In an approximately three-minute audio recording released on Soundcloud on March 14, 2020, James Mason, a long-term member of the American National Socialist scene and author of Siege, announced that the NS group Atomwaffen Division (AWD) was disbanding.
The declaration follows the arrest of John Cameron Denton, one of the group’s leaders, and four other members for "threatening" journalists. However, even if AWD itself were to cease to operate or function, the ideology behind the group will continue to live on.
Mason said that he was contacted on March 9, 2020 by members of AWD, who requested that he record a public announcement on behalf of the group.
Mason stated that AWD was disbanding immediately after the infiltration and arrests of AWD members by law enforcement, and because media has falsely portrayed AWD as a terrorist group.
According to Politico, the U.S. State Department is considering designating at least one White nationalist group as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO), which would allow the federal government to pursue material support charges against the group’s members and investigate their finances. Former U.S. government officials have suggested AWD as a possible candidate. It is likely that Mason and AWD are claiming to have dissolved the group in anticipation of a possible designation.
Similar National Socialist groups have previously been proscribed in the United Kingdom, such as National Action, and AWD may attempt to adopt lessons from their experience. For instance, National Action members have changed their group’s name or focused more on underground meetings and activities. In the U.S. and Europe, the Feuerkrieg Division, a similar group to AWD, also announced that they were disbanding in mid-February.
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Mason says that AWD material will continue to remain online, however this is beyond the control of AWD members. Mason further declared that anyone claiming to be a member of AWD or using AWD’s insignia in the future is an imposter. He also again denounced the AWD “Fission” breakaway group which released videos and photos in the fall of 2019, repeating that they are not part of AWD. Mason also stated that AWD does not believe in the use of violence or illegal threats and conspiracy, blaming illegal actions on a breach of discipline.