• AWD is a small neo-Nazi group whose members are preparing for a race war to combat what they consider the cultural and racial displacement of the white race.
• AWD spreads their hateful propaganda via the internet and by distributing provocative fliers, posters, and stickers.
• Members participate in “hate camps,” organized hiking excursions and military-style training exercises.
• Members have participated in white supremacist rallies and events organized by other white supremacist groups.
• Members and associates have been linked to violent crimes including murder and alleged plots to attack civilians, nuclear facilities and synagogues.
Atomwaffen Division (AWD) is a small neo-Nazi group that became active in 2016. The group is believed to have originated online from a now-defunct Neo-Nazi forum called Iron March, which was known for its extreme content and calls for violence. According to the AWD website, they are “a revolutionary national socialist organization centered around political activism and the practice of an autonomous fascist lifestyle.” They promote the idea that societal and governmental “systems” are collapsing and that democracy and capitalism have “given way to Jewish oligarchies and globalist bankers resulting in the cultural and racial displacement of the white race.”
Members train in preparation for an impending race war and promote the use of violence to reach their goal of “uncompromising victory.” In a promotional video published on January 21, 2018, members, dressed in military-styled camouflaged fatigues, shout “gas the Kikes” and “race war now” as they fire weapons and practice tactical maneuvers.
In December 2017, one of AWD’s leaders, John Cameron Denton (aka Vincent Snyder), laid out the group’s plans on their Siege Culture website: “Our responsibility right now is resistance, anything that happens after that we’ll simply adapt to it and work with what we have.” Denton, who lives in Texas, has attended white supremacist rallies and events in Houston and Austin alongside members of the White Lives Matter movement and the Aryan Renaissance Society.
Atomwaffen members have a macabre fascination with serial killer Charles Manson and his vision of a race war between whites and blacks. For this reason, in 2017, Denton and other Atomwaffen members sought out neo-Nazi Manson devotee and former American Nazi Party member, James Mason, and republished some of his writing, including Siege, a book based on a collection of newsletters Mason wrote in the 1980s.
In addition to Charles Manson, AWD members pay tribute to other white men who’ve committed mass murders, including Dylann Roof, Anders Breivik, Ted Kaczynski and Timothy McVeigh, even referring to the latter three as “the father, the son, and the holy spirit.”
Atomwaffen draws some of its influences from satanic ideas and beliefs. Required and recommended reading lists for Atomwaffen’s “aspiring initiates” include books that draw on satanic and occult themes, while some Atomwaffen members promote a particular version of Satanism known as “The Order of Nine Angles,” commonly abbreviated as ONA or O9A, which is steeped in neo-Nazi themes that praise Adolf Hitler, promote Holocaust denial and identify Jews as the enemy.
The Order of Nine Angles’ spiritual leader, Anton Long (which may be a pseudonym for David Myatt), is a notorious British neo-Nazi leader with a violent criminal history. Siege Culture, an Atomwaffen website, promotes Long’s book Hostia: Secret Teachings of the Order of Nine Angles, an instructional guide for would-be O9A members that encourages “satanic novices” to undergo a personal transformation to achieve a more revolutionary mindset. Suggestions include enlisting in a police force, championing heretical views, becoming a professional burglar and joining the armed forces (in wartime) to gain combat experience.
Atomwaffen’s small clusters of members are scattered around the country; they participate in “hate camp:” hiking excursions and military-style training exercises. The AWD Florida chapter, once considered the largest in the country, took a major hit in May 2017 when Devon Arthurs, a former Atomwaffen member who converted to Islam, allegedly murdered two of his roommates, Atomwaffen members Jeremy Himmelman and Andrew Oneschuk.
An investigation following the murders revealed that a fourth Atomwaffen Florida member, Brandon Russell, sometimes named in media reports as the group’s national leader, had been collecting explosive materials in his apartment. Russell fled but was quickly arrested by police.
Arthurs told law enforcement that AWD planned to use explosives to attack civilians, nuclear facilities and synagogues. In January 2018, Russell, who pleaded guilty to possessing an unregistered destructive device and unlawful storage of explosive materials, was sentenced to five years in federal prison.
Virginia teen Nicholas Giampa, who allegedly shot and killed his girlfriend’s parents after they became upset by his rumored neo-Nazi views, was, at the very least, influenced by Atomwaffen. Giampa praised Mason’s book, Siege, and retweeted material from Siege Culture. He also retweeted at least one Atomwaffen photo and praised someone named “Ryan Atomwaffen” for his white supremacist book collection.
Activity attributed to Atomwaffen has been reported in multiple states, including California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas, Massachusetts, Washington, North Carolina and Virginia. The group’s vile propaganda often promotes violence against minority communities, including LGBT people, Jews, Muslims, and African Americans.
White supremacist organization Sonnenkrieg Division, which launched online in 2018, has strong ties to Atomwaffen. Sonnenkrieg is predominantly focused on political and social issues in Europe, specifically the UK and Eastern Europe, and its members take a nihilistic view of the world, which they seek to destroy.
There are significant overlap in the Sonnenkrieg and AWD's core ideologies, use of graphics and imagery, rhetoric, cross-promotion and communication. Like Atomwaffen, Sonnenkrieg rails against a perceived cultural and racial obliteration of the white race and glorifies the teachings of Siege author James Mason.
On December 6, 2018, British authorities arrested 21-year-old Andrew Dymock, 18-year-old Oskar Koczorowski and an unnamed 17-year-old on suspicion of possessing material likely to be used to prepare or commit acts of terrorism and conspiracy to inspire racial and religious hatred. All three are associated with Sonnenkrieg.
The Murder of Blaze Bernstein
On January 12, 2018, law enforcement officers arrested 20-year-old California resident Sam Woodward for the stabbing death of former classmate Blaze Bernstein, a 19-year-old college student. Two days prior to the arrest, Bernstein’s body was found with 19 stab wounds to his neck, buried in a shallow grave in a park in Lake Forest, California. In addition to felony murder charges in connection with the death of Bernstein, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office charged Woodward on August 2, 2018, with hate crimes for allegedly targeting Bernstein because of his sexual orientation.
Woodward’s association with Atomwaffen came to light in photos, social media and leaked Discord chat logs, where he interacted with Atomwaffen members and frequently discussed his hatred of gay people and Jews. One of these photographs show Woodward giving a Nazi salute alongside other Atomwaffen members. Following the murder, Atomwaffen affiliate @Trajan_AWD justified Woodward’s actions on Twitter, posting, “Sam Woodward did nothing wrong, some gay tried to kiss him and he reacted appropriately.”
Examples of Activity:
Pensacola, Florida, November 2017: Flyers with homophobic slurs and the Atomwaffen website address were found at the University of West Florida.
Shelbyville, Tennessee, October 2017: At least one Atomwaffen member attended the Nationalist Front organized White Lives Matter rally.
Houston, Texas, October 2016: AWD members protested in front of the Houston ADL office alongside White Lives Matter (WLM) Texas and members of the Aryan Renaissance Society
Seattle, Washington, September 2017: AWD members held “Hate Planet” banners from a footbridge
Olympia, Washington, June 2017: Atomwaffen fliers were posted at Evergreen State College. The flyers demanded, “Where will you be when the race war begins? When the world burns?”
Seattle, Washington, June 2017: Atomwaffen members distributed numerous fliers at the University of Washington and posed for photos at the university’s Sieg Hall.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 2017: Atomwaffen fliers were posted at the University of Pennsylvania, including one that read "How is a diploma going to help you in the race war?"
Chicago, Illinois, December 2016: An Atomwaffen flier that read “#HITLER DISAPPROVES: No Degeneracy, No Tolerance, Hail Victory” was posted at the University of Chicago.
Bradenton, Florida, December 2016: Atomwaffen fliers that read, “How is a diploma going to help you in the race war? Join your local Nazis” and “A New Course of Action, A New Time,” were posted at the State College of Florida at Bradenton.
Denver, Colorado, December 2016: An Atomwaffen flyer that read, “The fascists are in town! Are you ready to stand against liberal anti-white filth white man?” was posted at the University of Colorado.