A leader of the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division has been handed a seven-year jail sentence in connection with a plot to target journalists and activists.
Kaleb Cole, 25, was convicted by a federal jury in the Western District of Washington of one count of interfering with a federally protected activity because of religion, three counts of mailing threatening communications, and one count of conspiring with other Atomwaffen Division members to commit three offenses against the United States – interference with federally-protected activities because of religion, mailing threatening communications, and cyberstalking.
U.S. Attorney Nick Brown for the Western District of Washington said: “Kaleb Cole helped lead a violent, nationwide neo-Nazi group. He repeatedly promoted violence, stockpiled weapons, and organized ‘hate camps’. Today the community and those Mr. Cole and his co-conspirators targeted, stand-up to say hate has no place here. He tried to intimidate journalists and advocates with hate-filled and threatening posters, tried to amplify their fear. Instead they faced him in court and their courage has resulted in the federal prison sentence imposed today.”
According to Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Mr Cole “led a multi-state plot by a neo-Nazi group to threaten and intimidate journalists and advocates who were doing important work to expose antisemitism around the country. The Justice Department will continue to investigate and prosecute these hateful acts.”
At the trial, it was shown that Mr Cole and his peers plotted to intimidate journalists and others by mailing threatening posters or gluing posters to victims’ homes, focusing primarily on those who are Jewish or black. Mr Cole designed the posters, which warned the recipients that “you have been visited by your local Nazis.” Some victims temporarily moved home as a result, installed security systems or purchased firearms. Another began opening her mailbox with a stick as a precaution against what may be insider, while yet another left her job as a journalist.
Last year, another of the group’s leaders, Cameron Shea, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to commit three offenses against the United States and was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for threatening journalists and advocates against antisemitism.
Other co-conspirators, Johnny Roman Garza and Taylor Ashley Parker-Dipeppe, also pleaded guilty and were sentenced.
Atomwaffen Division is a paramilitary neo-Nazi group that trains its members in the use of firearms and reportedly seeks to ignite a race war in the United States.
Last year, the UK proscribed Atomwaffen Division as a terrorist organisation.