Neo-Nazi Group group’s leader sentenced over threats against journalists, activists
The leader of a neo-Nazi group was sentenced to seven years in prison for threatening journalists and activists who worked to expose antisemitism.
Kaleb Cole, a 25-year-old man from Washington state, was convicted by a federal jury on five counts, including interfering with a federally protected activity, sending out threatening communication and conspiracy to commit other offenses.
Cole is part of the leadership of Atomwaffen Division, a neo-Nazi organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) describes as a “terroristic” hate group. The organization was subject to thorough reporting by ProPublica, which was able to track Atomwaffen across 23 U.S. states.
According to the SPLC, the Atomwaffen Division’s stated goal is to collapse civilization and build a whites-only ethnostate. Members of the organization are known to favor violence and promote ethnic cleansing.
According to the Department of Justice, Cole and other members of his organization allegedly sought to intimidate journalists and activists by mailing them threatening images and gluing posters onto their homes, largely targeting Jewish and nonwhite individuals.
These threats allegedly lead to victims moving from their homes, purchasing weapons or quitting their jobs. One victim said she began opening her mailbox with a stick out of fear of what could be inside.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke said in a statement, “Threats motivated by religious intolerance are antithetical to American values, even more so when they aim to intimidate journalists and others who are working to expose bigotry in our society.”
The Seattle Times noted that Cole is also currently facing a charge of unlawful possession of a firearm after being arrested in Texas last year. Cole was the passenger in a car being driven by another Atomwaffen member. Authorities said they found an AK-47–style rifle and ammunition in the trunk of the car.
Before his arrest in Texas, Seattle police also reportedly seized five assault-style rifles from Cole’s home in connection to a “red flag” extreme risk protection order that found Cole posed an imminent threat to public safety.
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