson, and Savitri Devi. It was published into a book that is required reading for all Atomwaffen Division members. Mason, a neo-Nazi Party and Holocaust denier who advocates murder and violence in order to create lawlessness, anarchy and destabilize the system, is the main advisor to the group.

The group advocates a revival of Italian Futurism, a pre-World War I avant-garde art movement which glorified "war - the world's only hygiene - militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of freedom-bringers, beautiful ideas worth dying for."

ProPublica obtained 250,000 encrypted chat logs written by members of the group.

Some members of the group sympathize with the Salafi movement and jihadism, forms of Islam. The leader of Atomwaffen Division, Brandon Russell, is alleged to have described Omar Mateen, who pledged allegiance to the The Islamic State and perpetrated the Orlando nightclub mass shooting, as "a hero". A member of Atomwaffen Division, Stephen Billingsley, was photographed at a vigil in San Antonio, Texas, for the victims of the Orlando shooting, with a skull mask and a sign saying "God Hates Fags".

Atomwaffen Division has recruited several veterans and current members of the U.S. Armed Forces who train the organization's members in the use of firearms and hand-to-hand combat. Atomwaffen members have also sought to train with the Azov Battalion in Ukraine.

Some have tied Atomwaffen to fascist Satanist groups such as the Order of Nine Angles and the Tempel ov Blood. They also reportedly have ties to the Phineas Priesthood as well as the Christian Identity movement.

In 2015, the group announced its creation on the neo-Nazi website IronMarch.org, that has been linked to several acts of neo-Nazi terrorism and violent militant groups such as the Nordic Resistance Movement, National Action and the Azov Battalion. In its initial posts, the group described itself as a "very fanatical, ideological band of comrades who do both activism and militant training. Hand to hand, arms training, and various other forms of training. As for activism, we spread awareness in the real world through unconventional means."

The group's membership is mostly young, and it has also recruited new members on university campuses. Its campus recruitment poster campaigns urge students to "Join Your Local Nazis!" and say "The Nazis Are Coming!". It posted recruiting posters at the University of Chicago, the University of Central Florida, the Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, and Boston University.

In early 2018, ProPublica estimated that Atomwaffen had 80 members, while the Anti-Defamation League estimated that it had 24 to 36 active members.

The group is one of several neo-Nazi and alt-right organizations which have been banned by Discord and YouTube for violations of their Terms of Service. However, the group has since re-uploaded content to YouTube and Youtube has allowed the content to stay online.

In February 2020, Atomwaffen's UK branch, Sonnenkrieg Division(Sonnenkrieg meaning "Sun War") was designated as a terrorist organization by that country. It was the second neo-Nazi organization to be designated as such, the first being National Action. This decision was questioned because SKD had not actually committed any political violence. However, the organization had made posters calling for the assassination of Prince Harry because of his marriage to Meghan Markle, a mixed-race woman. In July of that year, its Baltic branch, the Feuerkrieg Division(Feuerkrieg meaning "Fire War") was also designated as a terrorist organization by the UK. Unlike SKD, FKD had committed violent acts, such as a bombing of a Western Union office in Vilnius.

On March 14, 2020, Mason claimed that the Atomwaffen Division has disbanded. However, the group is believed to be on the cusp of being designated Foreign Terrorist Organization by the State Department, and Anti-Defamation League concluded "the move is designed to give members breathing room rather than actually end their militant activities". According to SITE Intelligence Group Atomwaffen and its offshoots remain clandestinely active. An intelligence brief distributed by federal law enforcement warned that Atomwaffen and its branches discussed taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nick Martin of the Southern Poverty Law Center stated that “There is a big concern right now — including from people who work in counterterrorism — that it’s an opportune time for these accelerationist groups to strike". On March 25, 2020, a Missouri man affiliated with Atomwaffen allegedly planned to destroy a hospital treating coronavirus victims with a car bomb and died in a shootout with the FBI.

On July 25, 2020, it was announced that the Atomwaffen Division had changed its name to National Socialist Order.

Affiliates

The Atomwaffen Division is loosely organized, with affiliated groups in many different countries, in a manner similar to Al-Qaeda or the Islamic State. All branches use the same symbolism and ideology, but operate semi-independently of each other, sometimes referring to themselves by different names. Locations listed contain the bulk of affiliates' membership, but this does not necessarily indicate that all members live in that territory - the Feuerkrieg Division, for example, claims that it has members outside the Baltic states.

Americas

  • Atomwaffen Division(USA)(Main Branch)
  • Northern Order(Canada)

Europe

  • Sonnenkrieg Division(UK)
  • Feuerkrieg Division(Baltic States)
  • Atomwaffen Division Deutschland(Germany)
  • Atomwaffen Division Russland(Russia)