Abstract: The backbone of the “skull mask” transnational neo-fascist accelerationist network—whose nodes include terror groups such as Atomwaffen, the Base, and Feuerkrieg Division—is a group of organizations that grew out of Iron March, a neo-fascist web forum that was active from 2011 to 2017. The history of the Iron March network shows that violent extremist movements can develop from online communities even in the absence of a territorial base and without regular in-person contact between members. Iron March provided a closed social space where young neo-fascists who did not fit in well in established neo-fascist organizations could create a transnational collective identity. Eventually, Iron March users sought each other out in person and created local groups that remained networked together by virtue of their common origin in the community created on the web forum. The network’s transition from activism to terrorism was facilitated by the introduction of violent ritualistic initiation practices derived from the writings of the Order of Nine Angles, which helped to habituate members to violence as well as to create a sense of shared membership in a militant elite.

Most coverage of the neo-fascist accelerationist terrorist movement in the United States has, so far, treated the Atomwaffen Division as an umbrella organization and more recent groups such as The Base as its spinoffs. In the June 2021 issue of this publication, Alex Newhouse argued that, rather than an umbrella organization or the top of a hierarchical network, the Atomwaffen Division should be viewed instead as one node in a distributed transnational neo-fascist accelerationist network.1 The backbone of this network is a group of organizations that grew out of Iron March, a neo-fascist web forum that was active from 2011 to 2017.

Iron March, an online forum that was operational between 2011 and 2017,2 was the incubator and eventually the primary organizational platform for a transnational neo-fascist accelerationist terrorist network that includes National Action3 in the United Kingdom, Atomwaffen Division in the United States,4 and Antipodean Resistance5 in Australia. During the period when Iron March was active, a few existing neo-fascist groups, including the Nordic Resistance Movementa in the Nordic countries and CasaPoundb in Italy, began to collaborate with other groups under the Iron March banner. At present, this network lacks an organization-level name: Affiliation is demonstrated through solidarity pledges and the use of common symbols, most importantly the black-and-white skull mask and badges based on the shield-shaped division insignia of the Waffen-SS, the military arm of the Nazi SS. The author refers to this terrorist network here as the “skull mask network” to distinguish it from the broader social and ideological network that grew up around Iron March.

The skull mask network’s ideology is a political-religious hybrid based in large part on the work of the philosopher Julius Evola. Evola mixed fascism with “Traditionalism,” a syncretic 20th century religious movement that combines Hermetic occultismc with the Hindu doctrine of cyclical time and a belief in a now-lost primordial European paganism.6 Adherents of this blend of doctrines, which can be termed “Traditionalist fascism” believe that a caste-based, racially pure “organic” society will be restored after what they believe to be an ongoing age of corruption, the Kali Yuga,d is swept away in an apocalyptic war, and that it is their role to hasten the end of the Kali Yuga by generating chaos and violence.7

Although there has always been cross-border contact between neo-fascist movements, most neo-fascist terrorist groups, such as The Ordere in the United States and the Black Brigadesf in Italy, have been local ethnonationalist organizations. The skull mask network internationalized without a territorial base because it began as a closed international social network and only turned to terrorist violence later in its development. This process is distinct from that by which an international network forms around a geographically bounded movement, as in the case of the Islamic State, and from the process by which disparate local organizations become networked online after face-to-face interactions between their members, as in the case of earlier U.S.-based white nationalist groups.g

To understand the genesis of the skull mask terrorist network, it is necessary to explain both how the transnational movement came together without roots in a local territorial base, and how that network evolved toward clandestine terrorist violence. The first section of this article examines how the Iron March network acted as the online incubator of the skull mask terrorist network. The second section looks at how online members of the Iron March network built offline connections to other Iron Marchers in their vicinity and began to build in-person activist groups. Both these offline and online spaces acted as incubators for the skull mask network, the emergence of which is described in the third section of the article. The fourth section of the article examines the influence of the Order of Nine Angles on the training and indoctrination practices of the network, influences that contributed toward terrorist radicalization. The fifth section examines terrorist attacks and plots by individuals within the skull mask network and the skull mask network terrorist groups that emerged after the closure of the Iron March forum. The final section offers some conclusions.

Most of the data on Iron March comes from a leak of the site’s SQL database, posted to the Internet Archive by an anonymous individual on November 6, 2019.8 Nothing is known about the identity of the leaker, although their Internet Archive username, “antifa-data,” implies an activist motivation.9 The Internet Archive removed the data shortly afterward, but it remains available via torrent links provided by Bellingcat.10 The leaked SQL database is a complete snapshot of the forum as it appeared shortly before the site went offline in November 2017, including the text of all public forum posts, complete logs of all private messages sent on the forum, and user registration data. Other data comes from websites and public social media accounts associated with Iron March-affiliated groups and individuals. Most of these accounts are no longer available online, having either been deleted by users or banned by the platforms.

Online Incubation: The Iron March Network
The Iron March forum served as the incubator in which the strong group identity and interpersonal bonds necessary to sustain the skull mask terrorist movement developed. Specialized online communities, whether focused on Traditionalist neo-fascism or on model trains, aggregate groups of people with shared interests and values, and facilitate the formation of both personal relationships and collective identities through sustained interaction over time, requiring only that members share a common language. In the Iron March case, the constraints of the web forum format, in particular the public visibility of forum posts and the slow pace of discussion, drove members who wanted to have private, real-time interactions to other platforms more suited to one-on-one conversation or discussion in small groups. This network of private groups served as the incubator for the common identity and strong social bonds necessary to maintain a transnational clandestine movement.

From the beginning, Iron March had a transnational userbase, although it is impossible to extract complete user statistics from available archives because Iron March did not retain information on accounts that were deleted or banned. Nevertheless, the posts and messages themselves provide a rough picture of the demographics of the Iron March userbase. Young people who congregated on Iron March described themselves as having grown up on social media, internet messaging, and image boards, largely disconnected from organized neo-fascism.11 Those who became involved with the Iron March community made their way to its forums both from other online communities where extremist political expression was encouraged, like 4chanh and Kiwifarms,i and from links shared on mainstream social media sites in the period before extremist content was extensively policed.12

Iron March began as the “International Third Positionist Federation” (ITPF) on June 26, 2010, when an unidentified individual created the forum under the username Kacen.13 ITPF ran on Bizhat, an India-based web hosting service that offered a ready-to-use forum template.14 ITPF showed no activity until April 2011, when Alisher Mukhitdinov created a forum charter and discussion topics under the alias “Alexander Slavros.”j In September 2011, the administrators of ITPF created Iron March on a new domain, “ironmarch.org,” using Invision Power Services web forum software.15 The same month, the administrators migrated ITPF’s data to the new Iron March domain, and shortly afterward, the ITPF forum was shut down. The reasons why “Slavros” and the other administrators migrated ITPF to Iron March and closed down ITPF are not known in detail, although in direct messages, an Iron March moderator using the screen name “Woman in Black” alludes to unspecified technical issues.16

The majority of users on both ITPF and Iron March were English-speaking. ITPF had a section for regional topics, spanning nine European countries and the United States.17 Activity in the ITPF regional topics was heavily skewed toward anglophone countries. Russia, Norway, Germany, and Romania also showed significant activity in the five months during which ITPF was active.18 Individual user data is available for Iron March, where registrations from IP addresses located in Anglophone countries dominate.19 k In the Iron March database, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, and Brazil lead IP registrations from non-Anglophone countries.20 The Anglophone majority may be the result of the founders’ choice to use English as their common language and of the site’s English-language display and navigation settings.21

The constraints of the web forum format, in particular the public nature of discussion and the asynchronous and often slow response times, drove members who wanted to have private discussions to other platforms that were more suited to one-on-one conversation or discussion in small groups. The forum’s messaging system was limited: Users discussed moving to dedicated chat platforms because of unspecified constraints, probably a limit to the number of private messages that could be sent per day.22 In private messages, users exchanged email addresses, phone numbers, Facebook profiles, and contacts on messaging services like MSN messenger, Skype, and internet relay chat.23 Logs of conversations that moved off Iron March are, unfortunately, largely unavailable, but the move from public to private communication affords greater opportunity for members of a specialized group to form personal relationships with others who share the same values. Private message logs from Iron March show that members regularly contacted one another to initiate one-on-one communication after both friendly exchanges and disagreements on public threads.24 In some cases, these discussions stayed in Iron March’s message system, but often Iron March users quickly moved to other platforms offering instant messaging and voice chat functions.25

Messages exchanged by Iron March users allude to a wide range of small online groups orbiting Iron March, which developed as Iron March users formed personal connections. These communities provided opportunities for socialization to group norms and for defining the ideology and aesthetic of the group. Users describe the IronSkype Skype chatroom organized by the Iron March founder “Slavros”26 as extremely active and as the primary way that Iron March members built personal relationships.27 The Skype group had a text channel where users could chat whenever they were online, and organized video calls in which members talked over webcams.28 No records from IronSkype are available, but Iron March users regularly reference discussions that took place on IronSkype. Political debates were common, as were organized prank calls, some of which were archived for later listening.29 One user described it as “quite a bit more tight-knit than the forum” since new members had to be added by someone who was already in the Skype group, so anyone who wanted to be added would first have to cultivate personal relationships with other Iron March users.30

These small, interactive online spaces also fulfilled some of the functions of in-person spaces, offering private settings in which Iron March members could explore shared interests and form personal relationships without meeting offline.31 Private messages show that Iron March users engaged in a broad range of both recreational and ideological activities together in small online groups. One user reached out to another to ask him to join a small study group conducted via Facebook.32 Users in the United Kingdom and United States collaborated remotely on an online journal called ATTACK, organized and edited by future National Action co-founder Ben Raymond who went by the screen name “Benjamin Noyles” on Iron March.33 A group of users on the U.S. East Coast organized an online tabletop role-playing game group in which Iron March users played Dungeons & Dragons and a Star Wars game together.34 Over time, a distinctive subculture developed out of both the public interactions on the Iron March forums and the private relationships formed in smaller Iron March-linked online spaces. These interactions laid the foundation for the Iron March network’s eventual transition to localized in-person activism, establishing the common subcultural identity necessary for local groups to cohere.

Image from recruiting material for Atomwaffen Fission, a Russian-speaking skull mask group

Offline Incubation
The formation of national- and local-level organizations that engage in real-world activism was the second step in the formation of the skull mask network. Offline activism was strongly encouraged by Iron March leadership, but members of the Iron March community appear to have been alienated from existing local neo-fascist organizations because of ideological differences, intra-movement conflict about tactics, and cultural differences between members of established neo-fascist organizations and young people steeped in internet-based subcultures.35 The lack of existing in-person groups that fit their culture and ideology drove members of Iron March’s geographically dispersed online community to create a new network of local, in-person groups. Over time, Iron March members began to seek out fellow Iron Marchers who lived nearby and with whom they could engage in offline activism, forming local groups networked together by their common origin on the Iron March forum.

Slavros created Iron March to fill a particular niche in the online neo-fascist ecosystem, which lacked a community for “21st century Fascists,” that is, a younger generation of adherents to Traditionalist neo-fascism.36 The Iron March community defined itself in opposition online forums such as Stormfrontl and to groups such as the British Nationalist Party, looking instead to define a new movement that embodied the ideology that had evolved on Iron March.37 Iron March members typically claimed to have loose familiarity with but no serious involvement in prior movements: They had gravitated toward Iron March because of an interest in Traditionalist fascist politics, and those who looked for in-person organizations to join were usually unable to find one that fit their values.38 In public posts and private messages, Iron March members expressed disdain for existing online forums such as Stormfront and for groups such as Nick Griffin’s British National Party (BNP) and American white nationalists in general, in whom the Iron March members diagnosed a fixation on race to the neglect of the political organization of a future fascist state.39 Various Iron March members also found the existing neo-fascist movement to be at best indifferent to young people. One member recounts joining the BNP at 16, only to find out that the youth front in which he had been hoping to participate did not really exist.40

In forum posts and in private messages, a number of Iron March members referred to failed attempts to start fascist organizations on their college campuses or in their hometowns before they joined.41 The incubation of local groups occurred in parallel with the formation of personal ties between Iron March members and the creation of informal online social spaces. From the beginning, Iron March members reached out to others who lived nearby, looking both for friendship and political alliances.42 Users regularly discussed aspirations to create in-person organizations ranging from militant cells to think tanks to social clubs.43 Meanwhile, both in the Iron March forum and in private Iron March messages, users tried to make contact with other members in the same geographic area.44 The forum moderators actively encouraged this by creating dedicated sub-forums for any country with enough active Iron March members interested in that country to sustain discussion.45

The new Iron March groups were already networked together because of their common origin on the forum, which continued to fulfill its prior role as a space in which ideology and aesthetic values were defined even as it also became the locus of collaboration between the new in-person groups. It is clear from the private message logs that the founders of National Action, Atomwaffen Division, Skydas (a Lithuanian group), and Antipodean Resistance were in regular contact with each other both on Iron March and on other online services.46 Members saw the groups as an extension of Iron March: By 2017, official Iron March materials created by the site administrators to promote groups founded by Iron March members divided the Iron March Global Fascist Fraternity into affiliated groups, directly created either by Iron March members or through Iron March-related activity, and supported groups with which Iron March members sympathized and which in some cases had membership overlap with Iron March.47

The Emergence of the Skull Mask Network
The first successful local group to emerge from Iron March was National Action in the United Kingdom, founded in 2013 by Ben Raymond and Alex Davies.48 m In the Iron March topic Raymond created to promote National Action, he and his co-founder rejected electoral politics and instead stated their aspirations to create a militant neo-fascist youth subculture.49 National Action took a two-pronged approach to recruitment, sending members to hand out flyers and canvass on university campuses while also reaching out to U.K.-based Iron March members through the Iron March private message system and through other Iron March-linked online spaces such as the Skype groups.50 National Action organized a range of spaces, including book groups, hiking groups, martial arts clubs, and survivalist trainings.51 Raymond made organizational decisions that suggest he may have been preparing from the beginning for clandestinization: National Action did not retain membership lists,52 and on Iron March, he discussed the need to keep “hotter stuff” anonymous,53 although it is unclear if this is in reference only to extreme propaganda or to other activities as well.

Encouraged by National Action’s success, Iron March users across the world began setting up their own local groups using the National Action model, but to the author’s knowledge during the period from 2011 to 2017 while Iron March was active, this occurred only where ideologically compatible groups did not already exist. In the few places where ideologically compatible groups already existed, Iron March members in search of in-person activism joined these groups instead. In Italy, Greece, and the Nordic countries, Iron March members found their way to preexisting neo-fascist groups such as CasaPound, Golden Dawn, and the Nordic Resistance Movement, respectively.54

Based on the experiences of the Iron March members who founded National Action, the Iron March leadership drew up activist manuals to assist other members who were interested in starting local in-person groups.55 The private message logs show that Iron March members coordinated directly with National Action activists in setting up Atomwaffen Division in the United States, Skydas in Lithuania, and Antipodean Resistance in Australia.56 The founders of these new groups received endorsements, advice on organizational matters, assistance with websites and donation drives, and even propaganda design from the Iron March moderators.57

Atomwaffen Division was officially announced on Iron March on October 12, 2015,58 by Brandon Russell, who went by the screen name “Odin” on Iron March.59 Russell claimed that Atomwaffen already had around 40 members at the time of the announcement.60 Iron March founder “Slavros” subsequently created a dedicated thread for Atomwaffen on Iron March,61 where much of Atomwaffen’s recruitment took place.62 Atomwaffen’s subsequent organization took place on Discord.63

Antipodean Resistance was first announced on Iron March on October 10, 2016, in a post that encouraged Iron March users in Australia to reach out to users “Xav” and “Kehlsteinhaus,” or to contact an email address associated with the new cell.64 Concurrent threads in the private message logs show that while Antipodean Resistance recruited from Iron March, day-to-day organizing took place on a dedicated Discord server.65 Subsequent outreach occurred on The Daily Stormer66 as well as on Twitter.67

The Order of Nine Angles and Terrorist Radicalization
Competition with existing groups in the broader neo-fascist movement drove the creation of local Iron March-affiliated groups, but this is not a sufficient explanation for why the Iron March social network produced the skull mask terrorist network rather than a non-violent activist network or militant street gangs. Most militant groups who engage in terrorism are originally socialized to violence in the course of other forms of violent conflict with the state or other activists, usually violent mass protest or guerrilla warfare.68 However, the majority of Iron March users had no background in militancy, and many were new to organized politics. The skull mask network’s transformation into a clandestine terrorist network coincided temporally with the introduction of the Order of Nine Angles (O9A) worldview into the groups’ ideological influences.

The O9A is a occultist currentn founded by David Myatt in the late 1960s in the United Kingdom.69 The O9A shares with other pagan neo-fascists a belief in a primordial spirituality that has been supplanted by the Abrahamic faiths.70 Its doctrines are apocalyptic, predicting a final confrontation between monotheistic “Magian” civilization and primordial “Faustian” European spirituality.71 The skull mask network groups are not religiously monolithic, and most accept members who are not O9A adherents, but O9A philosophy has had a strong influence on the culture of the network. The O9A texts emphasize solitary rituals72 and the sense of membership in a superhuman spiritual elite.73 The O9A texts do not make social or financial demands on new adherents.74 Psychological commitment is instead generated through secrecy and the challenging, sometimes criminal, nature of the initiatory and devotional rituals.75 Because the rituals are solitary and self-administered, they create a set of shared ‘transcendent’ experiences that enhance group cohesion without the need for members to be geographically close to each other. Its leaderless structure and self-administered initiations make the O9A worldview uniquely well-suited to spread through online social networks, while the ritual violence used in O9A religious ceremonies contributed to the habituation of individual skull mask network members to violence.

It remains unclear exactly how and when the Iron March community was introduced to O9A ideology and devotional practice. Most likely, it was through the influence of Ryan Fleming, a longtime O9A adherent who has written several O9A texts under the pseudonym A. A. Morain76 and was known as “Atlas” on Iron March. He subsequently went on to become a member of National Action, for whom he organized survivalist training. In early 2021, Fleming was jailed for unsupervised contact with children. He had previously been convicted of the sexual abuse of children.77 Fleming was responsible for the first mention of O9A on Iron March, in a private message dated May 9, 2015.78 In a subsequent message dated October 25, 2015, he offered to put another user in contact with Tempel ov Blood, an American O9A-affiliated group based in South Carolina.79 Fleming and Iron March founder “Slavros” subsequently came into conflict over the growing popularity of O9A amongst Iron March members involved in local skull mask network groups because Slavros considered O9A practices to be “degenerate.”80 On Iron March, interest in O9A appears to have remained marginal until the end of 2016 or the beginning of 2017.81

Several O9A-affiliated groups had become influential in the skull mask network by the time Iron March went offline in 2017. It is difficult to determine the size of these groups, but most appear to be small, with perhaps dozens of members at most.82 Atomwaffen Division was closely associated with the U.S.-based O9A affiliate Tempel ov Blood. National Action was linked to the U.K. O9A affiliate Drakon Covenant. Antipodean Resistance in Australia was involved83 with Kerry Bolton’s Black Order84 and the Temple of THEM.85 Finally, the Nordic Resistance Movement also has a long history with O9A that predates its ties to Iron March. Haakon Forwald, head of the Norwegian branch from 2010 to 2019,86 was a devotee of a Scandinavian O9A current87 variously known as the Misanthropic Luciferian Order, the Temple of Black Light, and Current 218.88 The magazine of the Finnish branch of the Nordic Resistance Movement featured articles on O9A spiritual practices and on the work of Kerry Bolton of the Black Order.89

Despite O9A’s emphasis on individual development, in practice O9A adherents find each other through blogs and social media, and form relationships on the basis of common values and experiences, just as members of other subcultures do. The O9A’s diffusion through online communities is further facilitated by its permissiveness toward innovation and variation.90 Presumably to ensure that the O9A remains decentralized, no individual has publicly claimed authorship of the early O9A texts. The texts stress that the validity of the “O9A tradition” comes not from its status as a tradition, but from its ability to produce certain effects on its devotees.91 Someone interested in O9A but already committed to another esoteric religious tradition like Norse paganism or a Vedic religion need not abandon their existing practice to explore O9A: Small publishers run by O9A practitioners have brought out books and zines that discuss borrowing ritual practices from other religions as disparate as Vajrayana Buddhism, Shaivite Hinduism, Norse paganism, and Greek Gnosticism, while O9A artists’ work often draws on similar sources.92 The result of this flexibility is the multiplication of new texts and groups that draw on the O9A corpus but display considerable variation in aesthetics and ritual techniques, accelerating the diffusion of the ideas and practices through online neo-fascist spaces.

The O9A’s devotional and initiatory practices involve violence against both the self and other initiates.93 These practices closely resemble violent spiritual practices employed by Aum Shinrikyo94 and Ugandan militant groups95 to create a sense of shared complicity in violence and isolation from the outside world. Early O9A texts recommend methods of generating altered mental states through extreme fasting, physical exertion, and sensory deprivation.96 Tempel ov Blood, the American O9A affiliate based in South Carolina, produced new texts and ritual formulas, all of which included more violence than the original O9A texts. Tempel ov Blood texts refer explicitly to Aum Shinrikyo as an example to be emulated.97 Aum Shinrikyo’s rituals involved considerable physical and psychological violence: Some initiates were confined in small cells and dosed with drugs,98 and others were hung upside down for a prolonged period, then doused in extremely cold water.99 Tempel ov Blood’s solitary devotional practice has involved ritualized self-harm in the form of self-flagellation and bloodletting.100 Photos posted to Tempel ov Blood-affiliated blogs and social media accounts show adherents cutting themselves and smearing their blood on devotional texts and ritual objects.101 In settings where multiple Tempel ov Blood adherents have been able to gather, devotional practices have included intra-group ritual violence.102 Tempel ov Blood visual propaganda, which spread across the skull mask network through Atomwaffen Division and the Drakon Covenant, has shown members inflicting various forms of violence, including waterboarding, on each other in a ritualized setting.103

Both the early O9A texts and the more recent material from Tempel ov Blood presented violence against outsiders as aspirational for initiates. The early texts encouraged “human sacrifice” in the form of the murder of individuals selected either on the basis of purported character defects—early O9A texts gave as an example a juvenile delinquent who assaults and robs an elderly WWI veteran104—or because their death is seen as contributing to the decadence and collapse of the “Magian” system. The Tempel ov Blood texts explicitly encourage terrorism and assassination rather than ordinary crime, both as a devotional practice and as a means of achieving the temporal goals of the O9A.105

It is unknown whether skull mask network members have carried out attacks based on the instructions in the early O9A texts, although it is possible that the January 2018 murder of Blaze Bernstein allegedly by Atomwaffen Division member Sam Woodward was one such crime. The murder took place after a change in the Atomwaffen Division’s leadership: James Cameron Denton took over the group after Brandon Russell’s arrest in 2017,106 and had steered the group toward closer involvement with the O9A. Atomwaffen Division was already starting to lose membership as those uncomfortable with O9A left the organization,107 and the process accelerated after the details of the murder became public.108 The O9A texts on the murder of “unworthy” individuals require that the would-be murderer observe their target over time and present them secret “tests” to determine their suitability.109 The crime is supposed to remain secret, either covered up or made to appear random.110 Woodward’s actions bear close resemblance to these instructions: He allegedly cultivated a relationship with Bernstein under false pretenses before the murder, and attempted to hide Bernstein’s body rather than publicize the crime as an act of terrorism.111 Prosecutors allege that Woodward selected Bernstein as a victim because Bernstein was gay and Jewish.112 Further information will likely emerge in the course of Woodward’s trial, set for March 2022.113

Skull Mask Terror
The Iron March forum was active from 2011 until November 2017, when it was suddenly taken offline. Three premeditated violent plots conclusively linked to Iron March were disrupted during the period from 2011 to 2017 while the forum was online. The majority of skull mask-linked terrorist activity has occurred after the disappearance of Iron March. The administrators’ motives for taking the site offline are unknown. Slavros provided no explanation for his actions when he took down Iron March in November 2017, and he has not been heard from in any public forum since.114 The majority of Iron March-linked terrorist activity has been driven by skull mask network groups committed to violence, not merely by radicalized individuals within the network. Skull mask network members involved in terrorist plots were often members of local cells. Skull mask network members who planned attacks as individuals were still in close contact with groups that reinforced their commitment to violence even if, for security reasons, the group was not made aware of the details of the plot.

The first plot linked to Iron March was disrupted in 2015 when Iron March member Lindsay Souvannarath and an accomplice were arrested on their way to carry out a mass shooting at a shopping mall in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Souvannarath was allegedly in an online romantic relationship with Alexander Slavros at the time of her arrest.115 Souvannarath pled guilty and was sentenced to life in prison in 2018.116 Despite Souvannarath’s clear ties to neo-fascist extremist movements, Canadian authorities did not charge the plotters with terrorism, with then Federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay stating that “the attack does not appear to have been culturally motivated, therefore not linked to terrorism.”117 However, Souvannarath has said she intended to kill people she considered racially inferior and that she wanted to spread fear in mainstream society, but her accomplice was not an Iron March member and appears not to have shared Souvannarath’s ideological motivations.118 Souvannarath has since written several letters to James Mason, a neo-Nazi author whose book Siege has been an important influence on Atomwaffen Division.119

In May 2017, Atomwaffen Division founder Devon Arthurs allegedly shot Jeremy Himmelman and Andrew Oneschuk during a dispute over Arthurs’ recent conversion to salafi Islam.120 Arthurs and his Atomwaffen Division co-founder Brandon Russell were living in Tampa Palms, Florida, in a shared apartment with Himmelman and Oneschuk at the time of the murders.121 Russell, a member of the Florida National Guard, had returned from weekend training to find Himmelman and Oneschuk shot dead.122 Tampa police had already arrested Arthurs and let Russell go, believing him to be uninvolved in the crime.123 Before he was released, Russell had warned police that there were supplies for model rocketry stored in the apartment.124 Arthurs, however, told detectives that Russell was collecting bomb-making materials and had been planning to blow up power lines and government buildings.125 During a search of the garage, the FBI found a cooler full of HMTD, explosives precursors, and other bomb-making supplies belonging to Russell.126 Russell was apprehended the following morning with two rifles he had purchased after his release.127 Russell has since been convicted on explosives charges. Arthurs, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and autism, has been found to be incompetent to stand trial.128

A National Action member was responsible for the third and last plot linked to Iron March before the site went offline. In fall 2017, Jack Renshaw of National Action was arrested in connection with a plot hatched in July of the same year to assassinate Member of Parliament Rosie Cooper.129 Renshaw told prosecutors his plot was inspired by the murder of Jo Cox by far-right extremist Thomas Mair in 2016 and that he targeted her because of her pro-immigration views.130 Renshaw pleaded guilty and was convicted in 2019.131

Since Iron March went offline, the network’s online propaganda infrastructure has migrated to Telegram, an encrypted messaging app favored by the Islamic State and other jihadi groups. Deprived of Iron March as a centralized platform, the skull mask network turned to encrypted messaging services to collaborate on propaganda design, disinformation campaigns, weapons manufacture, and attacks. It remains unclear whether strategy is coordinated among network-level leaders or if all decisions are left to the discretion of local cells.

New skull mask network nodes have been founded since the end of the Iron March forum. The post-Iron March skull mask network is much more fluid, with groups forming and dissipating quickly in response to law enforcement actions.132 As Alex Newhouse has outlined in this publication, the post-Iron March skull mask network is not strongly hierarchical: Individual groups have internal hierarchies, but network-level cohesion is maintained through shared aesthetic and ideological commitments and through overlaps in membership rather than through top-down organization.133 The Base and Feuerkrieg Division were the largest and most active nodes to emerge after the disappearance of Iron March.

The Base
The Base was founded in late 2018 by Rinaldo Nazzaro, an American living in Russia.134 The Base had members across the United States, organized into two- or three-person local cells.135 The group also recruited in Canada and Australia.136 The group purchased land outside Republic, Washington, where they intended to conduct weapons and survivalist training.137 Some members of The Base were O9A adherents, and the group’s propaganda channels sometimes featured O9A imagery.138 One in-person meeting in Georgia featured a Norse-themed ritual sacrifice of a stolen ram and the consumption of LSD.139 In January 2020, the three members of The Base who formed the group’s Maryland cell were arrested on their way allegedly to stage a mass shooting at a gun rights rally in Richmond, Virginia.140 They allegedly hoped to create chaos and generate more violence by setting off a shootout between Virginia law enforcement and the heavily armed gun rights activists.141 The same week, the three members of the Georgia cell were arrested over an alleged plot to assassinate a local couple that was involved in anti-fascist activism.142

Feuerkrieg Division
Feuerkrieg Division was founded in late 2018 by a then 13-year-old Estonian boy known only by his online alias, “Commander.”143 Feuerkrieg Division propaganda sometimes included O9A iconography, and several members were O9A adherents.144 Feuerkrieg Division shared members with The Base and with Atomwaffen, and when Commander stepped down as the leader of Feuerkrieg Division in 2020 after action by Estonian law enforcement, Atomwaffen Division member Taylor Parker-Dipeppe took over leadership of the group.145 Members of Feuerkrieg Division were responsible for numerous terrorist plots in Europe and the United States. A man linked to the Feuerkrieg Division, Jarrett William Smith, who at the time was a U.S. soldier, was arrested in September 2019 and has pleaded guilty to charges of distributing bomb-making materials.146 Smith was an adherent of Current 218, the Scandinavian O9A affiliate to which Haakon Forwald of the Nordic Resistance Movement also belonged.147 Smith also had ties to the Azov Battalion, a neo-fascist Ukrainian paramilitary group.148 In August 2019, Conor Climo of Feuerkrieg Division was arrested after allegedly telling an undercover FBI agent that he planned to bomb a synagogue or a gay bar in Las Vegas.149 Climo has pleaded guilty to weapons charges.150 In September 2019, a 16-year-old British member of Feuerkrieg Division was arrested in connection with a plot to firebomb synagogues.151 Court documents allege that this boy was involved in neo-Nazi Satanism but do not mention O9A by name.152

Smaller skull mask groups have also planned terror attacks and, in one case, have attempted to create cross-ideological coordination with jihadis. Ethan Melzer,o a private in the U.S. Army, was arrested in Italy in summer 2020 for his alleged involvement in a plot to attack an overseas U.S. military base.153 Prosecutors allege that Melzer was affiliated with O9A and with a small skull mask group called Rapewaffen, about which little is known.154 His O9A associates claim to have been in contact with al-Qa`ida operatives who were meant to assist with the attack.155

Iron March served as the incubator in which the ideologies, aesthetics, and interpersonal bonds necessary to sustain the skull mask network developed. Frustrated at the lack of compatible local groups to join, Iron March users created their own local organizations that were networked from the beginning by their common origin on the forums. Later, the introduction of O9A rituals provided a convenient method for habituating members to violence and creating a shared sense of commitment to militancy. Together with constant communication among members, these factors allowed the network to survive the loss of Iron March as an organizing platform and the subsequent transition to a more diffuse mode of organizing.

The survival since 2017 of the skull mask network, despite the loss of Iron March as an organizing platform, shows that takedowns of public, centralized, online organizing platforms are not necessarily enough to disrupt violent extremist networks if members have already formed strong social connections that can survive the migration to other communication services. Even after a group loses its centralized platform and disperses across small groups on encrypted messaging services, the social connections necessary to repair the network after de-platforming can persist as long as enough individuals are able to maintain membership in multiple nodes in the network. Disrupting the skull mask network will depend on breaking down the social bonds that connect members at the individual level, not merely on closing down centralized platforms.

Because of its origin as a geographically dispersed online community, the post-Iron March skull mask network is not dependent for survival on any one node, however large or prolific. The skull mask network began online and produced local organizations only after members had already developed a collective identity based on their online associations. The local groups have proved transient, but the skull mask network’s collective identity persists, allowing the network to evolve in response to external pressure from law enforcement. It remains to be seen whether, over time, the free movement of individual members between skull mask groups will be enough to sustain the network or whether pressure from law enforcement and the lack of a centralized online organizing platform will lead to fragmentation and siloing as skull mask groups close themselves off to forestall infiltration and prosecution.     CTC

H.E. Upchurch is a fellow at the Accelerationism Research Consortium. She is a researcher of far-right extremism, specializing in neo-fascist occultism.

© 2021 H.E. Upchurch

Substantive Notes
[a] The Nordic Resistance Movement is a neo-fascist organization with chapters in Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Its members have been involved in gang assaults and violent protests. It is closely entwined with the black metal music subculture. See Tore Bjørgo and Jacob Aasland Ravndal, “Why the Nordic Resistance Movement Restrains Its Use of Violence,” Perspectives on Terrorism 14:6 (2020): pp. 37-48; Daniel Sallamaa and Tommi Kotonen, “The Case against the Nordic Resistance Movement in Finland: an Overview and Some Explanations,” C-REX (Center for Research on Extremism), November 2, 2020; Marko Hietikko Yle, “Näin Toimii Suomen Vastarintaliike,” Yle Uutiset, May 15, 2016; Kaisu Jansson, Riku Roslund, and Juha Rissanen, “Ylen Selvitys Paljastaa: Jopa Kahdella Kolmesta Natsijärjestö PVL:n Ja Soldiers of Odinin Näkyvimmistä Suomalaisjäsenistä on Rikostaustaa,” Yle Uutiset, December 3, 2018; and Tzvi Joffre, “Neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement Targets Jews on Yom Kippur,” Jerusalem Post, September 20, 2020.

[b] CasaPound is a militant Italian neo-fascist organization that follows the political philosophy of Julius Evola. CasaPound activists participate in violent protests more frequently than in targeted violence. See Caterina Froio, Pietro Castelli Gattinara, Giorgia Bulli, and Matteo Albanese, CasaPound Italia: Contemporary Extreme-Right Politics (London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2020); Pietro Castelli Gattinara, Caterina Froio, and Matteo Albanese, “The appeal of neo-fascism in times of crisis: The experience of CasaPound Italia,” Fascism: Journal of Comparative Fascist Studies 2:2 (2013): pp. 234-258; and Tobias Jones, “The Fascist Movement that Has Brought Mussolini Back to the Mainstream,” Guardian, February 22, 2018.

[c] Hermetic occultism draws inspiration from the Corpus Hermeticum, a collection of Greek magical treatises attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, and encompasses Western alchemy, Renaissance magic, and their modern derivatives. For further reading, see Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, The Western Esoteric Traditions: A Historical Introduction (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008).

[d] The Traditionalist concept of the Kali Yuga is derived from an idiosyncratic interpretation of the Hindu doctrine of the cycle of the four ages. In the first age, the Satya Yuga, humanity lives in harmony with the divine, but over the course of the rest of the cycle, human civilization is corrupted until in the last age, the Kali Yuga, humanity is completely corrupt and no longer has any contact with the gods. The Kali Yuga comes to an end in a cataclysm that wipes the slate clean and restores the harmonious relationship between humanity and the divine. In most Hindu philosophies, each age in the cycle is believed to be hundreds of thousands of years long. Traditionalists posit that they are much shorter, at most a few thousand years each. For further information, see Benjamin Teitelbaum, War for Eternity (London: Penguin Books, 2020).

[e] The Order was a neo-Nazi organization active in the United States from 1983 to 1984. The group was responsible for the murder of Alan Berg and for multiple armed robberies. See Kathleen Belew, Bring the war home: the white power movement and paramilitary America (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2019).

[f] The Black Brigades was a loose confederation of militant neo-fascist groups active in post-war Italy. They were responsible for numerous terrorist acts including bombings and assassinations. See Anna Cento Bull, Italian Neofascism: the Strategy of Tension and the Politics of Nonreconciliation (New York: Berghahn Books, 2012); Donatella Della Porta, Clandestine Political Violence (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013); and Leonard Weinberg and William Lee Eubank, “Neo-Fascist and Far Left Terrorists in Italy: Some Biographical Observations,” British Journal of Political Science 18:4 (1988): pp. 531-549.

[g] Despite the existence of web forums like Stormfront, earlier neo-fascist and white power groups in the United States established inter-group collaboration primarily through face-to-face meetings at national conferences and at white power music events. See Robert Futrell and Pete Simi, “Free Spaces, Collective Identity, and the Persistence of U.S. White Power Activism,” Social Problems 51:1 (2004): pp. 16-42.

[h] 4chan is a popular image board website where all users post anonymously by default. At the time of the creation of Iron March, political discussion on 4chan was not closely moderated. For a brief history of far-right activism on 4chan, see Jacob Siegel, “Dylann Roof, 4chan, and the New Online Racism,” Daily Beast, June 29, 2015.

[i] Kiwifarms is an internet forum that bills itself as a community “dedicated to discussing eccentric people who voluntarily make fools of themselves.” Stalking and online harassment campaigns routinely originate on the site. For further information, see Margaret Pless, “Kiwi Farms, the Web’s Biggest Community of Stalkers,” Intelligencer, July 19, 2016, and “Christchurch Mosque Shootings: Website Kiwi Farms Refuses to Surrender Data Linked to Accused,” NZ Herald, March 18, 2019.

[j] The BBC’s Russian service identified Slavros as Alisher Mukhitdinov in January 2020. Little is known about Mukhitdinov’s activities either before or after the creation of Iron March. The author will refer to him throughout as Slavros because most primary and secondary sources do so. Andrey Soshnikov, “[“Half Russian”: the story of Muscovite Alisher Mukhitdinov and his global fascist network],” BBC, January 30, 2020.

[k] Individual user data is incomplete as banned and deleted accounts were wiped from the database so that the data only reflects the userbase when it was downloaded in late 2017. The user registry shows that 15,218 user accounts existed at some point in time, but of these, only 1,207 are represented in the account database. Sign-up did not require users to give their location: Only the IP address from which users registered their accounts was logged. However, if users created accounts from behind a VPN or other proxy, their IP address may not have reflected their true location. A few IPs from the Middle East and Asia-Pacific appear in the database, but it is unclear if these reflect member locations or proxy exit nodes. For all these reasons, the Iron March core members database provides a very imperfect picture of the geographical distribution of the site’s users, but it is also the only data available.

[l] Stormfront is a neo-Nazi web forum that has been in operation since 1995. See “Stormfront,” Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed December 6, 2021, and Kevin C. Thompson, “Watching the Stormfront: White Nationalists and the Building of Community in Cyberspace,” Social Analysis: The International Journal of Social and Cultural Practice 45:1 (2001): pp. 32-52.

[m] National Action was proscribed as a terrorist organization in 2016 after expressing support for the murder of Member of Parliament Jo Cox. Raymond was convicted in 2021 of being a member of National Action and sentenced to eight years in prison. Davies has been charged with membership in National Action and is to stand trial in 2022. Jessica Elgot, “Neo-Nazi Group National Action Banned by UK Home Secretary,” Guardian, December 12, 2016; “National Action: Ben Raymond Jailed for Eight Years,” BBC, December 3, 2021; “National Action: Neo-Nazi Group Co-Founder to Stand Trial,” BBC, June 25, 2021.

[n] The O9A is often erroneously described as “Nazi satanism” based on a superficial reading of some of the texts used in the first level of initiation. A detailed examination of the history and ideology of the O9A is beyond this article’s scope, but its ideological roots lie with Aryanist neo-pagan currents in interwar Germany.

[o] In June 2020, Melzer was indicted for terrorism offenses. The case is ongoing. “U.S. Army Soldier Charged with Terrorism Offenses for Planning Deadly Ambush on Service Members in His Unit,” U.S. Department of Justice, June 22, 2020.

[1] See Alex Newhouse, “The Threat Is the Network: The Multi-Node Structure of Neo-Fascist Accelerationism,” CTC Sentinel 14:5 (2021).

[2] Ibid.

[3] See “Atomwaffen and the SIEGE parallax: how one neo-Nazi’s life’s work is fueling a younger generation,” Hatewatch, Southern Poverty Law Center, February 22, 2018; James Poulter, “The Obscure Neo-Nazi Forum Linked to a Wave of Terror,” Vice, March 12, 2018; Graham Macklin, “‘Only Bullets Will Stop Us!’ – The Banning of National Action in Britain,” Perspectives on Terrorism 12:6 (2018): pp. 104-122; “Jack Renshaw Admits Planning to Murder MP Rosie Cooper,” BBC, June 12, 2018; “Five Army Men Held over Alleged Membership of Banned UK Neo-Nazi Group,” Guardian, September 5, 2017; “Met Police Officer Charged with Belonging to Far-Right Terror Group,” Guardian, July 9, 2020.

[4] See A.C. Thompson, Ali Winston, and Jake Hanrahan, “Inside Atomwaffen As It Celebrates a Member for Allegedly Killing a Gay Jewish College Student,” ProPublica, February 23, 2018; Kyle Swenson, “Suspects in Five Killings Reportedly Linked to Macabre Neo-Nazi Group,” Washington Post, April 29, 2019; Mack Lamoureux and Ben Makuch, “Atomwaffen, an American Neo-Nazi Terror Group, Is in Canada,” Vice, June 19, 2018; A.C. Thompson, “An Atomwaffen Member Sketched a Map to Take the Neo-Nazis Down. What Path Officials Took Is a Mystery,” ProPublica, November 20, 2018.

[5] See Julie Nathan, “Antipodean Resistance: The Rise and Goals of Australia’s New Nazis,” ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), April 20, 2018.

[6] For more on Traditionalism and its relationship to fascism, see Mark J. Sedgwick, Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011) and Benjamin Teitelbaum, War for Eternity (London: Penguin Books, 2020).

[7] Alexander Slavros, “Next Leap,” Iron March, 2015, p. 115.

[8] “Massive White Supremacist Message Board Leak: How to Access and Interpret the Data,” Bellingcat, November 6, 2019.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Author’s analysis of Iron March (IM) SQL leak data.

[12] Author’s analysis of IM SQL leak data.

[13] ITPF Forum archive. As of the last Internet Archive capture on June 22, 2012, no new content had been posted to ITPF since September 7, 2011.

[14] ITPF Forum archive.

[15] Iron March forum archives, the Internet Archive.

[16] IM SQL leak, private message log: 1833.

[17] Author’s analysis of ITPF Forum archive data. The ITPF index page, available on the Internet Archive, shows post counts for each regional group, allowing a rough estimate of number of posts by country.

[18] Author’s analysis of ITPF Forum archive data.

[19] Author’s analysis of IM SQL leak data.

[20] Author’s analysis of IM SQL leak data.

[21] Author’s analysis of IM SQL leak data.

[22] IM SQL leak, private message log: 268, 3676, 3985, 4113, 4805.

[23] Author’s analysis of IM SQL leak data.

[24] Author’s analysis of IM SQL leak data.

[25] Author’s analysis of IM SQL leak data.

[26] IM SQL leak, private message log: 1460.

[27] IM SQL leak, private message log: 3364, 5781, 7000.

[28] IM SQL leak, private message log: 7308, 7309.

[29] IM SQL leak, private message log: 3005, 5781.

[30] IM SQL leak, private message log: 17864.

[31] See Robert Futrell and Pete Simi, “Free Spaces, Collective Identity, and the Persistence of U.S. White Power Activism,” Social Problems 51:1 (2004).

[32] IM SQL leak, private message logs: 229.

[33] IM SQL leak, private message logs: 251, 405, 406.

[34] IM SQL leak, private message logs: 4802.

[35] Author’s analysis of IM SQL leak data.

[36] See IM SQL leaks, topic index: 84598; Slavros, “Next Leap;” and Alexander Slavros, “A Squire’s Trial,” Iron March, 2015.

[37] Author’s analysis of IM SQL leak data.

[38] Author’s analysis of IM SQL leak data.

[39] Author’s analysis of IM SQL leak data.

[40] IM SQL leaks, topic index: 81862.

[41] Author’s analysis of IM SQL leak data.

[42] Author’s analysis of IM SQL leak data.

[43] Author’s analysis of IM SQL leak data.

[44] Author’s analysis of Iron March SQL leak data.

[45] Author’s analysis of Iron March SQL leak data.

[46] IM SQL leak, private message logs: 15250, 17202, 17379, 17996, 17346-17401, 17544, 17996, 18063, 18123, 18538, 18950, 23140, 23141, 23146.

[47] Poulter.

[48] Macklin; “Briefing: National Action,” Hope Not Hate; Alexander Reid Ross, Emmi Bevensee, and ZC, “Transnational White Terror: Exposing Atomwaffen And The Iron March Networks,” Bellingcat, December 19, 2019.

[49] IM SQL leak, topic index: 109768, 116367.

[50] Author’s analysis of IM SQL leak data.

[51] See Macklin. Also attested in IM topic index and private message logs.

[52] IM SQL leak, private message logs: 6864.

[53] IM SQL leak, topic index: 126099.

[54] Author’s analysis of IM SQL leak data.

[55] IM SQL leak, private message logs: 19233. The author has been unable to find copies of these manuals.

[56] IM SQL leak, private message logs: 14602, 17202, 17455, 17499, 17996. See also citation 46.

[57] IM SQL leak, private message logs: 15250, 17202, 17379, 17996, 17346-17401, 17544, 17996, 18063, 18123, 18538, 18950, 23140, 23141, 23146.

[58] IM SQL leak, topic index: 5647.

[59] Howard Altman, “How Did Florida National Guard Miss Soldier’s Neo-Nazi Leanings?” Tampa Bay Times, May 24, 2017.

[60] IM SQL leak, topic index: 5647.

[61] IM SQL leak, topic index: 5647.

[62] Thompson, Winston, and Hanrahan.

[63] Ibid.

[64] IM SQL leak, topic index: 7036.

[65] IM SQL leak, private message logs: 4963, 4970.

[66] “Stormer Interview: Antipodean Resistance,” Daily Stormer, February 21, 2017.

[67] IM SQL leak, topic index: 7036.

[68] See Donatella Della Porta, Clandestine Political Violence (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).

[69] Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and the Politics of Identity (New York: New York University Press, 2003), p. 216.

[70] O9A texts. Titles withheld for public safety reasons.

[71] These terms are derived from the work of Oswald Spengler, a 20th century German conservative philosopher who posited a theory of civilizations as organisms. See Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West [Der Untergang des Abendlandes, Gekurtze Ausgabe] (Munich: C.H. Beck’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1959).

[72] Author’s analysis of O9A texts and other primary documents.

[73] Author’s analysis of O9A texts and other primary documents. See also George Sieg, “Angular Momentum: From Traditional to Progressive Satanism in the Order of Nine Angles,” International Journal for the Study of New Religions 4:2 (2014): pp. 251-282.

[74] Author’s analysis of O9A texts and other primary documents.

[75] Author’s analysis of O9A texts and other primary documents. See also Sieg.

[76] Dylan Miller, “Black Sky Thinking: Beyond The Iron Gates: How Nazi-Satanists Infiltrated the UK Underground,” Quietus, November 27, 2018.

[77] IM SQL leak, private message log, 9174; Daniel De Simone, “Ryan Fleming: Neo-Nazi paedophile jailed for messaging children,” BBC, February 12, 2021.

[78] IM SQL leak, private message log: 11923.

[79] IM SQL leak, private message log: 15478.

[80] IM SQL leak, topic index: 4083. Most of this conflict seems to have gone on in Skype groups and other private communications to which the author does not have access.

[81] Author’s analysis of IM SQL leak data.

[82] Based on review of primary source texts and on observation of O9A groups on social media.

[83] Based on author’s review of primary documents.

[84] For more on the history of the Black Order, see Goodrick-Clarke, Black Sun, pp. 227-228.

[85] For more on the history of the Temple of THEM, see Sieg.

[86] Tore Bjørgo and Jacob Aasland Ravndal, “Why the Nordic Resistance Movement Restrains Its Use of Violence,” Perspectives on Terrorism 14:6 (2020).

[87] Statement by Swedish black metal band Dissection on the departure of then-bassist Haakon Forwald, reprinted in Blabbermouth. “Dissection Part Ways With Bassist Haakon Forwald,” Blabbermouth, November 13, 2005.

[88] Jon Kristiansen, “An Interview with the Swedish Organisation MLO,” Slayer Magazine, April 23, 2001.

[89] Based on author’s review of primary documents.

[90] O9A text. Title withheld for public safety reasons.

[91] O9A text. Title withheld for public safety reasons.

[92] Author’s analysis of primary documents.

[93] Author’s analysis of O9A texts and other primary documents associated with O9A offshoots.

[94] For a thorough examination of the role of religious asceticism in Aum Shinrikyo’s intra-group violence and eventual turn toward terrorism, see Robert Jay Lifton, Destroying the World to Save It: Aum Shinrikyo, Apocalyptic Violence, and the New Global Terrorism (New York: Henry Holt, 2000). The analyst Sarah Hightower has helpful insights on the resemblance to Aum Shinrikyo practices.

[95] For background on ritual violence in the conflict in Uganda, see Heike Behrend, Alice Lakwena and the Holy Spirits: War in Northern Uganda, 1985–97 (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 1999). For the use of violent spiritual practices in the indoctrination of child soldiers, see Bernd Beber and Christopher Blattman, “The Logic of Child Soldiering and Coercion,” International Organization 67:1 (2013): pp. 65-104.

[96] O9A texts. Titles withheld for public safety reasons.

[97] ToB texts. Titles withheld for public safety reasons.

[98] Lifton, p. 55.

[99] Ibid., p. 37.

[100] O9A texts. Titles withheld for public safety reasons.

[101] Author’s analysis of materials from ToB-affiliated social media accounts.

[102] Author’s analysis of materials from ToB-affiliated social media accounts.

[103] Author’s analysis of materials from ToB-affiliated social media accounts.

[104] O9A texts. Titles withheld for public safety reasons.

[105] ToB texts. Titles withheld for public safety reasons.

[106] Thompson, Hanrahan, and Winston.

[107] Audio recording of Atomwaffen Division members debating O9A, posted to YouTube and the Internet Archive by disaffected former members.

[108] Kelly Weill, “Satanism Drama Is Tearing Apart the Murderous Neo-Nazi Group Atomwaffen,” Daily Beast, March 21, 2018.

[109] O9A texts. Titles withheld for public safety reasons.

[110] O9A texts. Titles withheld for public safety reasons.

[111] Jonathan Krohn, “How a Gay Teen, an Internet Nazi, and a Late-Night Rendezvous Turned to Tragedy,” Mother Jones, March/April 2019.

[112] “Blaze Bernstein Stabbed at Least 20 Times in Possible Act of Rage,” Orange County Register, January 16, 2018.

[113] Emily Rasmussen and Sean Emery, “Trial for man accused of killing Blaze Bernstein, burying body in Lake Forest, set for March,” Orange County Register, November 10, 2021.

[114] Jason Wilson, “Leak from neo-Nazi site could identify hundreds of extremists worldwide,” Guardian, November 7, 2019.

[115] Michael Edison Hayden, “Mysterious Neo-Nazi Advocated Terrorism for Six Years Before Disappearance,” Southern Poverty Law Center, May 21, 2019.

[116] Brett Bundale, “American woman sentenced to life in prison for Halifax mall-shooting plot,” Globe and Mail, April 20, 2018.

[117] “Alleged Halifax shooting plotters ‘were prepared to wreak havoc and mayhem,’” CBC News, February 14, 2015.

[118] R. v. Souvannarath, 2018 NSSC 96. See Agreed Statement of Facts and sentencing documents.

[119] Mack Lamoureux and Ben Makuch, “Mass Shooting Plotter Is Allegedly Sending Prison Letters to Influential Neo-Nazi and Is Calling for Violence,” Vice, May 26, 2021.

[120] Thompson, “An Atomwaffen Member Sketched a Map to Take the Neo-Nazis Down. What Path Officials Took Is a Mystery.”

[121] “Neo-Nazi Leader Sentenced to Five Years in Federal Prison for Explosives Charges,” U.S. Department of Justice, January 9, 2018.

[122] Tim Elfrink, “Neo-Nazi National Guardsman Busted in Florida Keys Had ‘Radioactive Material,’ Bombs,” Miami New Times, May 23, 2017.

[123] Ibid.

[124] Ibid.; Thompson, “An Atomwaffen Member Sketched a Map to Take the Neo-Nazis Down. What Path Officials Took Is a Mystery.”

[125] Thompson, “An Atomwaffen Member Sketched a Map to Take the Neo-Nazis Down. What Path Officials Took Is a Mystery.”

[126] “Neo-Nazi Leader Sentenced to Five Years in Federal Prison for Explosives Charges;” Elfrink.

[127] “Neo-Nazi Leader Sentenced to Five Years in Federal Prison for Explosives Charges.”

[128] Niraj Chokshi, “Neo-Nazi Leader in Florida Sentenced to 5 Years Over Homemade Explosives,” New York Times, January 10, 2018; Dan Sullivan, “One-time neo-Nazi deemed unfit for trial in Tampa murders,” Tampa Bay Times, May 18, 2020.

[129] Ed Caesar, “The Undercover Fascist,” New Yorker, May 20, 2019.

[130] Nadia Khomami, “Alleged neo-Nazi admits plotting murder of MP Rosie Cooper,” Guardian, June 12, 2018. For more on the murder of Jo Cox, see Ian Cobain, Nazia Parveen, and Matthew Taylor, “The slow-burning hatred that led Thomas Mair to murder Jo Cox,” Guardian, November 23, 2016.

[131] “Jack Renshaw: MP death plot neo-Nazi jailed for life,” BBC, May 17, 2019.

[132] For more, see Newhouse.

[133] Ibid.

[134] Jason Wilson, “Revealed: the true identity of the leader of an American neo-Nazi terror group,” Guardian, January 23, 2020; Daniel De Simone, Andrei Soshnikov, and Ali Winston, “Neo-Nazi Rinaldo Nazzaro running US militant group The Base from Russia,” BBC, January 24, 2020.

[135] Ryan Thorpe, “Homegrown hate,” Winnipeg Free Press, August 16, 2019; Jason Wilson, “Prepping for a race war: documents reveal inner workings of neo-Nazi group,” Guardian, January 25, 2020.

[136] Alex Mann and Kevin Nguyen, “The Base tapes,” ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), March 25, 2021.

[137] Wilson, “Prepping for a race war.”

[138] Author’s analysis of Base primary source documents.

[139] Mack Lamoureux, Ben Makuch, and Zachary Kamel, “How One Man Built a Neo-Nazi Insurgency in Trump’s America,” Vice, October 7, 2020.

[140] Timothy Williams, Adam Goldman, and Neil MacFarquhar, “Virginia Capital on Edge as F.B.I. Arrests Suspected Neo-Nazis Before Gun Rally,” New York Times, January 16, 2020.

[141] Neil MacFarquhar and Adam Goldman, “A New Face of White Supremacy: Plots Expose Danger of the ‘Base,’” New York Times, January 22, 2020.

[142] Mack Lamoureux, “FBI Arrests Members of Neo-Nazi Cell Whose Plot to Murder Antifa Couple Was Foiled By a Bad Back,” Vice, January 17, 2020.

[143] Newhouse.

[144] Author’s analysis of Feuerkrieg Division media and chats. An archive of leaked messages from Feuerkrieg Division’s online organizing chats is available on Unicorn Riot’s website.

[145] See Newhouse for a more detailed examination of the relationship between Feuerkrieg Division, Atomwaffen Division, and the Base.

[146] Hannah Allam, “U.S. Soldier Charged With Teaching Bomb-Making To Far-Right Extremists,” NPR, September 23, 2019; Michael Kunzelman and Ken Ritter, “U.S. Soldier Charged With Teaching Bomb-Making To Far-Right Extremists,” Associated Press, November 13, 2020; “Former Fort Riley Soldier Sentenced For Distributing Info on Napalm, IEDs,” Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Kansas, August 19, 2020.

[147] Author’s analysis of Jarrett William Smith’s social media posts. See also “U.S. Army Specialist with Links to Neo-Nazi Group Pleads Guilty,” Anti-Defamation League, February 11, 2020.

[148] Allam.

[149] “Las Vegas Man Pleads Guilty To Possession Of Bomb-Making Components,” U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Nevada, February 10, 2020; Ken Ritter and Michael Kunzelman, “White supremacist sentenced to 2 years in bomb plot case,” Las Vegas Sun, November 13, 2020.

[150] “Las Vegas Man Pleads Guilty To Possession Of Bomb-Making Components.”

[151] Daniel De Simone, “Durham teen neo-Nazi became ‘living dead,’” BBC, November 22, 2019.

[152] Ibid.

[153] “U.S. Army Soldier Charged with Terrorism Offenses for Planning Deadly Ambush on Service Members in His Unit,” U.S. Department of Justice, June 22, 2020; Allyson Chiu, “U.S. soldier plotted with a satanic neo-Nazi cult to stage ‘murderous ambush’ on his unit, feds say,” Washington Post, June 23, 2020; Chad Garland, “Soldier indicted for conspiring with neo-Nazi group seeks dismissal because grand jury wasn’t racially diverse,” Stars and Stripes, February 22, 2021.

[154] Ibid.

[155] Ibid.

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