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Young Shitlers: How Teen Edgelords Became the New Leaders of the Neo-Nazi Movement

They’re not old enough to buy a gun, and in some cases, they’re not even old enough to drive. But their commitment to hate and violence belies their age — and the men who came before them.

In January, Estonian authorities arrested a 13-year old boy for conducting a campaign of international terror in service of the white race. The teen was the leader of a worldwide neo-Nazi organization called Feuerkrieg Divsion, or FKD (feuerkrieg is German for “fire”), that operated with the same modus operandi of ISIS and other global terror networks. He was primarily known in online circles as “Commander,” but also “Kriegsherr” (German for “warlord”), “Noz” (presumably a play on Nazi) and “British Fascist.” He was believed to be a bright young leader of the hateful — only not that young. FKD members assumed he was at least old enough to drive a car. 

Commander strikes a pose

The kid, whose real name hasn’t been released due to Estonian privacy laws for minors, co-founded FKD on October 20, 2018, which means that he was either 11 or 12 at the time. Throughout his two-year reign as a leader of a global neo-Nazi terror network, Commander lived on Saaremaa, the largest island of Estonia and home to 13,276 people. The fact that he was a tween most of this time was easy enough to hide since his band of white supremacists had to rely on encrypted chats for the bulk of their interactions. 

FKD’s membership spanned 15 countries. The exact number of members is unknown, but estimates put it at 30 active members, or about 14 to 40 members and associates. According to the Anti-Defamation League, “FKD embraces ‘Siegeculture,’ a philosophy, political orientation, spiritual outlook and solution to societal problems that’s dominated by hate and an embrace of violence anchored in fascist ideology. The ideology weaves the teachings and actions of James Mason, Adolf Hitler and Charles Manson, among others, into a tapestry of extreme hate.” 

“One of Feuerkrieg Division’s apparent goals is to create a whites-only ethno-state where citizens are able to survive off the land,” the ADL continues. “They preach self-sufficiency in preparation for the anticipated societal collapse, and users often discuss plans to acquire illegal weapons, illegally modify weapons and manufacture explosives and ammunition.”

Meanwhile, the anti-fascist blog Eugene Antifa has extensive records on Commander and his leadership of FKD: “Feuerkrieg Division began in a fairly typical manner for a fascist group. For most of its existence, ‘Commander’ was the sole leader of the group, and every decision needed his approval. While he, and even the membership, might say that it was a leaderless group, this is clearly untrue. ‘Commander’ held every password to every account and had ultimate decision over all optics and organizational movements. His removal from the group was a powerful blow, and it is unlikely that the group can recover.”

While that last statement is ostensibly true and FKD has formally disbanded, the members haven’t left neo-Nazism behind. They’ve merely reformed as new groups with new names. They migrate to replacement white supremacist spaces online. They create new Facebook communities, Instagram accounts, Gab accounts, Discord groups and encrypted Telegram chats. And just like with Commander, increasingly, it’s the very young ones who hold the passwords for those accounts. 

* * * * * 

One reason that the young ones are grabbing the reins of the hate machine online is that the men who would be kings of white supremacy have shown themselves to be embarrassments to the notion of a master race. 

First and foremost, there’s the aforementioned 67-year-old Mason. He first joined the American Nazi Party in the late 1960s back when he was a teenager, and by the 1980s, he was in his prime as a bigot. He penned hateful missives and books like Siege, which imagined the coming race war. “Revolutionary discipline must mean that WE will be the single survivor in a war against the System,” he wrote. “A TOTAL WAR against the System.” 

He also gets credited as the brains behind modern neo-Nazi terrorism because he was an early advocate for mass casualty attacks perpertated by “lone wolves.” “We must have acts of revolution, the sooner the better, the more the merrier,” he opined in Siege. “But these are all of a nature that they can and MUST be carried out by INDIVIDUALS and that removes all requirement for talk, the possibility of ‘conspiracy’ and the danger of a leak! The lone wolf cannot be detected, cannot be prevented and seldom can be traced.”

These days, though, Mason mostly likes to pose for photos in Nazi uniforms with the young men and boys of the movement, as he plays a sort of avuncular role, acting as a guiding hand for the hateful youth that flocks to his Section 8 public housing in Denver for his sick counsel. (Yes, ironically, the same ardent white supremacist who advocates for the downfall of the system lives in government-subsidized housing and subsists on free food from a nearby soup kitchen.) One of his elderly neighbors said they would have never guessed that the young men show up at Mason’s door looking for instructions in bigotry. Instead, the neighbor assumed it was for more prurient reasons. “At first when he had young men coming up there, I thought maybe he was a pervert, to be honest with you,” they told NBC News. 

His neighbor, however, wouldn’t be far off, since Mason is also a convicted pedophile who has spent time in-and-out of prison for his crimes. 

Another of the failed older men who traffic in hate is 41-year-old Matthew Stafford (obviously not the NFL quarterback). According to the blog Unicorn Riot, Stafford helped plan the infamous “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville. He lives in the Pacific Northwest and goes by the online handle of “My Name is Hate,” as well as “Savritis Wrath,” “Harbinger of Hate,” “MStaff” and “Change Nickname.” He describes himself as an “ethical vegan,” who believes in Esoteric Hitlerism, which is a strange lovechild of Hitler’s Aryanism and ancient Hinduism, and he promises that he’s willing to “travel hundreds of miles to participate in ‘Flagocausts’ and ‘Overpass Nationalism’ (holding fascist flags and anti-Jewish banners at highway overpasses).”

He also reportedly lives in a white 1989 Chevrolet sleeper van and travels with a black lab named Tyrone. In and out of correctional facilities, Stafford is a domestic abuser, recovering addict and former felon. 

Matthew Stafford and Matthew Heimbach chat about race war

Lastly, there’s Matthew Heimbach, who’s reportedly in his mid-20s. His organization, Traditional Workers Party (TWP), had been considered a growing force among the white supremacy movement in the U.S. TWP was an avid sponsor of rallies from coast-to-coast. For instance, in July 2016, TWP organized a white supremacist rally on the steps of the capitol of California that led to multiple counter-protesters being stabbed, 10 of whom were sent to the hospital with “critical trauma stab wounds.”

Not long afterward, Heimbach was in the headlines for inspiring violence once more, only this time it was domestic violence against his wife and her stepfather after Heimbach was caught having an affair with his wife’s stepfather’s wife. Heimbach was arrested in Paoli, Indiana, on battery, domestic battery committed in the presence of a child, intimidation and strangulation. 

According to the police report, Heimbach was having a three-month-long affair with the woman who was ostensibly his mother-in-law before his wife and her stepfather schemed to catch the couple in the act. But when they attempted their subterfuge, Heimbach’s wife and her stepfather accidentally made noise as they watched their respective partners hooking up inside Heimbach’s trailer. When confronted, Heimbach attacked his wife’s stepfather, choking him into unconsciousness, twice. When local police arrived, Heimbach intimidated his wife, demanding that she lie to the cops, which the police witnessed. He was subsequently arrested. 

The Great Cuckboxing, as it’s come to be called by his fellow bigots online, spelled the end of TWP, Heimbach’s once-ascendent hate group. 

* * * * * 

Since the men of the white supremacist movement have proven that they’re not up to the task of fomenting a legit race war, the battle plans are now being drawn by children. Teenagers, mostly. In the U.S. at least, before there was the Commander-led FKD, there was Atomwaffen. It’s easily the most newsworthy white supremacist group of the last few years, the brainchild of hateful Florida youth, Brandon Russell, and inspired, of course, by Mason. 

In German, Atomwaffen means “atomic warfare.” It’s the sort of word teenage boys are drawn to. One assumes this was his intent when then 19-year-old Russell, a member of the Florida National Guard, founded the group in 2015. He announced its formation on a Russian forum called Iron March, posting that Atomwaffen was to be “a fanatical, ideological band of comrades who do both activism and militant training. No keyboard warriorism.” IRL, the group started making its presence known with flyers posted on the campus of University of Central Florida.

Two years later, it popped up on the radar of authorities in a big way when Russell returned to his Tampa apartment after a weekend away at a National Guard training exercise and discovered that his 18-year old roommate, Devon Arthurs, had slaughtered their other two roommates — his fellow white supremacists Jeremy Himmelman, 22, and Andrew Oneschuk, 18. When police responded to calls about the attack, they found Russell standing outside his apartment, still dressed in full combat camouflage, crying. 

Arthurs was arrested by police after they confronted him at a Tampa head shop where he’d taken three hostages. According to the police affidavit, the neo-Nazi Muslim convert reportedly told his hostages he was motivated to violence because of how America treated his Muslim brothers and sisters around the world. In particular, he told his captives that he “was furious over American bombings of Muslim countries.” 

Devon Arthurs, neo-Nazi Muslim convert

The very recent convert to Islam hadn’t fully left white supremacy behind, though, and referred to his new life philosophy/faith as Salafist Socialist Nationalism. He openly advocated online for his fellow bigots to also become Muslim neo-Nazis just like him, which as you might imagine, mostly just upset many of them

Daily Stormer chief Weev chats with Arthurs

According to the police affidavit, inspired by his conversion to Islam, and feeling rejected by his fellow bigots due to his new religion, he decided to turn on his former comrades in order to protect lives. “Arthurs also stated that, prior to the murder, he had been privy to neo-Nazi internet chat sites threatening to kill people and he had developed a thinking that he should take some of the neo-Nazis with him,” the affidavit reads. Basically, he felt that he needed to warn the police and FBI what his roommates were planning, which, in his words included plans to “bomb power lines, nuclear reactors, synagogues, things like that.”

During their investigation, the FBI discovered the Atomwaffen nerve center that was Russell’s apartment was decorated with flags for Nazi paramilitary units and Nazi battle helmets. They also found a copy of The Turner Diaries (a cult novel about the expected race war), along with multiple copies of Mein Kampf and a framed photo of Timothy McVeigh, the homegrown terrorist responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing. In the garage below the apartment, the FBI uncovered a bomb-making operation complete with “a cooler in the garage containing the explosive HMTD (Hexamethylene Triperoxide Diamine), along with various other explosive precursors, multiple pounds of ammonium nitrate, nitro-methane, empty shell casings, fuses and electric matches in close proximity.” 

In January 2018, Russell was convicted in federal court on charges of “possessing an unregistered destructive device and unlawfully storing explosive material,” and sentenced to five years in prison. 

Nonetheless, Atomwaffen remained a viable hate group until earlier this year. In that time, its members are now known to be responsible for at least five murders. However, over the last six months, due to increased pressure from law enforcement and FBI raids, as of March, Atomwaffen is now considered to be essentially defunct. Even Mason, the de facto intellectual leader of the group, recently told all interested parties (in a move presumed to be an obvious attempt to avoid further prison time), “It’s time to break that up for the common good. Nobody is renouncing anything, except formal organization and the use of violence.” 

* * * * * 

Now, in the power vacuum left behind by Mason, Stafford and Heimbach, and in the shadow created by Atomwaffen going dark, a new child-leader has emerged — a head of the spear for this generational transition of power. His name is Zephyr Garrison (online handle: “Det.Som.Engang.Var”), a 17-year-old high school student at Inter-Lakes High School in sleepy Meredith, New Hampshire, where he lives in a lakeside home with his father, a former managing director of Coca-Cola Hungary. He’s a world-traveler, a quick study as a DIY weapons-maker and an ambitious child who has world-changing mayhem on his mind. You can find him on Instagram as @leagueofnationalists. 

Instagram hate-fluencer, Zephyr Garrison

Garrison and Commander were known to interact in FKD chats and forums. In fact, the 13-year-old Commander once chastised the 17-year-old Garrison for his attempt at organizing a public get-together in Boston that, in the words of Commander, turned out to be “a disappointment and a disaster.” But now, with Commander sidelined, Garrison has risen to a place of prominence. Notably, he doesn’t hide his age. He lets it be known that he isn’t yet 18, which means he needs another neo-Nazi to buy a gun for him.

Garrison gets chastised in the chat by Commander

Besides FDK and Atomwaffen, Garrison was also an active member of the the Base, another infamous neo-Nazi organization whose members are primarily located in the U.S., but also internationally. That group’s name is a reference to Al Qaeda, as “the Base” is a rough English translation of that moniker. They’re also as violent-minded as they come. According to an investigation by the Guardian, the leader of the Base is a 46-year-old man named Rinaldo Nazzaro, aka “Norman Spear.” 

Commander and Rinaldo Nazzaro discuss hate group organizing/outreach strategies

As the brains of the group, Nazzaro has an overarching goal and plan: “Trigger the relocation to the Pacific Northwest of the white population in the United States.” To advance his cause, Nazzaro preaches the gospel of “accelerationism,” which is a nice way to say he wants to more quickly trigger ethnic tensions that erupt in a final race war. Nazzaro has reportedly promised his fellow bigots, “I’ll be the lightening rod [sic].” However, he adds a caveat, “But you need to pay me back in blood (preferably not your own).” 

Thanks to such language, his campaign of terror has come under increased scrutiny from authorities. Over the last six months, much like the federal pressure on Atomwaffen, at least eight members of the Base have been arrested by federal agents

Which leaves Garrison, the latest edgelord teen neo-Nazi leader, to steer the online racist hate machine further down the road toward the eventual aim of “TOTAL WAR against the System,” as Mason would put it. Garrison has already founded a new group to replace FKD, Atomwaffen and the Base — he calls it “Natural Order.” 

“In April of 2020, Zephyr Garrison publicly announced ‘Natural Order’ would be joining forces with ‘Iron Youth’ as part of an effort to unify neo-Nazi accelerationist groups and lone wolves across the United States into a coordinated front,” Eugene Antifa reports. “‘Natural Order’ would act as the regional organization for the East Coast, and Iron Youth would be responsible for the rest of the United States. With remnant members of the Base and Feuerkrieg Division, Zephyr Garrison is attempting to establish a new vanguardist front.”

Natural Order is announced

According to the FBI, this newest generation of neo-Nazi youth — unlike the fail-dads they keep around to buy them guns and drive the van — is no longer satisfied to troll drivers with hate-filled mispelled graffiti painted on bed sheets. Instead, they have their cold, dead eyes set on creating maximum fear and mayhem in our current pandemic. As such, they’re making plans to poison water supplies by raiding water-treatment plants, to destabilize the North American power grid by blowing up a power plant and to derail a train in an area where the victims will likely be Black or Jewish. 

In other words, they don’t plan on being keyboard warriors anymore. 

det.som.engang.var.2 (aka Zephyr Garrison) asking the boys if they want to do “hate camp”

They’ve already, in fact, turned to real-world violence. In 2018, there was a synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh that left 11 dead; last year, there was a copycat synagogue shooting in Poway, California; and a few months later, a white supremacist walked into a Walmart and killed 22 people in El Paso. In each instance, the shooter was a hateful young white man who wanted to send a message written in other people’s blood. 

So even though they’re just boys, it should be clear that we must take Commander, Zephyr Garrison and all the other young Shitlers like them seriously. Because no matter how young (or laughable) they are, they’re deadly serious about their hate for the rest of us. 

And they will kill to prove it.