A massive data leak from a far-right online message board reveals that a number of Mainers are connected to the neo-Nazi terrorist group Atomwaffen Division, a violent racist cult determined to provoke an apocalyptic race war by carrying out destabilizing terrorist attacks. An anonymous user with the handle “antifa-data” uploaded the posts, IP addresses, e-mails and other data from the now defunct neo-Nazi message board Iron March, where Atomwaffen did much of its recruiting between 2015 and 2017.
To date, Atomwaffen has been linked to at least eight murders, as well as various criminal acts, and to terrorist plots against gays, Jews and other minorities. In online videos, Atomwaffen members fire automatic weapons while shouting their rallying cry: “Gas the kikes! Race war now! Fourteen eighty-eight! Boots on the ground!” (Fourteen eighty-eight is white-supremacist shorthand for neo-Nazi slogans.)
The leaks indicate that a young man from Waterville expressed interested in joining Atomwaffen, and at least one other Mainer is likely involved in the terror network. State and federal law enforcement officials declined to comment last month on the information in the leak.
On Sept. 23, 2015, founding member Devin Arthurs, who went by the handle Weissewolfe, announced in a recruitment notice on Iron March that Atomwaffen had over 15 members — mostly in Florida, but also a “few guys” in Chicago, Texas and Maine.
“We are an ingroup focused on making capital and being a true Fascist fraternity,” he wrote. “Made up of all ages and European backgrounds, but with common goals.”
In May of 2017, Arthurs, then 18, gunned down two of his fellow Atomwaffen members, who were also his roommates, after they mocked him for his alleged conversion to Islam. He told police that he wanted to prevent them from murdering civilians and bombing nuclear reactors and synagogues. (According to ProPublica, a judge subsequently found Arthurs mentally incompetent to stand trail.)
A short time later, the FBI arrested Arthurs’ other roommate, Atomwaffen co-founder Brandon Russell, with a cache of assault weapons, more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, and materials for making explosives. Russell, a National Guard member who had a photo of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh on his wall, was sentenced to five years in prison in 2018. But the Atomwaffen seed had been planted, and other angry and alienated young white men across the country were joining the cause.
On June 13, 2017, just weeks after Arthurs and Russell were arrested in Florida, a 17-year-old boy from Waterville logged into Iron March and introduced himself to the community, after silently “lurking” on the site for several months prior. This user, who called himself Yankee Patriarch, said he had just graduated from high school and was on his way to college. It’s not known whether Yankee ever became an active member of Atomwaffen, but he told the Iron March community that he hoped to join it one day, and he was very clear about his commitment to its hateful ideology.
“The Jew must be gassed, plain and simple, no exceptions,” Yankee wrote in a post that first day. “Fags Very similar to the Jew. Prevented by their own lust from being able to see the eternal Truth and therefore need to be thrown into the bog.”
“My purpose for joining the forum is twofold,” the young Mainer continued. “First, I would like to continue my education on the Fascist worldview. While I have already learned much from the materials on this site, I hope to learn even more by interacting with actual Fascists. Second, I would like to begin participating in activism to wear down the system. While I may be a bit too young to do this as of now, I would like to look into joining up with the Atomwaffen Division.”
Efforts to reach Yankee Patriarch by e-mail were unsuccessful.
Yankee wrote that he had once been an “American Conservative,” but had gradually become radicalized online. One day it dawned on him that he’d been a fascist his “entire life without realizing it.” In 2015, Yankee began frequenting The Right Stuff, an anti-Semitic neo-Fascist blog, as well as 4Chan’s notorious /pol/ message board, which had become the most popular place on the Internet for the dissemination of misogynist and racist material.
“However, the attitudes of the people on these sites greatly pissed me off,” Yankee wrote in one post. “The whole ‘if it’s white it’s alright’ ‘work within the system’ ‘memes and Donald Trump will save the white race’ mentality infuriated me. After my ‘conservative’ days, I had largely abandoned the idea of working within the system.”
It was during this period that Yankee began to consider himself a “White Nationalist.”In December of 2016, Yankee discovered Iron March and began following the discussions. He was inspired to start reading Hitler’s Mein Kampf; the work of neo-Nazi William Pierce, whose writings inspired the 1995 Oklahama City bombing; and fellow Mainer George Lincoln Rockwell, the founder of the American Nazi Party. “It was when I discovered Iron March that I truly figured out what it means to be a Fascist,” Yankee wrote. “Fascism is not an idle interest or hobby, it is a worldview and lifestyle.”
Yankee had gone through several religious phases before discovering Esoteric Hitlerism, a mystical interpretation of the “teachings” of the dictator. It was, he said, “one of the only religions (if not the sole religion) to have not lost sight of the Truth.” If a “race rejects the Truth,” Yankee reasoned, “then that race is unworthy of life.” If members of a race are willing to accept “the Truth,” he wrote, “then [they] may continue [their] existence under the auspices of the Aryan.”
Yankee acknowledged in a July 2017 post that he had lost all his friends due to his beliefs, but added that he hadn’t had many friends to begin with. He said he gave up on the few pals that remained because they were “Alt-Right tier racist liberals at best” and “Ironmarch has provided me with all of the friends that I’ll ever need anyway.”
Yankee became obsessed with murderous cult leader Charlie Manson’s Helter Skelter philosophy, and Rockwell disciple James Mason’s book, Siege, a blueprint for far-right terrorism that is mandatory reading for all Atomwaffen members. Mason, 67, was once also an angry, alienated teenager, and he joined the American Nazi Party at the age of 14 in 1966, a year before Rockwell was murdered by a follower in a laundromat. In 1968, Mason confessed in a letter to Rockwell’s associate, William Pierce, that he planned to murder his high school principal and teachers. Pierce convinced him to quit school instead and move to Virginia and work at ANP headquarters.
Mason later founded the National Socialist Liberation Front (NSLF) and began cultivating his own warped ideology, which was influenced by both Hitler and Manson. He called for the establishment of a loose network of neo-Nazi terror cells to spread murder and mayhem, in order to create chaos, spark a race war, and rebuild an Aryan paradise from the ashes. Mason advocated “leaderless resistance,” by which small decentralized cells, or “lone wolves,” would commit seemingly random acts of violence to bring down the “Jewish-controlled state.” Mason’s ravings were largely ignored for years, until they were rediscovered by a new generation of young fascists, Atomwaffen, who use Siege as their bible.
Yankee Patriarch continued to post on Iron March until the site was mysteriously taken down in November of 2017. He told the group he’d started college in August, and many of the IP addresses he used appear to be connected to the University of Maine at Orono. “University officials are aware of the postings from three years ago,” said UMaine spokesman Dan Demeritt, “but we cannot comment on assessments conducted by the University of Maine Police Department or the identity and online activity of any community member or campus visitor accessing the internet from the University’s wireless network without a subpoena.”
This October, Mason told his fellow fascists about a science fiction story he had been writing titled “Yankee Patriarch.” It’s set here in Portland, in the year 2268. The story describes how a one-world government, known as the United Federation of Earth Nations, had taken over and allowed “violent aliens” to live among humans, who “live purposeless lives.” But one man has a solution: foment a violent revolution so the humans can rebuild a long lost civilization known as Acheron, where they can live lives of “purpose and meaning.”
Today, Yankee Patriarch would be about 20 years old and possibly still in college. Perhaps he grew out of his Nazi phase and somehow found contentment in life. If so, we’ll probably never know his identity. If not, we can only hope we never know it.