All-American Nazis: Inside the Rise of Fascist Youth in the U.S.

Increasingly, Andrew obsessed over issues like climate change and the Syrian refugee crisis. He’d also embraced an apocalyptic and conspiratorial worldview in which Western civilization was doomed, and he, a white male, was a victim. He was amazed at his parents’ complacency. Didn’t they realize blacks were responsible for 80 percent of the crime in America? he’d falsely claim, using statistics that seemed drawn from nowhere.

…Andrew Oneschuk was one of a raft of alienated young men who, over the past several years, found their way into the self-reinforcing online universe of the far right. It was a phenomenon that, for a great many people, seemed to come out of nowhere: “Ordinary” boys from ordinary towns in relatively ordinary economic circumstances had suddenly aligned themselves with white supremacy. They had come to believe, through an intricate online world, that everything they’d ever learned was, essentially, a lie. In the lingo of the Internet, they’d been “red pilled,” Matrix style, their adolescent anomie exploited through a cottage industry of websites, Reddit threads, Twitter feeds, YouTube videos, and scores of memes laced with a sort of deceptive irony that made it hard to know what’s a joke and what’s not.

…All-American Nazis

News
Video
Music
Politics
TV
Movies
RS Country
RS Hip-Hop
Lists
More
TRENDING
‘SNL’: Watch Tina Fey Reprise Sarah Palin Impersonation
‘SNL’: Watch Tina Fey Reprise Sarah Palin Impersonation
Tina Fey on ‘SNL’: 3 Sketches You Have to See
Tina Fey on ‘SNL’: 3 Sketches You Have to See
The Mysterious Heir of Extreme Travel
The Mysterious Heir of Extreme Travel
Opioid Crisis: What People Don’t Know About Heroin
Opioid Crisis: What People Don’t Know About Heroin
All-American Nazis
How a senseless double murder in Florida exposed the rise of an organized fascist youth movement in the United States

By Janet Reitman
May 2, 2018
More News
Opioid Crisis: What People Don’t Know About Heroin
Trump and Pence Grieve for Santa Fe Victims 2 Weeks After Speaking at a Texas NRA Rally
From ‘Making a Murderer to ‘Evil Genius’: Netflix’s Crime-Doc Golden Age
Rudy Giuliani Is Terrified That Trump Will Lie to Mueller
They Are All MS-13 to Trump
All Stories

Mike McQuade for Rolling Stone
Andrew Oneschuk and Jeremy Himmelman had been living in Tampa, Florida, for two weeks when, on Friday, May 19th, 2017, their roommate Devon Arthurs picked up an AK-47 rifle and shot them at close range. Oneschuk had just turned 18. Himmelman was 22. They’d been staying in a lush gated community near the University of South Florida, in a two-bedroom, terra-cotta condo rented by their fourth roommate, 21-year-old Brandon Russell, a rich kid from the Bahamas who worked at a gun shop and served in the Florida National Guard. Oneschuk, a prep-school dropout, was hoping to become a Navy SEAL. Himmelman also considered the military, though he was more of a drifter. Eighteen-year-old Arthurs, a pale, freckled kid who sometimes called himself “Khalid,” was unemployed and spent most of his time playing video games. All four had met one another online, in forums and chat rooms popular with the more extreme segment of the so-called alt-right.

RELATED

Teenage Jihad: The World of American Kids Seduced by ISIS
Why did three American kids from the suburbs of Chicago try to run away to the Islamic state, and should the Feds treat them as terrorists?

It was about 5:20 p.m. when Arthurs, dressed in jeans and a green polo shirt, casually strolled into the community’s leasing office and announced he’d just committed murder. “He was extremely calm,” one witness recalled, and he gave “a little speech” about U.S. war crimes in the Middle East. Then he wandered across the street and into a strip-mall smoke shop, where, brandishing a Glock semiautomatic pistol, he took three people hostage. The cops arrived within minutes. “I was never going to shoot anyone,” Arthurs said as he surrendered. They drove back to the condo, arriving just as Russell, in his military fatigues, ran out the door “hysterical and screaming,” as one cop put it. Arthurs seemed unmoved. “He doesn’t know what’s going on,” he said about his roommate, “and he just found them like you guys just did.”

The bodies lay in a small bedroom at the top of a carpeted staircase: Himmelman, a beefy kid in black basketball shorts and a black T-shirt, was slumped on a futon, with the back of his skull blown off. Oneschuk, lying supine on the floor in a white tank top and khakis, had also been shot in the head. In a second bedroom, the police discovered a 12-gauge shotgun and two large metal ammunition boxes full of live rounds. Also found in the condo: several copies of Mein Kampf, a gas mask, a trove of neo-Nazi and white-supremacist propaganda, and a framed photo of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

The local bomb squad was called to examine the contents of the garage: a “mini lab” of chemicals, as federal prosecutors later put it. In one corner, a small cooler marked with the name “Brandon” was filled with HMTD, a white cakelike substance often used in making homemade explosives. Russell, a onetime physics major, later told police he’d used the HMTD to boost DIY rockets with his college engineering club. “It’s not illegal,” he said. “You can go on eBay and buy it.”

Arthurs told a different story. “It’s all there specifically to kill people,” he said. Sitting in a small interrogation room in his sweat socks, he explained to the cops that his roommates were “national socialists” and members of a neo-fascist group called Atomwaffen Division, German for “nuclear weapons.” Russell had founded the group, which Arthurs – who’d recently converted to Islam – claimed had about 60 or 70 members nationwide. “Atomwaffen is a terrorist organization,” he said. He’d taken part in online chats where Russell and the others discussed plans to bomb power lines, synagogues, even Miami’s Turkey Point nuclear plant. “Brandon is literally somebody that has the knowledge to build a nuclear bomb,” he said. “I’m not meme-ing about that,” he added, Internet-speak for “fucking around.”

The detective, striking a dubious tone, asked him why his friends would make bombs. Arthurs looked at him, dumbfounded. “Because,” he said, “they want to build a Fourth Reich.”

Clockwise from top left: Devon Arthurs, Brandon Russell, Andrew Oneschuk and Jeremy Himmelman. The Atomwaffen members met on the Internet, and briefly lived together in a condo near the University of South Florida in Tampa. Shortly after killing Oneschuk and Himmelman, Arthurs told police, “Atomwaffen is a terrorist organization.”
1. The Red Pill

“We knew that Andrew had some bigoted right-wing views, and of course we hated that,” Walt Oneschuk tells me. Months after the murders, Andrew’s parents, Walt and Chris, still struggle to make sense of what happened to their youngest child and only son. “I’ve seen long Facebook threads of comments from people saying things like, ‘Good, I’m glad he’s dead,’ ” says Walt, a pained-looking man with a dark mustache. “He was barely 18.”

The Oneschuks live on a wooded cul-de-sac in Wakefield, Massachusetts, an upper-middle-class suburb just north of Boston. When I arrive at their house one winter evening, Chris, a determinedly cheerful woman in jeans and a fleece pullover, gives me a prayer card from Andrew’s funeral. On it is a photo of a handsome teenager with light-brown facial hair, wearing a gray snowflake sweater. The picture was taken on a hiking trip in the White Mountains, one of Andrew’s favorite spots. Growing up, Chris tells me, he liked to don his headlamp and head into the woods behind his family’s large tan colonial to spend the night amid the trees. His parents show me photos: Andrew hiking Mount Washington; in a scuba mask during a family trip to Hawaii. “He enjoyed a lot of outdoor things,” says Walt.

Nonetheless, Andrew often seemed miserable – anger was “his default emotion,” his older sister, Emily, later tells me. He attended two different private schools, each of which he hated. Team sports didn’t interest him. Neither did most of his peers. “The antithesis of what Andrew wanted to be was a white suburban prep-school kid,” says Emily, who now serves as a junior officer in the Navy. “I think we were both looking for adventure, something bigger and more interesting.”

Like Emily and his father, a former Navy pilot, Andrew wanted a military career. In grade school, he pored over stories of the French Foreign Legion. At 12, he started collecting pins belonging to the Spetsnaz, the Russian Special Forces. The next year, he became obsessed with the German Wehrmacht, whose weapons and uniforms he painstakingly memorized. One day he went online and ordered a replica SS jacket – he liked the “aesthetic,” he said.

When the detective asked why his friends would want to make bombs, Devon acted like it was obvious. “Because,” he said, “they want to build a Fourth Reich.”
Emily believes that some of her brother’s problems stem from their father’s absence – in 2010, when Andrew was entering middle school, Walt, an engineer who served in the Navy Reserve, deployed to Iraq for a year, followed by a lengthy stint shuttling back and forth to Afghanistan as a contractor. “That’s when Andrew began to warp,” she says. Crushed by his father’s absence, he lashed out at Chris. “It was a rough situation without Walter there,” says Chris’ close friend Anita Roman.

Andrew began throwing around the word “nigger,” his sister says, though she repeatedly scolded him. At school, he complained the other boys were “faggots,” a favorite term he used so often that his family, finding him increasingly hard to discipline, tuned it out. Walt worried about alienating his teenage son, whose inchoate anger had become more pronounced. “You’re a cuck,” he told Walt at one point.

Increasingly, Andrew obsessed over issues like climate change and the Syrian refugee crisis. He’d also embraced an apocalyptic and conspiratorial worldview in which Western civilization was doomed, and he, a white male, was a victim. He was amazed at his parents’ complacency. Didn’t they realize blacks were responsible for 80 percent of the crime in America? he’d falsely claim, using statistics that seemed drawn from nowhere. “America is shit,” he said. “My generation is failing.”

By freshman year, Andrew was spending most of his time secluded on the third floor of the house, chatting online. He seemed to be active on various forums for Airsoft, a paramilitary game that attracts mostly white men from the U.S. and Europe, some of them soldiers, others who would like to be. Russia, in particular, has a thriving Airsoft community, which largely promotes itself through YouTube. “Andrew watched tons of YouTube videos,” Emily says.

Before long, he had an account on the Russian social-networking site VK, a central platform for Ukrainian separatists looking for idealistic recruits. Andrew, who was one-eighth Ukrainian, took to the cause, chatting with fighters and their allies. He began formulating a plan to join the Azov Battalion, a notoriously brutal band of international fighters helping in the resistance against the Russians. In January 2015, Andrew bought a fake passport and a one-way ticket to Kiev. The day before he was set to leave, having packed his camping gear and arranged for a limousine to Logan Airport, he casually told his mother on the way home from school, “I think I’m going to go to Ukraine.”

“We went into crisis mode,” Chris tells me. Two days after they canceled his trip to Kiev, the Oneschuks brought Andrew to a psychiatrist at Boston Children’s Hospital. He had been to see several counselors by this point. “They always said he was fine, just being a kid,” she says. Chris suspected he manipulated the counselors. For the next few months, he attended regular therapy sessions but “accomplished zero,” she says. Meanwhile, Andrew completed his sophomore year in almost total isolation. “His politics were just too weird,” says his sister. “He alienated people.”

Emily had been concerned when Andrew went through his German-army phase, though some of her friends told her that they’d also thought the SS was cool when they were younger. “I don’t think they understood they were actually bad guys,” says Emily. “It’s more like the bad guys in Indiana Jones with the cool car.” But Andrew took it further, eventually adopting the online handle “Borovikov,” after a famous Russian neo-Nazi gang leader. That spring, he hung an SS flag in his bedroom as well as a giant swastika. Emily was aghast. “I pleaded with my father to make Andrew take them down,” she says. “I really don’t think my parents got how appalling it was.”

She walked into Andrew’s room and ripped the flags off the wall. “You’re a Nazi,” she said.

“I’m not a Nazi,” he replied. “I’m a national socialist.”

Andrew Oneschuk was one of a raft of alienated young men who, over the past several years, found their way into the self-reinforcing online universe of the far right. It was a phenomenon that, for a great many people, seemed to come out of nowhere: “Ordinary” boys from ordinary towns in relatively ordinary economic circumstances had suddenly aligned themselves with white supremacy. They had come to believe, through an intricate online world, that everything they’d ever learned was, essentially, a lie. In the lingo of the Internet, they’d been “red pilled,” Matrix style, their adolescent anomie exploited through a cottage industry of websites, Reddit threads, Twitter feeds, YouTube videos, and scores of memes laced with a sort of deceptive irony that made it hard to know what’s a joke and what’s not. Adolf Hitler holding a PlayStation controller; Jamba Juice cups wearing yarmulkes and payot; the anti-Semitic- cartoon character known as the Happy Merchant, often portrayed making off with someone’s money. There were anime characters dressed as fascists, and “Nazi Ponies,” which was a Tumblr blog, then a VK page, a Twitter feed and a series of YouTube videos that showcased My Little Ponies accessorized with swastika armbands or clad in full SS regalia.

Between 2012 and 2016, according to a report by George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, there was a 600 percent increase in followers of American white-nationalist movements on Twitter alone; white-nationalist groups now outperform ISIS in nearly every social metric. Analysts who study extremism note that both the far right and groups like ISIS use similar tactics, producing high-quality videos and employing memes and jokes to make their message more appealing. “The overall goal is to destabilize people so you can then fill them with your own views,” says Keegan Hankes, a senior research analyst with the Southern Poverty Law Center. “If you make racism or anti-Semitism funny, you can subvert the cultural taboo. Make people laugh at the Holocaust – you’ve opened a space in which history and fact become worthless, period.”

…Capitalizing on this ambiguity, two longtime denizens of 4chan saw a chance to bring fascism to the masses, positioning it as both radical and cool: a new counter-culture. One was Andrew Auernheimer, 32, an infamous troll and former hacktivist known as “weev,” who in many ways embodies the ambiguous nature of online extremism. …He emerged from the pen sporting a swastika tattoo, and committed himself to spreading the message of “global white supremacy,” as he put it. “I converted a Bernie Sanders supporter into a race warrior in nine tweets,” he boasted in 2016.

Auernheimer found an ideological soulmate in Andrew Anglin, founder of the Daily Stormer, one of the most influential far-right websites on the Internet. Anglin, 33, is a former vegan from an upper-middle-class suburb of Columbus, Ohio, who “got into Hitler,” as he said, by hanging out on 4chan. In 2013, he decided to create a new platform for these views, launching Daily Stormer as a news site mixing the clickbait style of Gawker with 4chan’s trolling sensibility. Jews were “kikes.” Blacks were “nignogs” or “chimps.” Women were “sluts,” “whores,” “bitches,” “harlots,” “slags” and “skags.” Mainstream culture was “shitlib.” Anti-Semitism was funny – so funny that the site was awash with swastikas.

The Daily Stormer’s target audience …was the “ADHD demographic.” …Writers were instructed to avoid “college words” and stick to an eighth-grade vocabulary. “

…[The] Overton Window, a wonky poli-sci concept describing the process of changing public opinion to accept ideas that might have previously been radioactive. …From the perspective of white nationalists like Auernheimer (who recently floated the idea of murdering Jewish children in the name of free speech), outrageous anti-Semitism might shift the window far enough to the right that a goal of an immigrant-free, white ethnostate would look almost palatable.

…he younger generation Z,” who had come to see that “the mainstream media is deceptive and evil, [social-justice warriors] are stupid and annoying, and liberalism is boring and square.” This turn of events, he noted, presented modern-day fascists with a unique opportunity. “[W]e can lead the youth in a rebellious cultural upheaval against the previous generations of stuck-up boring adults,” he said. “If we can help mold a social movement like the hippies did, that should give us a huge source of radicalized and militant recruits to bolster our ranks in the next five years.”

…The use of the term “national socialism” – the ideology espoused by the Nazis – is increasingly promoted by far-right groups as a form of rebranding.

…National socialism was a frequent topic of conversation on politically themed Minecraft servers. It was “edgy” to call yourself a fascist, says one of Devon’s gamer friends, Nero.

…The site’s slogan, “Gas the Kikes! Race War Now! 14/88 Boots on the Ground,” paid homage to two central precepts of neo-Nazi ideology – the number 88, or so-called double H, representing the words “Heil Hitler,” and a slogan known as the Fourteen Words: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” …Siege infused national socialism with the anti-capitalist, hippie ethos of Mason’s hero, Charles Manson. “The only recourse for National Socialist Revolutionaries,” Mason’s book explains, “is to go underground and build their own armed struggle to wage war against the State.”

…On the night of May 1st, 2016, a series of racist fliers appeared around the campus of Boston University. Black lives don’t matter, read one. The Nazis are coming! The Nazis are coming! read a second, signed “Atomwaffen Division Massachusetts.” A grainy surveillance video broadcast widely on local TV news showed a sneaker-clad young man in a black hooded raincoat and khakis, whom Chris and Emily Oneschuk later concluded was almost certainly Andrew. The “stickercaust,” Zeiger wrote on the Daily Stormer, was the work of “heroic patriots.” “If we cause a media storm every time we put up a few stickers, we’ll own the news media,” he wrote. “[And] if they stop covering our propaganda, we also win; it means the system is now desensitized to hardcore nazism.”

…The theme of liberal oppression was one of the key strains of the Trump campaign, which Andrew had begun to embrace. Trump’s angry rhetoric fed Andrew’s sense of personal injustice.

…The theme of liberal oppression was one of the key strains of the Trump campaign, which Andrew had begun to embrace. Trump’s angry rhetoric fed Andrew’s sense of personal injustice.

… “He drives around offering homeless guys $20 to say ‘The Holocaust never happened’ while he films them,” Jeremy told a friend. He seemed eager to stage another stickercaust, his Dodge Nitro littered with campus fliers bearing slogans like Don’t prepare for exams! Prepare for race war!

…Florida has the second-largest concentration of hate groups in the country, according to the SPLC, a number of which are located between Orlando and Tampa. Until May 19th of last year, neither the local nor state law enforcement had ever heard of the Atomwaffen Division. One former Florida state cop explained it as a matter of priorities. “Neo-Nazis have been around so long, they’re like wallpaper,” he said. But there are dwindling resources for intelligence gathering, he added. “When local intelligence officials want to know who the Nazis are, they go to the Southern Poverty Law Center website.”

…Since last fall, three more murders have been associated with the group. Just before Christmas, Nicholas Giampa, a 17-year-old who followed an Atomwaffen-related site called SiegeCulture, murdered his girlfriend’s parents at their home in Reston, Virginia. A few weeks later, in Orange County, California, Samuel Woodward, who’d taken part in at least one Atomwaffen Hate Camp, killed his high school friend Blaze Bernstein, who was gay and Jewish, stabbing him 20 times and burying him in a shallow grave. Atomwaffen members reportedly championed Woodward as a “one man gay Jew wrecking crew.”

All-American Nazis: Inside the Rise of Fascist Youth in the U.S. – Rolling Stone

What a clusterfuck of whackjob loser rejects.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s