American Neo-Nazi Leader Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison
An American leader of a neo-Nazi group was sentenced on Tuesday to seven years in prison for threatening journalists who worked to expose anti-Semitic activity in the United States.
Kaleb Cole of Seattle has been identified by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) as a leader within the neo-Nazi Atomwaffen Division, which is designated as an international neo-Nazi terrorist network.
One thing that immediately stands out about Cole - considering his leadership status within the terrorist entity - is his age, as he is only 25 years old.
The Atomwaffen Division is comprised of multiple cells across Europe and North America that spread hateful propaganda and work towards provoking a race war against all those whom they consider enemies of the Anglo-Saxon race, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
Reportedly, several Atomwaffen members have been linked to violent crimes such as murder as well as alleged plots to attack synagogues and nuclear facilities.
This would play into their name as Atomwaffen is German for atomic weapons.
As a leader within the organization, Cole “repeatedly promoted violence, stockpiled weapons, and organized ‘hate camps,’” according to U.S. Attorney Nick Brown.
These hate camps are comprised of hiking excursions and military-style training exercises that are used to indoctrinate new recruits into the neo-fascist ideology and prepare them for society’s eventual collapse, according to the ADL.
At his trial, prosecutors painted Cole as a figure who threatened and intimidated journalists and activists who sought to expose his anti-Semitic agenda around the country.
This included cyber-stalking as well as mailing threatening posters and even glueing them to his victims’ homes in January 2020.
Cole himself created these posters, one of which portrays a hooded figure in a skull-faced balaclava, holding a molotov cocktail, with a warning of “Our patience has its limits” inscribed below.
The poster also displays the Atomwaffen insignia at the bottom along with an almost ironically humorous greeting: “You have been visited by your local Nazis”.
Those targeted by Cole were primarily of Jewish descent and journalists of color, according to the DOJ.
His actions resulted in his victims having to relocate and install home security systems out of fear of retaliation for their reporting.
One in particular began to open her mailbox from a distance out of fear that dangerous materials had been planted inside.
As a terrorist organization with multiple cells spanning two continents, Atomwaffen has an active online presence wherein they promote their hate-filled Third Reich ideology and discuss violent acts committed by members across several chat rooms.
Their violent plans and aspirations range from destroying critical city infrastructure to targeted killings against individuals belonging to any race or religion that is not their own.
Encrypted chats obtained by ProPublica show that the group’s members have considered bombing public water systems and electrical power grids.
They have also used their online forums to idolize other domestic terrorists such as Timothy McVeigh, whose bombing of Oklahoma’s Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995 killed 168 people and was the deadliest pre-9/11 act of terrorism in the United States.
Posting plans to commit terrorism online is not the brightest idea one could conjure up, however, with one Atomwaffen member pleading guilty to possessing explosives after authorities uncovered his potential plot to destroy a nuclear facility near Miami.
Another Atomwaffen radical named Samuel Woodward gained particular renown for his alleged 2018 murder of Blaze Bernstein.
Bernstein, 19 years old and both openly gay and Jewish, was reportedly stabbed by Woodward over 20 times and buried in a park in Orange County, California, according to ProPublica.
The two formerly attended the same high-school together.
After the murder, Woodward’s fellow Atomwaffen members rallied online to praise his alleged actions and exalt his status as a “one man gay Jew wrecking crew.”
They also threatened the life of whoever alerted his alleged role in Bernstein’s murder to the media, stating that “Rats and traitors get the rope first.”
If proven guilty, Woodward, who was 20 at the time, demonstrates that - much like Cole - already at a young age one is capable of being radicalized to commit such acts of hatred.