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From the Archive: Investigative Reporter A. C. Thompson Exposes Atomwaffen, Armed White Nationalist Group

The January 6 Capitol riot has forced the FBI and Justice Department to focus on armed white extremist groups.  But we have no indication they’ve gone beyond the Trump loyalists who are being investigated and charged. Back in 2018, investigative report A.C. Thompson of ProPublica–who has more recently reported for PBS Frontline–shared his reporting on a Southern California murder that exposed the group called Atomwaffen.  The suspect in the case detailed in this podcast, Sam Woodward, is due to go on trial in Orange County this summer.

Here is the original text posted with the interview:

Journalist A. C. Thompson of ProPublica shares the results of his deep investigation into Atomwaffen, an armed white extremist group that is implicated in 5 murder cases in the past year.

 Thompson details his investigation of Atomwaffen, a growing neo-Nazi and murderous white supremacist group with heavily armed members in about 20 American cities.

Founded and run by young, white males, the group has expanded in the wake of the protests last year in Charlottesville, VA. One member, Samuel Woodward, is charged in Orange County, CA, with the January 2018 murder of 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein — a gay, Jewish college stud

Thompson’s team at the website ProPublica obtained and reviewed some 250,000 chat messages exchanged by Atomwaffen (German for “nuclear weapons”) supporters, including hateful, anti-Semitic comments about Bernstein’s murder. Thompson notes that Atomwaffen is not aligned with Trump. The group’s guru is James Mason — who joined the American Nazi Party in the 1960s and wrote Siege, which is considered Atomwaffen’s manifesto.

In the space of a few months, people associated with the group have been charged in five murders; another member pleaded guilty to possession of explosives in a possible plot to blow up a nuclear facility near Miami.

Despite this — and threats by a Las Vegas member to target the power grid in the West — Thompson says the FBI shows little interest in Atomwaffen, and there’s no indication that the FBI is deploying undercover agents or using the techniques that have become commonplace in domestic terrorism investigations that target Muslim Americans.

You can read the ProPublica report here.