[KIRKLAND, Wash.] – MTN On February 26, 2020, in the Totem Lake Fred Meyer parking lot in Kirkland, FBI agents moved in and arrested neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division leader Cameron Brandon Shea of Redmond, Washington, on a warrant for four felonies. Shea, who worked in the Seattle suburb grocery store, was arrested with four coconspirators on various charges. On the surface, Atomwaffen appears to be an internally created extremist group that identifies with the policies of Nazi Germany. In reality, the group has ties to the Russian Imperial Movement (RIM), and former Washington state residents Kaleb James Cole and Aiden Bruce Umbaugh likely received military training in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The trail that led three Washingtonians to connect with Russian neo-Nazi terrorist leaders follows a twisted path that begins in the mind of a 14-year-old American in 1966. The road winds through a global white nationalist movement with roots in St. Petersburg, Russia, leading to the creation of Iron March by a Russian national who used the pseudonym of Alexander Slavros, and amplified by Brandon Clint Russell. In late 2015, the Atomwaffen division in the United States was born, and a few months later, Cole created the Washington Divison of Atomwaffen in the suburbs of Seattle. Among those who created a deeper connection to the terrorist organization RIM? The founder of the white power Traditionalist Worker Party and Iron Dome, Matthew Heimbach.
Russell, a dual citizen of The Bahamas and the United States, was openly radicalized in his teens. He engaged in the online forum Iron March, where he quickly grew credibility among the neo-Nazi movement. Despite his beliefs being public and his direct ties to five radicalized far-right organizations, Russell was able to enlist in the Florida National Guard. A 2017 double homicide investigation in Tampa, Florida, revealed Russell’s connections and the discovery of bomb-making materials, radioactive isotopes, and neo-Nazi propaganda.
Russell was never charged with the murder of his roommates, both members of Atomwaffen. He was arrested on federal charges and, in September 2017, pled guilty to possessing an unregistered destructive device and illegally storing explosives. Within Russell’s orbit was John Cameron Denton, one of the earliest members of Atomwaffen. Between 2016 and 2017 and likely before his arrest, Russell passed leadership to the neo-Nazi group to him.
Heimbach was influenced by the ramblings of cult leader Charles Manson and his admirer James Mason. Mason is considered the Godfather of fascist terrorism in North America. Among white nationalists, the 1992 book The Seige is a manifesto for creating a global race war to establish white nationalist rule. Mason’s writings call for the creation of autonomous neo-Nazi terror cells and the destruction of the United States government.
Mason’s radicalization started when he was 14 and joined the American Nazi Party (ANP) in the 1960s. After the founder of the ANP was assassinated in 1967, Mason wandered for several years before joining the National Socialist Liberation Front. In 1982 Mason started writing letters to Manson disciples Sandra Good and Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme. The pair were imprisoned for participating in the grizzly Manson Family murder spree in 1969, leaving seven dead. Good and Fromme introduced Mason to Manson through correspondence, and Manson, from his prison cell, formed the Universal Order movement with Mason in 1982.
Mason had started writing a series of essays in 1980 for a self-published monthly newsletter called The Seige. From 1980 to 1986, Mason praised Manson and professed that the cult leader would be the ideal person to mold a new Nazi leadership in a post-race-fueled civil war America. Michael Moynihan (not to be confused with the American journalist) was a reader of The Seige, and in 1992 he edited and published the writings as a book called The Seige: The Collective Writings of James Mason. In 2003, the Black Sun Press republished the book under a new name, The Seige. and added a foreword written by Mason.
Around the same time The Seige was being prepared for publication Stanislav Vorobyev formed RIM in St. Petersburg, Russia. The ultranationalist organization embraces neo-Nazi ideology, wants to restore Russia to its pre-1917 borders, eliminate those not of ethno-Russian blood and re-establish rule by the Russian Orthodox Church and white nationalists with bloodlines to the tsarist Romanovs.
RIM didn’t draw much attention in post-Soviet collapsed Russia until 2007 when Vorobyev formed the Rezerv Paramilitary Club (RPC). In Russia, paramilitary clubs are legal and controlled by the Voluntary Society for Cooperation with the Army, Aviation, and Navy (DOSAAF). DOSAAF was created in the 1950s by the Soviet Union to promote a healthy lifestyle and teach the history of Russian military glory. The RPC formed a paramilitary training camp at an abandoned Soviet-era military base in St. Petersburg with the blessing of the Kremlin.
In 2012 with support from then Russian Federation President Dmitry Medvedev, RIM formed the New Force political party. The platform softened its extremist message to become more palatable to the Russian public. It claimed to support “democratic values” but called for restricting immigration to ethnic Russians and holding undocumented immigrants in slave labor camps. In 2013 working with other Russian-based neo-Nazi groups, RIM went public, organizing an anti-immigration protest in Voronezh, Russia.
In late 2013 as Ukraine made its intentions of pulling away from the Kremlin known, Vorobyev wrote, “The stability of anti-Russian regimes on all the territory inhabited by the Russian ethnos” is the greatest threat to the “Russian national survival.” Working with pro-Russian figures in Ukraine, members of RIM were involved in destabilizing the Kyiv government and fomenting Euromaidan counterprotests that led to dozens of deaths.
On February 28, 2014, the day after the Russian military occupied the Crimea Peninsula, members of RIM flew with the Russian military to Sevastopol. Among the passengers were Vorobyev and Nikolay Trushchalov, the head of external affairs for RIM. In March, four members of RIM met with neo-Nazi pro-Russian separatist leaders in the Ukrainian city of Donetsk.
After the meeting in Donetsk, RIM coordinated with other ultranationalist and pro-Nazi organizations in Russia, including Rodina. It held a demonstration in Moscow to support ethnic Russians living in Ukraine. In a cynical twist, Russian organizations aligned with Nazi ideology led protests accusing the legitimate government in Kyiv of Nazi atrocities.
Around the same time, the RPC received its new name, the Russian Imperial Legion, and started training mercenaries to fight against Ukraine. RIM actively recruited military veterans and provided two weeks of combat training, sending squad-sized groups into separatist-controlled Ukraine through humanitarian corridors. RIM mercenaries reported directly into the Russian 1st and 2nd Army Corps of the Donetsk (DNR) and Luhansk People’s Republics (LNR). Vorobyev and Trushchalov worked with Russian military veteran and Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) agent Igor Girkin (who goes by the alias Igor Strelkov). Girkin is accused of being directly responsible for the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which killed 298 when a Boeing 777-200ER was shot down on the Ukraine-Russia border. Girkin was the first commander of the 1st Army Corps of the DNR and had up to 300 RIM-provided mercenaries of the Imperial Legion under his command.
The troops led by Girkin were accused of committing dozens of atrocities against Ukrainians and Ukrainian soldiers. Even today, Girkin on Telegram rails against prisoner of war exchanges done by the Russian Federation in Ukraine and reminds his followers that if he was still in charge of the DNR 1st Army Corps, he would take no prisoners.
In the fall of 2014, Girkin was forced to flee to Russia after a series of military failures in the Donbas, refusal to comply with the directives of the Kremlin and the negative publicity from the downing of Flight 17. The FSB started a purge of Girkin-aligned leaders in the 1st Army Corps due to their ideology being out of alignment with Moscow’s goals. But among white nationalists and neo-Nazis, the credibility of RIM and the Imperial Legion grew, gaining international attention on Telegram, the dark web, and the Russian Facebook clone VKontakte.
Although overt racism and white nationalism were pushed just under the surface in American society starting in the late 1970s, the ideology and its purveyors didn’t fade away. The Internet, economic dissatisfaction caused by the Great Recession of 2008, and the election of Barack Obama and his “liberal agenda” caused the movement to rise back to the surface. Hate groups found the Internet was the perfect place to share their message, radicalize people in their youth, and recruit members to their ranks. The organizations weaponized the First Amendment to support their cause while amplifying their messages through the use of marketing agencies, troll farms, and automated bots. Social media companies and web host providers were slow to respond.
Among those to embrace this newfound acceptance was Heimbach, the co-founder of the Traditionalist Worker Party. In 2011, he joined the Youth for Western Civilization (YFWC) club at Towson University in Maryland. Like Mason and Russell, Heimbach’s radicalization started in his teens, and like RIM founder Vorobyev in Russia, he earned a degree in history. In 2012 Heimbach wrote in the YFWC blog, “No longer will the homosexual, Muslim, and black supremacist groups be allowed to hijack our campus. [We are] preparing to take our campus back, all we need is the help of people like you to make it happen.”
For the administration of Towson University, the blog posts and campus vandalism with the messages of “white pride” and “white guilt is over” scrawled on sidewalks and buildings was a bridge too far. In the spring of 2012, the university dissolved the YFWC chapter. Undeterred, Heimbach created the White Student Union and invited Jared Taylor, the creator of the ultranationalist faux think tank American Renaissance, to speak at the university. Taylor was so impressed by Heimbach’s radical views on race that he took him under his wing.
In 2013 Taylor invited Heimbach to speak at the American Renaissance conference in Nashville, Tennessee. Another featured speaker was neo-Nazi Richard Spencer, a speaker, and organizer of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. Taylor’s session was called “Report from the Trenches.” At the conference, Heimbach asked Paul Ramsey, “Where do we create our ethnostate?”
Ramsey replied, “We need to Balkanize and create our own homeland. We have a right to exist.”
With white nationalist movements moving to the open in the United States and Russia and politicians in both countries embracing the ideology, the twin paths a world apart were on a collision course.
In 2015 the International Conservative Forum of Russia was held in St. Petersburg with support from the Russian government. The conference was organized by Rodina and RIM, attracting leaders and influencers of white nationalist organizations from Germany, Italy, Greece, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the United States. Among the attendees from the United States was Taylor of American Renaissance. Also in attendance was Russell, who had already laid the foundation to create Atomwaffen.
Russell began spreading his ultranationalist message online in 2011 when he was 16 years old, creating the neo-Nazi organization Iron March in 2013. In 2015 while in St. Petersburg, he met with Taylor of American Renaissance and the leaders of the Nordic Resistance Movement of Sweden, the National Action group of Germany, CasPound of Italy, and Golden Dawn of Greece. In October of 2015, Russell announced the creation of Atomwaffen in Florida.
Shortly after the same conference and Taylor’s return to the United States, his pupil Heimbach formed Iron Dome. The new organization was created in parallel with the Traditionalist Worker Party, but aligned with the call of direct action and terror cell-based ultranationalism. Iron Dome would eventually merge with Atomwaffen.
Members of the Nordic Resistance Movement who attended the Russian forum in 2015 returned to St. Petersburg in 2016 and received combat training from RIM. From November 2016 to January 2017, Nordic Resistance Movement members Anton Thulin, Viktor Melin, and a third coconspirator executed three terrorist attacks in Gothenburg, Sweden. The trio targeted a coffee shop and two asylum homes for refugees. In the third incident, the bomb failed to detonate. The three were tried and found guilty of the attacks and sentenced to 8-1/2 years in prison.
At the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Heimbach met members of the Atomwaffen Division and moved the Traditionalist Workers Party further right, fully embracing anti-Semtisim and white nationalism. According to ProPublica and the Southern Poverty Law Center, Heimbach wrote on Discord after Charlottesville, “The Jews will use their guns to try to stop us, but also their pigs and courts to try to break our spirits.” In the same post, he referred to people of the white race as victims of the “Zionist Occupation Government” – repeating the antisemitic conspiracy that a Jewish deep state international conspiracy runs the United States government. Heimbach was enamored with Atomwaffen, calling the group “our friends.”
After Charlottesville, RIM’s Western European representative Stanislav Shevchuk traveled to the United States to establish connections between RIM and far-right extremist white nationalist groups. Heimbach had become a regular on American news programs, interviewed by the mainstream media where he was given an open platform to share his white nationalist views. Due to Heimbach’s public profile in the United States and his connections to Taylor, Mason, Spencer, and his embrace of Atomwaffen, Shevchuk asked to meet with the white nationalist figure. Despite being a highly visible voice for white nationalism in the United States, behind the curtain, he held little influence. The real power brokers in Atomwaffen were Cole, Shea, Russell, and Denton, who was the leader of Atomwaffen in the United States.
Heimbach gave Shevchuk a guided tour of Washington D.C., where they displayed the RIM nationalist flag outside the White House. They also visited Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and posed in front of a statue of Robert E. Lee with a Confederate flag and the RIM nationalistic flag of black, yellow, and white.
While Heimbach was the bearded smiling face of white nationalism and anti-Semitism, Cole, Shea, Russell, and Denton were moving ahead with a far more violent plan influenced by Mason. In 2016, Cole founded the Washington chapter of Atomwaffen in the shadow of Seattle.
Although Seattle and Portland, Oregon are perceived to be liberal strongholds, both cities lie in what was once the Oregon Territory which passed increasingly aggressive anti-immigration legislation. On June 18, 1844, the Oregon Territory Provisional Government passed a law that Blacks attempting to settle in the territory would be publicly whipped with 39 lashes every six months.
On September 27, 1850, the United States Congress passed the Donation Land Claim Act, which made it illegal for anyone other than whites, or whites of mixed race with indigenous peoples, to settle in the Oregon Territory. The law designated that any white male United States citizen eighteen years or older could claim a 320-acre parcel of land free of charge in parts of modern-day Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Wyoming.
More than 160 years later, hate groups, white nationalist organizations, anti-Semites, and neo-Nazis thrive just out of view. The Proud Boys, III%, Patriot Front, and Patriot Prayer operate in the open and actively recruit members online and among the antivaccination and antigovernment communities.
Overt racism, anti-Black, and anti-immigration legislation and violence continued in the Pacific Northwest for more than a century, the echoes continuing to impact immigration patterns within the United States. The 2020 United Census showed that people who identify as Black make up 1% of Idaho, 2% of Oregon, and 4.3% of Washington – 13.4% of people in the United States identify as Black. For Atomwaffen, Western Washington was a fertile ground to recruit new members who grew up in a monocultural environment and saw everything wrong in the world shimmering in the Seattle skyline.
Cole’s life was ordinary before becoming an Atomwaffen Divison leader. He grew up in Everett, spent time in Bellingham, and eventually moved to Arlington. By 2015 he was already deeply radicalized and held neo-Nazi beliefs. Members of Atomwaffen practiced firing guns in the forests north of Seattle. In 2018 Cole and Aiden Bruce-Umbaugh, of Olympia, Washington embarked on a one-month trip to Germany, Poland, Ukraine, and allegedly Russia, where they had a purpose.
During that trip, Cole and Bruce-Umbaugh allegedly traveled to St. Petersburg and received combat training from RIM. The pair slipped into Russia through Ukraine using a green corridor in the Donbas. After completing Imperial Legion training, the pair traveled back through Ukraine, entered Poland, and visited the Nazi Concentration Camp Auschwitz. A picture was taken on the train tracks that lead to the extermination camp, Bruce-Umbagh with a thumbs up and Cole pointing to the sky. Cole wasn’t flashing a number one but referencing the extermination of ethnic Jews at the death camp and the ash and smoke rising from the incinerators.
The training in firearms, explosives, moving as a squad, and terrorist tactics were taken back to Washington state. At an abandoned cement factory in Concrete, members of Atomwaffen attended “hate camps” to train in guerilla and urban warfare and fire automatic weapons. Cole, despite never being in the United States military or having received any military training of public record, also set up a second “hate camp” in the Nevada desert near Death Valley.
Cole was also behind the editing and design of propaganda, posters, and slick recruiting videos. The scenes from “Devil’s Tower,” as the locals called the graffiti-covered ruins, closely resemble the videos made by Russian-proxy troops from Chechnya. The soldiers in those videos are called the “Chechen TikTok unit” and create numerous videos of fighters shooting wildly at nothing and staging raids of empty buildings.
In 2018, neo-Nazi posters began appearing at churches, government offices, and public areas in Kirkland, Redmond, and Bellevue. The posters and propaganda appeared across the region for almost two years. The content was never connected back to Atomwaffen, but the designs of some of the materials were similar. Emboldened by the sign campaign, Patriot Front also distributed materials in the suburban areas east of Seattle.
A 2018 investigation by ProPublica found Atomwaffen had cells in 23 states and was growing in influence and violence. By 2019 federal, state, county, and local authorities were increasingly concerned by Atomwaffen’s actions and rhetoric. Domestic terrorist experts believed that the language was moving from suggesting there should be a race war to purge the United States to discussing direct action. On September 26, 2019, a King County judge granted the Seattle Police Department’s request to issue an extreme risk protection order on Cole. In October, authorities seized five military-style rifles, three handguns, gun parts, and ammunition at Cole’s residence in Arlington.
Cole had an opportunity to have his guns returned at a hearing a couple of weeks later but instead fled to Montgomery, Texas, where he found refuge with Denton. The extreme risk protection order was automatically extended for a year because Cole defaulted by not attending the hearing. Because of Cole’s propaganda abilities and combat training, Denton allegedly made Cole the Texas leader of Atomwaffen. His tenure would be very short-lived, as Shea had already made a mistake and allowed an FBI informant to infiltrate the group.
Only days after arriving in Texas, Cole was involved in a November 4, 2019, traffic stop in the west Texas town of Post, with Bruce-Umbaugh in the passenger seat. Police found marijuana, concentrated THC, an AR-15, two AK-47s, a 9mm pistol, and 1,500 rounds of ammunition. The extreme risk protection order on Cole was flagged during the stop, but Bruce-Umbaugh claimed that the drugs and guns were his. Cole was behind the wheel of the blue Ford Focus with Washington plates, and despite this glaring discrepancy, Bruce-Umbaugh was arrested, and Cole was released.
A month later, the mistake was identified, and a warrant was issued for Cole’s arrest for unlawful possession of a firearm with bail set at $20,000. Bruce-Umbaugh was unable to post bond for his release and languished in a west Texas jail cell, where authorities confronted him about a nascent Atomwaffen plot.
In November 2019, Shea had unknowingly contacted an FBI informant and invited the agent to join a budding operation to threaten journalists across the country. His goal was to “erode the media/states air of legitimacy by showing people they have names and addresses, and hopefully embolden others to act.” The informant worked with Shea on his plans and through conversations exposed other Atomwaffen members, including Cole, now hiding in the outskirts of Houston. An undercover agent visited Cole in January 2020, and in a sworn statement claimed the newly minted Atomwaffen Division leader of Texas was wearing a Klu Klux Klan robe.
Later that same month, Atomwaffen threatened a Seattle TV news reporter, the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League Pacific Northwest Chapter, and attempted to threaten a Florida reporter. In the Florida incident, the flyers were affixed to the wrong home.
On February 26, 2020, the group was unraveled by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force. Operation Erste Saule arrested five members of Atomwaffen in four states. John Cameron Denton and Kaleb J. Cole were arrested in Texas. Cameron Brandon Shea was arrested in Kirkland, Washington, as he walked into a Fred Meyer grocery store to start his work shift. Also arrested were John Garza of Arizona and Tyler “Taylor” Parker-Dipeppe of Florida.
Bruce-Umbaugh was also federally charged while he was still sitting in a west Texas jail cell. On February 3, 2020, he pled guilty to federal charges of possession of firearms and ammunition by a prohibited person.
Three months after Operation Erste Saule and the FBI investigation revealing the military training of Atomwaffen members in St. Petersburg, Russia, the United States Department of State designated the Russia Imperial Movement and members of its leadership as Specially Designated Global Terrorists. It was the first time the United States government had declared a white supremacist group a terrorist organization.
On April 6, 2020, Vorobyev, Nikolayevich, and Denis Garijev were designated as terrorists “for providing training for acts of terrorism that threaten the national security and foreign policy of the United States and being leaders of such a group.”
In September of the same year, National Counterterrorism Center Director Christopher Miller confirmed that United States members of the “extreme right” had traveled to Russia for military training. Testifying before Congress with FBI Director Chris Wray, Miller reported Americans have traveled to Russia to train with RIM and the Imperial Legion. He added that the relationship between extremists in the United States and RIM had remained casual and had not organized into cross-nation terrorism. Miller did not list the names of the organizations or individuals that had trained with the Imperial Legion during his testimony.
The Russian Federation does not consider RIM a terrorist organization. A Kremlin spokesperson defended the group and its military training of foreign fighters declaring, “We are also not going to prohibit foreigners from coming to visit their barracks or receive training. That is its purpose.”
Like many countries that identify as being formed by people with white ancestry, Ukraine has its own problem with neo-Nazi ideology. A lot of digital ink has been spilled about the history of the Azov Battalion and its founding members identifying with white supremacism and Nazi beliefs. While white nationalist extremists founded the Azov Battalion in 2014, the military unit slowly shifted its political alignment and views during the last six years. The early ranks were mostly filled with Russian-speaking residents of eastern Ukraine and were funded partly by Jewish businessperson and billionaire Ihor Kolomoyskyi. The group was colloquially called “The Men In Black” to counter Russia’s “little green men.”
Before the war in Ukraine, members of Atomwaffen were still within the ranks of the Azov Battalion. The battalion ejected the extremists from its ranks in 2020, including those with Atomwaffen.
When the Russia-Ukraine War started on February 24, Russian propaganda had turned the Azovs into mythical monsters while ignoring the thousands of ultranationalist neo-Nazis being trained and deployed to Ukraine under the watchful eye of DOSAAF. It used the group as justification to invade Ukraine for “denazification.” Despite the legends, the Azov Regiment had fewer than 3,000 troops, including Israeli foreign volunteers within the ranks. In May 2022, new insignia for the unit was introduced, wiping the last hints of its white nationalist founding.
While the Kremlin and the social media accounts it backs push a denazification agenda in Ukraine, it is estimated that several thousand members of the Imperial Legion are fighting in Ukraine, concentrated in Izyum and the Donbas. In an ironic twist, ultranationalist mercenaries with the Imperial Legion fought in Mariupol, likely against the Azov Battalion, to “denazify” Ukraine.
While the alleged atrocities of Azov are mostly limited to memes, propaganda, and disinformation, an internal report of the German Federal Intelligence Service BND claims that the Imperial Legion engages in destroying cultural icons that don’t align with the Russian Orthodox Church and tortures and executes Ukrainian prisoners of war.
Unlike Russia, all 50 states ban private militias that are involved in extremist activity or move their presence into the public domain. Despite these regulations, enforcement is almost non-existent. It is estimated there are almost 300 private militias operating in the United States. They represent a fertile ground for recruitment to fight in Ukraine with Russian extremist organizations and Private Military Companies such as the Wagner Group. For those that survive, they bring back that experience, which can be applied to future domestic terrorism.
Kaleb James Cole was convicted of conspiracy, three counts of mailing threatening communications, and one count of interfering with a federally protected activity. On January 11, Cole was sentenced to 84 months in federal prison. Cole has been labeled a terrorist by Canada.
Cameron Brandon Shea pled guilty to one count of conspiring to commit three offenses against the United States: interference with federally-protected activities because of religion and one count of interfering with a federally protected activity because of religion. On April 25, Shea was sentenced to 36 months in federal prison.
Aiden Bruce-Umbaugh pled guilty to possessing firearms and ammunition by a prohibited person. On April 28, 2020, he was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison. While awaiting his sentencing in jail, he bragged to other inmates about his photo at Auschwitz and openly told others he was a Nazi.
John Cameron Denton was convicted of conspiracy and a hate crime for “swatting” over 130 people. Denton participated in a conspiracy that conducted swatting attacks between October 2018 and February 2019. Swatting is a harassment tactic that involves deceiving emergency dispatchers into believing that a person or persons are in imminent danger of death or bodily harm and causing the dispatchers to send police and emergency services to an unwitting third party’s address. Denton chose his targets motivated by racial hatred. On May 4, 2021, Denton was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison.
Johnny Roman Garza pled guilty to conspiracy to mail threatening communications, to commit stalking, and to interfere with federally protected activities. On September 8, 2020, he was sentenced to 16 months in federal prison.
Tyler “Taylor” Parker-Dipeppe pled guilty to conspiracy to mail threatening communications, to commit stalking, and to interfere with federally protected activities. Taylor, who is transgender, uses he/him pronouns and goes by the name Tyler, was abused by his biological father and stepfather growing up. Growing up in Egg Harbor, New Jersey, he was so severely bullied in school for identifying as male, that he brought a lawsuit against the school and was paid a $50,000 settlement. Parker-Dipeppe fell into Atomwaffen when he was 15 or 16, and found a family within the group while hiding he is transgender.
As the only person in the Florida Atomwaffen cell that owned a car, he and another member drove to St. Petersburg, Florida to affix threatening posters on a journalist’s home, but went to the wrong house. After making the threat, Parker-Dipeppe confessed to his mother what had happened and was afraid the group would learn he is transgender. He confessed his LGBTQIA status to Shea in Washington state and was kicked out of Atomwaffen.
On September 8, 2020, United States District Judge John Coughenour sentenced Parker-Dipeppe to time served, saying he struggled with sentencing but given his history, “enough is enough.” Parker-Dipeppe is now married and employed, and fears that he will be targeted for violence in the future.
Brandon Clint Russell pled guilty to one count of possessing an unregistered destructive device and one count of unlawful storage of explosive material. On January 9, 2018, he was sentenced to 60 months in federal prison. While awaiting sentencing in jail, Russell tried to send bomb-making information to members of Atomwaffen. He wrote in one letter, “I don’t care how long you put me in jail, your Honor, … as soon as I get out, I will go right back to fight for my White Race and my America!” Russell will be eligible for release in January 2023.
Matthew Heimbach’s life and connections with the white nationalist movement fell apart in 2017. On March 2, 2016, Heimbach was caught on camera harassing and shoving a Black woman at a Donald Trump rally in Louisville, Kentucky. As the incident unfolded, then-candidate Trump yelled, “get her out!” On May 17, 2017, Heimbach was charged with misdemeanor harassment. Heimbach called the charges “politically motivated” and said he “acted pursuant to the directives and requests of Donald J. Trump.” On July 20, 2017, Heimbach cut a plea deal. He was fined $145 and sentenced to 90 days in jail for second-degree disorderly conduct. The sentence was suspended through a deferred adjudication agreement that required Heimbach not to get in further legal trouble for the next two years.
On March 14, 2018, Heimbach was arrested again for two counts of domestic violence assault against his wife, Jessica Parrott, and his father-in-law Matt Parrott. Ms. Parrott believed that Heimbach was having an affair, so she and her father set up a sting operation to confirm her suspicions. Her suspicion was well placed, but to the pair’s surprise, Heimbach was having an affair with his mother-in-law. Heimbach allegedly choked his father-in-law until he lost consciousness. Ms. Parrott told police that Heimbach “demanded that I tell the cops to leave,” kicked a wall, grabbed her face, and threw me face-first into a bed.” Despite violating his deferred adjudication agreement and being charged with two domestic violence assaults, bail was set for $1,000.
On May 16, 2018, Heimbach was sentenced to 37 days in jail for violating his 2017 plea agreement. In a June 2018 hearing, the Parrotts did not want to pursue charges. After the 2018 domestic violence incident, the Traditionalist Worker Party, which Heimbach founded with Parrott, collapsed.
The neo-Nazi and white nationalist movements have rejected Heimbach, labeling him a traitor, informant, and a communist. In 2020, he stated he was done with identifying with white nationalism.
Heimbach was named a defendant in Sines v. Kessler in October 2017 due to the violence that erupted at the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally. Heimbach was found liable for civil conspiracy and ordered to pay $500,000 in punitive damages.
James Mason still writes about Charles Manson, calls for violence against Jews, and his support of neo-Nazi ideals. He is currently considered the leader of Atomwaffen, an allegation he denies. Mason claims that Atomwaffen collapsed in 2020 after the arrests of key leaders.
Mason has a significant criminal record including a 1992 guilty plea of “illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented materials” after two police raids in 1988 and 1991 found child pornography in his home. He was fined $500. In 1994 Mason was arrested again and charged with two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Mason, who was 42 years old at the time, had threatened his Latina 16-year-old ex-girlfriend and her mother with a gun. He was sentenced to 36 months in prison.
Jared Taylor continues to lead the faux think tank American Renaissance. Taylor doesn’t view Jews as a threat to a new order. He severed his ties with Heimbach as he became more radicalized by RIM and Atomwaffen. In 2017, Taylor had a front-row VIP seat at the inauguration of President Donald Trump. Taylor is banned from traveling to 26 European Union nations that comprise the Schengen Area.
Richard Spencer’s life also fell apart in 2017. Spencer planned to hold a neo-Nazi march in Whitefish, Montana, in January 2017. Congressional Representative Ryan Zinke, Senator Steve Daines, Senator Jon Tester, Montana Governor Steve Bullock, and Montana Attorney General Tim Fox condemned the planned event. The community of Whitefish rallied to create a counterprotest, and the march never happened. Spencer became a pariah in Montana and was forced to move to an apartment in Virginia.
In 2014 while doing a speaking tour in Hungary, Spencer enraged Prime Minister Viktor Orban so much, that the right-wing leader pressed through legislation that banned Spencer – the Polish government passed a similar measure. In 2018 Spencer was detained in Iceland trying to enter Sweden and was forced to return to the United States due to his ban on travel in the Schengen Area.
Also, in 2018, his Russian-born wife filed for divorce, accusing him of being abusive in their marriage. Audio recordings and text messages sent to Nina Kouprianova threatened to break her nose and encouraged her to commit suicide.
Spencer was threatened with jail time in June 2020, owing more than $60,000 to the guardian ad litem assigned to defend the interests of the two children he had with his ex-wife. He was also named a defendant in Sines v. Kessler in October 2017 and ordered to pay $500,000 in punitive damages.
Stanislav Shevchuk was sanctioned by the United States Department of Treasury on June 15, 2022, for reaching out to individuals in the United States for the purpose of identifying racially and ethnically motivated violent extremists to support fundraising, training, and recruitment.
Russia Imperialist Movement – RIM does not support Russian President Vladimir Putin and his regime. Still, they see his policies and the war in Ukraine as a means to move their white nationalistic plan forward. It is believed several thousand mercenaries are part of the Imperial Legion fighting in Ukraine, the Central African Republic, Lybia, and Syria. The Imperialist Movement maintains Russian sanction training centers in St. Petersburg and Moscow (both in Russia). It is believed the Imperial Legion assists in training contract volunteers of the Russian army and forced conscripts of the DNR and LNR north of Izyum, Ukraine. Imperial Legion fighters report directly to the Russian armed forces command structure and work cooperatively with the Russian Federation Armed Forces, DNR, and LNR separatists. They continue to train foreign fighters in combat and terrorist tactics worldwide with the blessing of the Kremlin.
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