Nobody should be surprised to learn that in the Trump Era, we have active camps of neo-Nazi white supremacist terrorists preparing attacks on American citizens allowed to freely operate because our government is too busy screaming at scary brown and black people.
The California man accused of killing a 19-year-old University of Pennsylvania student earlier this month is an avowed neo-Nazi and a member of one of the most notorious extremist groups in the country, according to three people with knowledge of the man’s recent activities.
The man, Samuel Woodward, has been charged in Orange County, California, with murdering Blaze Bernstein, who went missing in early January while visiting his family over winter break. Prosecutors allege that Woodward stabbed Bernstein more than 20 times before burying his body in an Orange County park where it was eventually discovered. The two men had attended high school together.
Woodward, 20, is set to be arraigned on Feb. 2 and has not yet entered a plea. Orange County prosecutors say they are examining the possibility that the killing was a hate crime — Bernstein was Jewish and openly gay — and some recent news reports have suggested that the alleged killer might hold far-right or even white supremacist political beliefs.
Now, three people with detailed knowledge of Woodward’s recent past have been able to shed more light on the young man’s extremist activities. They said Woodward was a member of the Atomwaffen Division, an armed Fascist group with the ultimate aim of overthrowing the U.S. government through the use of terrorism and guerrilla warfare.
The organization, which celebrates Hitler and Charles Manson, has been tied to four other murders and an elaborate bomb plot over the past eight months. Experts who study right-wing extremist movements believe Atomwaffen’s commitment to violence has made it one of the more dangerous groups to emerge from the new wave of white supremacists.
Two of the three people who described Woodward’s affiliations are friends of his; the other is a former member of Atomwaffen Division.
ProPublica’s revelations about Woodward’s background add a new element to a murder case that has attracted considerable local and national news coverage. But they also raise fresh concerns about groups like Atomwaffen Division, shadowy outfits of uncertain size that appear capable of genuine harm.
Woodward joined the organization in early 2016 and later traveled to Texas to attend Atomwaffen meetings and a three-day training camp, which involved instruction in firearms, hand-to-hand combat, camping and survival skills, the former member said. ProPublica has obtained photographs of Woodward at an outdoor Atomwaffen meeting in the scrubby Texas countryside. One of the photos depicts Woodward and other members making straight-armed Nazi salutes while wearing skull masks. In other pictures, Woodward is unmasked and easily identifiable.
The young man is proficient with both handguns and assault rifles, according to one person who participated in the Texas training and watched him shoot. That person also said that Woodward helped organize a number of Atomwaffen members in California.
Social media posts and chat logs shared by Woodward’s friends show that he openly described himself as a “National Socialist” or Nazi. He “was as anti-Semitic as you can get,” according to one acquaintance.
ProPublica contacted Orange County prosecutors regarding Woodward’s alleged neo-Nazi activities. Michelle Van Der Linden, a spokesperson for the District Attorney’s Office, said she couldn’t comment directly on the case, but said the investigation is ongoing, with detectives exploring all possible leads.
If there was a radical Muslim training camp in Texas sending terrorists to kill and bomb people in the US, we already would have dropped bunker busters on everything within a mile of the damn place.
But they're neo-Nazis who just want to kill Jews and gay people and anyone darker than a paper bag, so apparently that's not worth the government worrying about.