For immediate release | Monday, July 8, 2019

Extremism Spotlight: Siege’s Ties to Extremists

Press Contact:

Media at CEP

Neo-Nazi Manifesto Inspired 21 Individuals and 11 Organizations to Radicalization & Violence

(New York, N.Y)James Mason’s neo-Nazi manifesto, Siege, has since inspired a generation of neo-Nazis since it was first published as a single volume in 1992. The book sparked a violent online subculture called Siege Culture, devoted to Mason’s calls for independent terror cells to carry out a race war. Siege Culture is found across social media, podcasts, and chatrooms dedicated to Mason’s book. One group inspired by Siege, the U.S.-based Atomwaffen Division (AWD), has been linked to at least five murders and has branches in Canada and Europe. In 2015, AWD members republished Siege and began to popularize it online through Siege Culture, which has manifested itself through various social media and online forums.

“Parallels exist  between Siege and The Turner Diaries. They both represent manifestos of neo-Nazism and extreme far right hate and violence, yet both have found a home online,” said Counter Extremism Project (CEP) Executive Director David Ibsen. “These manifestos have called for and inspired acts of real-life violence. In Siege’s cases, it has spawned an entire counterculture and nearly a dozen organizations that worship its murderous, racist, and violence-inciting calls to action. It is entirely incomprehensible that reputable tech companies allow Siege to remain on their platforms.”

Mason’s followers created the website Siegeculture.biz to give popularize Siege and give a platform to Mason and his Universal Order movement. The website’s administrators claimed to be “working with James Mason to utilize and encourage the Universal Order worldview in people’s consciousness and physical daily life.” The site has been offline since March 2019, but included links to the third edition of Siege and hosted essays by Mason, his Siegecast podcast, and links to various other neo-Nazi content. Mason’s followers have also created Twitter, YouTube, and other social media accounts dedicated to Siege that call for violence against minorities and promote Nazi ideology. As of February 2019, the Read Siege YouTube channel hosted 48 videos and had received more than 30,000 views since its creation in 2017. The SIEGE Culture Twitter account had 625 followers as of the same date, though it has since been removed. A Read Siege group on the  platform Gab had 434 members.

CEP has documented 32 extremist entities—21 individuals and 11 organizations—with ties to Siege. Of these 21 individuals, nine have been involved in acts of violence, four have been involved in specific murders, and four have been involved in threats or acts of terrorism. Several of these involve members of the AWD.

On January 2, 2018, AWD member Sam Woodward allegedly murdered Blaze Bernstein, a gay Jewish college student, which was celebrated by AWD. AWD co-founder Brandon Russell is serving a five-year prison sentence for stockpiling explosives to carry out attacks on U.S. infrastructure. Another co-founder, Devon Arthurs, killed two of his roommates.

Previously, CEP spotlighted Siege’s continued influence online and its call for violence, radicalization, and terrorism 26 years after its publication. It was discovered that Siege was still available on several websites, including the Internet Archive, WordPress, and YouTube. The release elicited a response from YouTube, in which the website cited familiar and tired platitudes of protecting free speech as a justification for leaving the audiobook online. In response, Ibsen stated that, “Google’s decision [was] patently absurd and emblematic of the typical reactionary half measures we see from tech companies in response to embarrassing revelations in the media.”

To read CEP’s resource, Siege’s Ties To Extremists, please click here.

To read CEP’s previous Extremism Spotlight on Siege, please click here.