| by CTEC


Atomwaffen Division (AWD)一German for Nuclear Weapons Division一was a neofascist accelerationist organization and movement working towards societal collapse through a violent revolution. The group gained notoriety and became known as one of the most violent neo-Nazi movements in the 21st century due to its links to numerous acts of extreme violence in the United States, including terrorist plots, murders, and arrests. AWD largely based its ideology and objectives on James Mason’s Siege doctrine and is credited for popularizing “Siegism” among modern accelerationist movements. The group also promoted Charles Manson’s teachings and aimed to instigate a race war to bring about the destruction of modern society and make way for a new white ethnostate based on principles of national socialism. 

Founded online by then-teenager Brandon Clint Russell (a.k.a. Odin) in 2015, AWD encouraged white supremacist, antisemitic, anti-establishment, and anti-LGBTQ+ beliefs. AWD was based in the United States and active in at least 23 states at one point. The group was organized into a series of decentralized terror cells united by the common vision of apocalyptic civilizational destruction. Members followed the “leaderless resistance” model, a popular protective tactic among accelerationist groups intended to make them harder to track and enforce against. 

AWD’s high-profile past and trailblazing activity on Iron March has led it to evolve into a brand beyond the control of AWD leadership. The Siegist, hyper-violent accelerationist movement that AWD spearheaded continues to live on through AWD-branded splinter groups and the remaining loyal members of AWD, who resurfaced in February 2020 to launch an AWD successor group named the National Socialist Order (NSO). The NSO aims to emphasize the Siegist ideology that the original group was founded on while distancing itself from links to Tempel ov Blood. As of 2022, the NSO operates mostly as a propaganda outlet and is focused on recruitment rather than on in-person activities. 


AWD, like many neofascist accelerationist organizations, believed in using violence and instigating a race war to dismantle the “system” and drive societal collapse. The group considered the “system,” or modern society, to be degenerate and beyond redemption. Through violent collapse and racial cleansing, the group hoped to realize its vision of a whites-only ethnostate ruled under a national socialist order. Members subscribed to the antisemitic Zionist Occupied Government conspiracy theory, asserting that the capitalist and democratic American and international “system” had become corrupted by a Jewish oligarchy. The group also supported the xenophobic white genocide conspiracy theory, believing that a secretive Jewish oligarchy is involved in a cultural and racial displacement plot to end the white race. AWD encouraged its members to train and prepare for an upcoming race war and promoted violence against minority groups, including African Americans, Jews, Muslims, and LGBTQ+ individuals. 

The ideology preached by AWD was primarily influenced by American neo-Nazi James Mason and his teachings in Siege. A collection of newsletters written by Mason in the 1980s, Siege promoted the underground, terroristic tactics and ideas used by contemporary neofascist accelerationist groups, including the “leaderless resistance model,” guerilla warfare-style organization, and the use of lethal violence in bringing about a white revolution. Siege, required reading for new AWD recruits, was considered by experts to be the group’s core ideological text. Mason was listed as a terrorist entity by the Canadian government in 2021 for his role in providing guidance on operations to terrorist groups.

In Siege, Mason asserts that modern society cannot be redeemed, and that the best way to reconstruct civilization is through the complete and violent destruction of American democracy and society, which would make way for the construction of a white ethnostate ruled under Nazist principles. He calls for “friction, chaos, and anarchy” to destabilize society and help them in their “war against the ‘system.’” However, in addition to randomized attacks and murders, Mason also encourages his followers to map out their targeted attacks and assassinations in advance to maximize their impact. In 2017, Mason began having an active influence on AWD, taking on the role of an advisor to the group. When the reorganization of AWD into the NSO was announced in 2020, Mason was listed as a key contributor to the creation of the group. 

Photo of James Mason with Atomwaffen Division members.
Photo of James Mason with Atomwaffen Division members. (Credit: Southern Poverty Law Center )

The rhetoric espoused by AWD also heavily drew from the actions and teachings of serial killer Charles Manson. Manson’s prophecy of a “Helter Skelter” race war was a core ideological inspiration for AWD’s ideology. The series of murders committed by Manson was lauded by the group and fed into their beliefs in using extreme violence to instigate a neofascist revolution. James Mason praised Manson’s “Helter Skelter” interpretation and murders as necessary “direct action” for the accelerationist movement, and worked with Manson to co-found a new group, Universal Order, in 1982 to spread his thinking.

The hateful and violent ideology preached by AWD was also heavily influenced by William Luther Pierce, George Lincoln Rockwell, and Joseph Tommasi. Considered an idol and thought-leader by many American neo-Nazis, Pierce was a mentor to James Mason and founder of the National Alliance一the largest neofascist group in the United States in the 1990s. Pierce infamously authored The Turner Diaries in 1978, a novel which has been linked to over 200 murders and 40 terrorist attacks and hate crimes between the 1980s and 2016. The book depicts its hero overthrowing the U.S. federal government, which Pierce called the “system.” This sparks a race war and leads to the mass extermination of non-white and Jewish individuals, with nuclear bombs eventually bringing about global white domination. According to the Anti-Defamation League, the novel is one of the most “widely read and cited books on the far-right,” inspiring violent ideologies and plots among neofascists. Researchers have noted its depictions of intense violence, repeated calls to action, and deliberately vague ideology as reasons why it has remained an effective and enduring piece of literature in white nationalist movements. Pierce’s novel is revered by AWD members and is credited for inspiring the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, which killed 168 and injured over 680 individuals. Rockwell and Tommasi are also prominent historical figures in the American white power movement, with Rockwell founding the American Nazi Party in 1959 and Tommasi founding the National Socialist Liberation Front in the mid-1970s一the first underground, cell-structured, terrorist neo-Nazi group in the United States. 

AWD members promoted the use of violence to further their antisemitic and white nationalist aims. The group actively engaged in accelerationist Sainthood culture, viewing those who take action as heroes and martyrs, and paying homage to Adolf Hitler, Charles Manson, Dylann Roof, Anders Breivik, Ted Kaczynski, Timothy McVeigh, and more for the mass murders they committed. 

Photo of AWD members at the Death Valley, California hate camp in January 2018
Photo of AWD members at the Death Valley, California hate camp in January 2018. (Credit: ProPublica )


Members of AWD were organized into decentralized, autonomous cells under the “leaderless resistance” model. Cells were generally small and underground and had little contact with each other despite all working towards the same goal. Many accelerationist groups have adopted this framework instead of a hierarchical membership structure in order to protect the organization from infiltration and tracking. According to an announcement by founder Brandon Clint Russell on Iron March, AWD had over 40 members in 2015, with active cells across the United States. The group’s membership had reportedly surged after the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, boasting around 80 members across at least 23 states in the United States in 2018. However, the fluid and scattered nature of the group’s offline structure made it difficult for experts to confirm the actual number of active members. 

Members were encouraged to train and prepare for the imminent race war at “hate camps,” where they participated in military training exercises and survival excursions, as well as the promotion of violence as the sole means of achieving victory. The first hate camp reportedly took place in late 2017 at the Shawnee National Forest in Illinois, allegedly attracting fewer than 12 participants. Hate camps have since been held in California, Washington state, and Texas. 

AWD typically appealed to younger, white men, with known and arrested members usually being in their teenage years or early 20s. The group’s recruitment strategy involved members reaching out to teenagers through online video game communities then adding them to AWD channels on Iron March and social media platforms. Many recruits were radicalized after engaging in political discourse with members on the platforms and being exposed to extremist right-wing rhetoric. In a Bellingcat investigation, a former AWD member revealed that he was first recruited through an online gaming group, where they connected on topics of “nationalism, patriotism, and fascism,” including the anti-liberalism elements of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. The former member also asserted that the sense of unity and contributing to a common purpose within AWD and its fascist rhetoric appealed to him. To join AWD, recruits were required to read James Mason’s Siege and encouraged to read Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf


Brandon Clint Russell started AWD from within the Iron March internet forum, where he spent two years gathering recruits and spreading propaganda, in addition to leading tactical training and postering activities in-person. One of the four groups officially affiliated with Iron March, AWD was highly active on the forum. Until its closure in 2017, Iron March was utilized as the primary communication channel for AWD members, functioning as a platform for recruitment and for conversations between members. Iron March, founded and run by Alisher Mukhitdinov (a.k.a. Alexander Slavros) in 2011, served as a gathering place for extremist groups and a source of support for expansion efforts, with Mukhitdinov facilitating connections between groups and individuals as well as providing advice and assistance with designing propaganda and website materials. AWD often used Iron March for these purposes and was named as one of Iron March’s officially affiliated groups in a widely-circulated 2017 infographic along with extremist organizations National Action, Skydas, and Antipodean Resistance. Mukhitdinov’s work had far-reaching influence among the AWD community, including direct references to his propaganda graphics by members in “Sunset the Media,” an AWD channel dedicated to sharing kill-lists of media figures who research fascism. Moreover, 2016 Iron March messages uncovered by Bellingcat indicated that Mukhitdinov had taken on a leadership position and decision-making role within AWD ranks at that time.

Iron March facilitated networking and promoted international solidarity among neofascist groups, as seen in the connections between AWD and National Action, a British far-right organization that is also officially affiliated Iron March. In 2015, AWD co-founder Brandon Russell personally met with National Action founder Benjamin Raymond, promoting their meeting with a photo op together outside of Buckingham Palace. Additional leaders in both groups connected in chat forums on Iron March, where they discussed coordinating propaganda graphic designs. 

In 2017 and 2018, AWD gained significant attention, especially among neofascist accelerationists, for a series of high-profile, violent incidents. AWD member Devon Arthurs murdered two roommates in 2017, founder Brandon Clint Russell was found guilty for unlawful possession of unregistered explosives, and other members were arrested for additional murders and terror conspiracies. As a result, AWD rose to become a dominant brand in the realm of accelerationism and was considered by experts as a keystone entity in generating “franchised” networks  and milieus, such as the Atomwaffen Division Deutschland in Germany, Atomwaffen Division Russland in Russia, Feuerkrieg Division, and more. Because of the group’s worldwide notoriety, these AWD-branded networks aim to capitalize on the power and fear that come with evoking affiliation with the brand. Notably, Feuerkrieg Division (FKD) claims to be a “spin-off” of AWD and specifically cites AWD as inspiration for their embrace of Siege Culture and accelerationism. AWD and FKD had a high level of joint membership, including Taylor Ashley Parker-Dipeppe, who was involved in an intimidation plot against journalists and activists. Communication between AWD and FKD leaders even revealed an offer from AWD to merge efforts, though the deal was vehemently rejected by the FKD leader, who wished to retain independent operations. Within the overarching neofascist accelerationist network, AWD and FKD, along with Sonnenkrieg Division and The Base, are considered to be especially violent and prominent nodes. 

The original American-based AWD went defunct in 2019 and officially disbanded in March 2020 following the arrests of founding members. The collapse of AWD was also accelerated by an organizational upheaval caused by the leadership’s association with Tempel ov Blood and The Order of Nine Angles (O9A) members. John Cameron Denton, the AWD leader during this period, had included texts associated with satanism and O9A, such as The Devil’s Notebook, Hostia: Secret Teachings of the Order of Nine Angles, and Iron Gates to the group’s list of required reading, leading to infighting and alienation of some members who disagreed with the incorporation of satanism into AWD ideology. 


AWD actively spread its violent and racist propaganda through both online and offline methods, including posting hateful comments and distributing fliers. Its propaganda and recruitment strategies can be traced back to The Order, a now-defunct white supremacist terror group founded by Robert Jay Mathews in the 1980s. During its Iron March era, AWD developed propaganda through crowdsourcing, utilizing designs shared by active users and members. Because of the its  strong presence on the forum, AWD propaganda popularized the use of Totenkopf symbols to hide faces as other acceleraitonist groups and individuals began adopting the aesthetic. Moreover, Siege ideology heavily influenced the designs and rhetoric in AWD propaganda. Siege branding of AWD propaganda materials included hyper-violent imagery, slogans that promote revolution and genocide, excerpts from James Mason’s writings, as well as Nazi iconography. When Iron March shut down in 2017, the group’s online activity moved onto messaging forums such as Telegram, Wire, Gab, and Discord. AWD also had a history of spreading offline propaganda, such as flyers and stickers, in person on college campuses. From 2015 to 2017, the group ran recruitment campaigns and placed propaganda on the campuses of the University of Central Florida, Old Dominion University in Virginia, Boston University, the University of Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Washington, Arizona State University, Texas A&M University, the University of Colorado, State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota, and more. 

American Odyssey
(Credit: American Odyssey )

In 2017, with Iron March defunct and AWD founder Brandon Clint Russell arrested on charges of unlawful possession of unregistered explosives, John Cameron Denton replaced Russell as the group’s leader. Denton facilitated a shift from the group’s Iron March era to an even more extreme phase with strengthened association to accelerationism, Siege Culture, and even satanism, as well as less in-person recruitment and more emphasis on online propaganda, such as videos of weapons and paramilitary training. These propaganda videos included footage from AWD hate camps, which were started under Denton’s leadership. AWD also launched its first website in 2017, which included vast propaganda resources, a virtual library with Siege and Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, and a link to SIEGE Culture一a website co-created by James Mason, Denton, and other AWD members. SIEGE Culture featured supplemental writings and audio recordings created by Mason, threads preserved from Iron March, and a virtual library with violent esoteric and satanic texts.


In 2017 and 2018, AWD came under intense scrutiny by law enforcement and the public after a series of arrests for murders, swatting, and other violent crimes across the United States were linked to the group. AWD members were identified as sending death threats, with victims receiving flyers displaying ominous messages such as “Your Actions Have Consequences. Our Patience Has Its Limits. You Have Been Visited by Your Local Neo-Nazis” and “We Know Where You Live.” The increased notoriety and attention as well as arrest and imprisonment of key leaders led to the collapse and reshuffling of AWD leadership, which ultimately gave rise to the National Socialist Order, AWD’s direct successor entity, in 2020. Overall, around 16 individuals associated with AWD have been arrested. Charges for these individuals include numerous murders, unlawful possession of firearms and explosives, as well as intimidation and conspiracy to commit terrorism.

Devon Arthurs, an 18-year-old AWD member, was charged in June 2017 with a double murder for an apartment shooting and hostage crisis that occured in May that year. This was the first in a string of arrests and charges for violent crimes associated with AWD in the United States. Arthurs was living in Tampa, Florida with three other AWD members一Brandon Clint Russell, Jeremy Himmelman, and Andrew Oneschuk. Police were first alerted when Arthurs took three people hostage in a smoke shop, threatening them with a gun and complaining about the U.S. military targeting Muslim-majority countries with bombings. After Arthurs surrendered, he confessed that he had shot and killed Himmelman, 22, and Oneschuk, 18, in their shared apartment. The two had reportedly shown disrespect towards Arthurs’ conversion from neo-Nazism to radical Islam, which angered Arthurs and prompted the shooting. During investigations, police found explosive precursors and materials, fascist literature, as well as ammunition and a framed photo of Timothy McVeigh一the Oklahoma City bomber一in the apartment. During trial proceedings, Arthurs was diagnosed with schizophrenia and autism and deemed unfit for court. Arthurs has since received treatment with the Developmental Disabilities Defendant Program. As of May 2022, Arthurs was determined to be competent for court and able to stand trial.

AWD founder Brandon Clint Russell was also arrested during Devon Arthurs’ murder investigation, and ultimately pled guilty to the unlawful possession of unregistered explosives in September 2017. Though Russell, then 21, was reportedly not linked to the killings, he alerted fellow AWD member William James Tschantre (a.k.a. Wolfman) in distress following Arthurs’ arrest, leading Tschantre to quit his job and cash in his savings. The two men were later found camping out in Key Largo, Florida, in possession of two rifles and around 500 rounds of ammunition. Russell was later sentenced to five years in prison and was released in August 2021. On February 6, 2023, Russell, at the age of 27, was charged with conspiracy to destroy an energy facility along with accomplice Sarah Beth Clendaniel, 34. During FBI investigations, it was revealed that the two had been conspiring since June 2022, selecting critical infrastructure targets to attack and trying to illegally acquire firearms. According to uncovered online conversations, Russell was posting open-source maps of electrical substations and describing how he would launch his attack with Clendaniel. The two planned to conduct simultaneous attacks on multiple electrical substations in the Baltimore area, hoping it would lead to a “cascading [power] failure” that would “destroy” the whole city and further AWD’s racially motivated extremist goals. 

In August 2017, AWD member Vasillios G. Pistolis attended the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia and attacked an activist with a flagpole. The scene was caught on camera; however, Vasillios denied attending the rally during investigations. According to reports by ProPublica and Frontline, Pistolis had been heavily involved online with AWD and the Traditionalist Worker Party, another militant neofascist group. Pistolis, 19, was charged with making false statements and disobeying orders at a court martial. In July 2018, Pistolis was demoted from Lance Corporal to Private and discharged from the Corps as a result of his actions and ties to neo-fascist groups. 

Later in 2017, 17-year-old Nicholas Giampa was charged with two counts of murder. A follower of Siegist ideas and AWD, Giampa reportedly fatally shot his girlfriend’s parents, Scott Fricker and Buckley Kuhn-Fricker, when they expressed disapproval of his neo-Nazi beliefs. Giampa had also been charged previously for possessing child pornography as a juvenile. Unsealed court documents later revealed that the killings may have been linked to a suicide pact between Giampa and his girlfriend一the pair allegedly planned to end their lives together after the Frickers ordered them to end their relationship. According to police reports, Giampa fatally shot the Frickers after they found him in their daughter’s room with a gun. As of August 2022, Giampa was being tried as an adult in court. 

In January 2018, Samuel Woodward (a.k.a. Saboteur) stabbed Blaze Bernstein—a 19-year-old gay, Jewish student—to death. The two were former high school classmates. Woodward, 20-years old when he was arrested, was charged with murder and committing a hate crime and faces a life sentence without parole. An AWD member, Woodward was active on the group’s online platforms, where he posted antisemitic and homophobic rhetoric. In an investigation done by ProPublica, Woodward’s online messages praising Siege, Mein Kampf, and the mass rape of Bosnian Muslim women in the Bosnian Civil War were uncovered. Woodward had also attended the group’s 2017 hate camp in Texas months before he allegedly committed the murder. After Bernstein’s death was linked to him, Woodward’s violent actions were celebrated by the group’s members online, with one calling Woodward a “one-man gay Jew wrecking crew.” As of 2022, Woodward’s criminal proceedings are still on hold in court until he is deemed mentally competent to stand trial. 

In November 2018, Jeffrey Raphiel Clark was arrested and charged with the illegal possession of firearms by a person who is an unlawful user of a controlled substance. Law enforcement was alerted of Clark, 30 at the time, by family members who reported that he spoke about fantasies of murdering minorities and joining the “race revolution.” Family members were worried about his possible radicalization after Clark allegedly began displaying concerning behavior after the Tree of Life synagogue mass shooting and his younger brother’s suicide. When questioned, Clark admitted to investigators that he belonged to a white-nationalist group and was preparing for a potential “civil war” with his late brother. Clark was active on Gab under the username “DC Bowl Gang”—a reference to Charleston shooter Dylann Roof’s haircut. On the platform, Clark reposted AWD propaganda. Investigators also found Nazi flags, ammunition, AR-15 rifle conversion kits, and other weaponry and tactical gear in his house. Clark pleaded guilty in September 2019 and was released with three years of supervised probation after spending 10 months in a D.C. jail. 

Benjamin Joost Bogard was arrested on February 2, 2019 by federal authorities for possessing depictions of the sexual abuse of children. Bogard, a 20-year-old man from New Braunfels, Texas, had dropped out of Texas State University in 2018 and claimed to be a member of AWD. Investigations by the FBI into Bogard’s online activity found concerning content prompting concern that he was “mobilizing to violence.” This included posts where he proclaimed his allegiance to Hitler, rhetoric encouraging violence against minorities, and videos of him using a shotgun while wearing a skull mask. In August, 2019, Bogard pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 80 months in prison. 

On June 5, 2019, American AWD member Brian Patrick Baynes was arrested on illegal gun possession charges as he allegedly lied about drug use on a federal firearms background check. Further investigation found Baynes’ involvement in AWD Discord chats, where he used the username “Ted Bundy.” Although active with AWD online, where he discussed guns, neo-Nazism, and drug use, Baynes had reportedly not engaged in any in-person violence. During trial, Baynes’ defense attorney asserted that he had begun self-motivated rehabilitation to move away from white supremacist ideas. Baynes was sentenced to two years of supervised release in November 2019 after pleading guilty to all charges.

Virginia AWD member Andrew Jon Thomasberg (a.k.a. GrecoViking), 21, was arrested in September 2019 and pleaded guilty to illegal gun possession as a user of controlled substances as well as making a false statement when he illegally purchased guns for another AWD member. In their search, FBI investigators found more than 20 guns in Thomasberg’s home and a loaded pistol in his car. Thomasberg was a member of Vanguard America and attended the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017. Thomasberg joined AWD shortly after Unite the Right  and was reportedly the leader of the AWD Virginia cell. Before he was arrested, Thomasberg had also submitted an application to join Patriot Front. On February 28, 2020, Thomasberg was sentenced to one year in prison. Thomasberg passed away on July 29, 2021 at the age of 23. 

On February 26, 2020, American AWD members and recruiters Johnny Roman Garza, Taylor Ashley Parker-Dipeppe, Cameron Brandon Shea, and Kaleb Cole were arrested for a plot, named “Operation Erste Saule,” to threaten journalists and activists who reported on and worked to expose antisemitism. Victims received intimidation fliers in their mail that included their names, addresses, as well as neo-Nazi iconography and hateful statements such as “Your Actions Have Consequences. Our Patience Has Its Limits. You Have Been Visited by Your Local Neo-Nazis.” In December 2020, Garza, at 20-years-old, was sentenced to 16 months in prison through a plea agreement. Parker-Dipeppe, 21-years-old, received his sentencing of time-served with no further incarceration in March, 2021. The decision came as stories were revealed of his rough childhood as a transgender, and how he had originally joined AWD in search of acceptance, but was kicked out of the group by Shea soon after the plot when he confessed to being transgender. In August 2021, Shea, a 26-year-old AWD leader, was sentenced to three years in prison. On January 11, 2022, 25-year-old AWD leader Kaleb James Cole was sentenced to seven years in prison for his leadership role in the plot. Investigations also found Cole to be stockpiling firearms, including several handguns and an AK-47 rifle. Moreover, Cole was involved in organizing AWD “hate camps” and was depicted in photos posing in front of the Auschwitz concentration camp in a skull mask. 

Aiden Bruce-Umbaugh (a.k.a. Nythra), an AWD Washington cell member, pled guilty and was sentenced to 30 months in prison for illegal gun possession on April 28, 2020. When Bruce-Umbaugh was arrested in 2019, law enforcement had stopped him for speeding but found him dressed in tactical gear with multiple assault rifles, ammunition, and marijuana in his car. Bruce-Umbaugh was childhood friends with AWD leader Kaleb Cole, who was in the car with him at the time of arrest. During detention hearings, Bruce-Umbaugh declared himself a Nazi and admitted to owning swastika flags as well as having taken photos with additional AWD members at the Auschwitz concentration camp. 

On May 4th, 2021, John Cameron Denton (a.k.a. Rape), a 27-year-old Texas-based AWD leader, was sentenced to 41 months in prison for conspiracy to commit terrorism. After AWD founder Brandon Clint Russell was arrested in 2017, Denton had taken over as the key leader of the group. Denton had organized swatting which targeted journalists, then Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, a university in Virginia, as well as minority communities and religious centers. Swatting is a criminal harassment tactic that involves prank calling emergency services to send armed law enforcement response teams to a targeted address. Two targets personally chosen by Denton to “swat” included a New York City ProPublica office and a ProPublica investigative journalist一a retaliatory action against the organization for an exposé they had previously published. ProPublica investigations had exposed Denton as a top leader of AWD who seemed to be involved in almost every facet of the organization, including designing posters and propaganda, selecting books and reading for new recruits, and shaping AWD ideology. In addition to Siege, Denton required new recruits to read satanist texts, such as The Devil’s Notebook, Hostia: Secret Teachings of the Order of Nine Angles, and Iron Gates. AWD chat logs revealed messages from Denton asserting that “Politics are useless. Revolution is necessary” and direct contact with James Mason, the author of Siege. Moreover, ProPublica revealed Denton’s plans to push the group to purchase rural land and pool money to build compounds where AWD members can get off the grid and launch attacks. 

AWD Propaganda
(Credit: Law and Crime )


Although AWD claimed to have officially disbanded in 2020, remaining members announced the creation of a successor entity under the name of the National Socialist Order (NSO) on July 25, 2020. The NSO is viewed by many as a reemergence of AWD after its leadership reshuffling and demonstrates the resiliency of the brand. 

Additionally, extremist groups and individuals appear to invoke the AWD brand, despite lacking clear linkages to the original group. AWD’s place as a core group of the accelerationist movement makes it an effective brand for those who wish to draw on the infamous actions associated with AWD to incite fear, as well as inspire violent plots. This trend of brand adoption reflects the changing landscape of extremist and accelerationist threats from groups into less public, underground cell networks that are often  variations of the traditional “leaderless resistance” model. While this isn’t a novel emergence, there is a level of success related to embracing a “leaderless resistance” model for the skullmask movement that has eluded past eras of fascist organizing. This shift to post-group cell networks in extremist circles has become a major focal point and concern for law enforcement and technology companies. The trend points to larger national security threats as AWD’s legacy continues to inspire accelerationist movements and complications start arising with evaluating the legitimacy of threats associated with AWD. 

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