A US leader of a neo-Nazi group was sentenced to seven years in prison on Tuesday for threatening journalists working to expose anti-Semitic activity in the United States.
Kaleb Cole of Seattle has been identified by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) as a leader within the neo-Nazi Atomwaffen division, which is referred to as an international neo-Nazi terrorist network.
One thing that immediately stands out about Cole – given his leadership status within the terrorist entity – is his age, as he’s only 25.
The Atomwaffen Division is made up of several cells across Europe and North America which spread hate propaganda and endeavor to provoke a racial war against all those they consider enemies of the Anglo-Saxon race, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
According to some sources, several Atomwaffen members have been linked to violent crimes such as murders as well as alleged plots to attack synagogues and nuclear facilities.
It would play into their name because Atomwaffen is German for atomic weapons.
As a leader within the organization, Cole “has repeatedly encouraged violence, stockpiled weapons and organized ‘hate camps”, “according to US prosecutor Nick Brown.
These hate camps consist of hiking tours and military-style training drills that are used to indoctrinate new recruits into neofascist ideology and prepare them for the eventual collapse of society, according to the ADL.
During his trial, prosecutors described Cole as a figure who threatened and intimidated journalists and activists who sought to expose his anti-Semitic agenda across the country.
This included cyberstalking as well as sending threatening posters and even pasting them to the homes of his victims in January 2020.
Cole himself created the posters, one of which depicts a hooded figure in a skullcap balaclava, holding a molotov cocktail, with a warning of “Our patience has its limits” written below.
The poster also displays the Atomwaffen badge at the bottom with an almost ironically humorous greeting: “You have been visited by your local Nazis”.
Those targeted by Cole were primarily Jewish and journalists of color, according to the DOJ.
His actions have forced his victims to relocate and install home security systems for fear of reprisal for their reporting.
One in particular began to open her mailbox from a distance for fear that hazardous materials had been planted inside.
As a terrorist organization with multiple cells spread across two continents, Atomwaffen has an active online presence in which they promote their hateful Third Reich ideology and discuss acts of violence committed by members in multiple chat rooms.
Their violent plans and aspirations range from destroying critical urban infrastructure to targeted assassinations against individuals belonging to a race or religion other than theirs.
Encrypted chats obtained by ProPublica show that members of the group considered bombing public water systems and electricity grids.
They also used their online forums to idolize other national terrorists such as Timothy McVeigh, whose 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma killed 168 people and was the terrorist act. the deadliest before September 11 in the United States.
Publishing plans to commit acts of terrorism online isn’t the brightest idea, however, with Atomwaffen member pleading guilty to possession of explosives after authorities uncovered his plot potential to destroy a nuclear facility near Miami.
Another Atomwaffen radical named Samuel Woodward gained particular fame for his alleged murder of Blaze Bernstein in 2018.
Bernstein, 19 and openly gay and Jewish, was allegedly stabbed by Woodward more than 20 times and buried in a park in Orange County, Calif., According to ProPublica.
The two once attended the same high school together.
After the murder, Woodward’s other Atomwaffen members rallied online to praise his alleged actions and extol his status as a “gay Jewish wrecking team.”
They also threatened the lives of anyone who alerted the media to his alleged role in Bernstein’s murder, saying “rats and traitors get the rope first.”
If proven guilty, Woodward, who was 20 at the time, demonstrates that – just like Cole – already at a young age, one is capable of radicalizing oneself to commit such acts of hate.