4 min read

sitting ducks. easy prey.

We just wrapped up an investigation into the activities of a prominent white power leader prior to his arrest in early February on charges related to an alleged plot targeting critical infrastructure.

The piece follows Brandon Russell, the founder of the terroristic white power organization Atomwaffen Divison, as he encourages a cadre of militant neo-Nazis to attack electricity, water and transport facilities. Multiple pseudonymous accounts tied to Russell shared guides, maps, and other material that resemble a plot he and his apparent accomplice/love interest, Sarah Beth Clendaniel, are accused of attempting to execute in Baltimore. The title of this dispatch refers to an excerpt of a 14-page PDF that a user under one of the pseudonyms tied to Russell shared and refers, specifically, to power substations.

Leaked Chats, Documents Show Atomwaffen Founder’s Path to Terror Plot
Leaked chats, documents and online materials have revealed that Atomwaffen Division (AWD) founder Brandon Clint Russell was secretly but tirelessly active as a white-power propagandist and organizer between his release from prison in 2021 and his arrest on charges of plotting terror attacks last wee…

If I'm being honest, it's one of the bleaker pieces I've worked on in a while. On the Friday after we filed, I felt like I got bricked in the face.

The chats, which span from July to November of 2022, are nothing but a barrage of propaganda. I've gone through a lot of leaked chats, including ones from Russell's group, Atomwaffen Division. In these, though, you'd be hard pressed to find any discussions of anything personal, or even jokes for that matter. Even in communications referenced by prosecutors, the closest you get is Clendaniel, who allegedly stated that her goal was to "accomplish something worthwhile" before her death from a terminal illness.

More to the point, though, the material itself just presents such a dismal view of human nature that I find hard to reckon with. The milieu, which we refer to as white power accelerationists, that Russell associates himself with fetishizes terrorism and refer to mass murderers as "saints." Accelerationists believe that American society sits on the precipice of a race war, and that given the right circumstances, most white Americans will join their cause and usher in a national socialist utopia through an outburst of revolutionary violence.

Anyway, give it a read. If you feel shitty afterwards, here's a Twitter account that posts great new wave clips. Or, for something goofier, here's a cat vibing to New Order.


In related news, my colleagues Michael Edison Hayden and Megan Squire released the fourth part of their series based on a trove of Alex Jones's text messages. I contributed a few lines about the time I got kicked out of an Infowars event during CPAC 2020. (I'm innocent.) That's not the exciting part, though, I just think it's funny.

Alex Jones on alleged FBI monitoring of Nick Fuentes: ‘It’s a trap’
Two years before Alex Jones partnered with Nick Fuentes through his streaming website, Cozy.TV, Infowars performer Millie Weaver warned Jones against associating with the antisemite, claiming that the FBI monitored him, texts show.

It focuses on Matt Colligan, a "Unite the Right" participant who's known in the movement under his stage name "Millennial Matt." According to a former Infowars performer, Colligan told her he's an FBI informant. We later found him saying, "I'm not an informant," on a podcast, and the clip is just incredible.

It's a very different case, but I just kept thinking back to some reporting from last year on Joshua Sutter, a former Atomwaffen member who ran a really grotesque neo-Nazi Satanist group called Tempel ov Blood.  

Sutter, it turns out, was a paid federal informant and had been for nearly 20 years. But he wasn't just any longstanding informant — Sutter's Tempel ov Blood helped shape Atomwaffen's ideology and aesthetics.

And while FBI infiltration may have accelerated Atomwaffen's collapse, Sutter's case makes me wonder: At what cost?