(New York, N.Y.) – On Monday, POLITICO reported that the U.S. State Department is considering a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) designation of at least one white supremacist group. Former government officials and counterterrorism analysts have suggested designating the Atomwaffen Division (AWD) or another neo-Nazi group like The Base. If imposed, the FTO designation would allow law enforcement to monitor Americans who go overseas to train with white supremacist groups like AWD. The group has reportedly expanded its influence in Europe and has an established presence in the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, and Estonia. These discussions come after U.S. federal officials made a series of arrests in February, charging five AWD members with cyberstalking and targeting journalists with whom they disagreed by delivering posters exhibiting Nazi symbols and threatening language.
One of the individuals arrested, John Cameron Denton, resides in Texas and is AWD’s former leader. According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint against Denton, the notorious neo-Nazi author and activist James Mason has participated in online chats with members of AWD on the Discord platform. According to court documents, Mason “joined the (Discord) channel on multiple occasions to offer the group encouragement in pursuing neo-Nazi activities and views. Denton expected channel participants to join the channel when James Mason spoke to the group.” Mason praised AWD in a September 2019 video made by the group and wore the group’s insignia, though he claims not to have any role with AWD. AWD’s website has featured videos and blogs by Mason promoting racist and Nazi ideologies.
Two AWD videos were also located on YouTube in February that reveres white supremacist and mass murderer Dylann Roof and advocates the murder of Jews, people of color, Latinos, and immigrants. The AWD footage, which is taken directly from the group’s propaganda videos, includes individuals firing various firearms while wearing AWD patches. The unlisted video was uploaded in October 2019, and had almost 200 views when it was located on February 20 by CEP researchers.
German for “atomic weapons,” AWD is a neo-Nazi organization that seeks the creation of a National Socialist government through a violent “white revolution,” and believes that a race war is inevitable. The group promotes Nazi and satanic propaganda in pursuit of “total Aryan victory.” AWD follows a neo-Nazi ideology promoted by Mason, a former American Nazi Party member and a follower of cult leader Charles Manson. During the 1980s, Mason wrote a series of pro-Manson and pro-Nazi newsletters that he called Siege and later compiled into a book of the same name. Users on the now-defunct fascist web forum IronMarch formed AWD after discovering Siege, which is required reading for group members They based AWD’s ideology on Mason’s ideas of autonomous terror cells fighting a guerilla war against “the system” in order to incite a race war.
To read CEP’s resources on Atomwaffen Division and The Base, please click here.
To read CEP’s Resource James Mason’s Siege: Ties to Extremists, please click here.