The End of Operation Werewolf

The following is a piece written by one of our members in late 2020. It was briefly circulated in Antifascist research spaces as a warning of potential fallout from Operation Werewolf’s 2021 dissolution with the intention of making Wolves affiliates higher research priority. Now, in the wake of the Denver shooting, and the murderer’s connections to the Wolves, we feel that it is important for these points to be brought up once more publicly. We have also written about a Wolves member with connections to the shooter. cvantifa.noblogs.org/lukekenna

This August, Wolves of Vinland leader Paul Waggener announced that Operation Werewolf will be dissolving in 2021 [1]. The Wolves of Vinland are a Fascist neo-Völkisch cult headquartered in Lynchburg, Virginia. Operation Werewolf (named for a Nazi military plan) has acted as the Wolves Feeder Group since 2016. It has expanded to include dozens of subgroups across the country and several in Europe and South America [7]. The group’s ideology is firmly rooted in anti-feminist MRA culture. Most of their texts focus on veneration of toxic masculinity and violence. They are extremely tribalist, and many members have anti-civilization beliefs. Operation Werewolf also incorporates a mishmash of spiritual ideas that mostly center around Norse paganism. The group preaches about the Kali Yuga, a Hindu concept appropriated by fascist esotericist Julius Evola. They believe that, the world is entering a dark age, and civilization is bound to crumble within their lifetimes [8].

Operation Werewolf’s recruits primarily come from subcultures that already feature significant right-wing influence. These include black metal, Norse paganism, strength training, and MMA among others. All of this gets wrapped up into the wolves’ unique look. Members wear black battle jackets covered in esoteric symbols and NSBM patches [7]. The imagery the group produces is distinctly apocalyptic, and it often features themes of total war and annihilation [5]. In recent years, the group has even started venerating Charles Manson as a shamanic figure [1].

Despite its edgy aesthetics, Operation Werewolf has remained a largely benign presence. This can be attributed to Waggener’s desire to avoid movement politics, and to keep making money off his members. Instead of political activism, members spend their time doing physical training, partying, and performing rituals. Their justification for this is that they are preparing to survive during the Kali Yuga, and that there is no political solution to the problems they perceive in society. For this reason, Operation Werewolf has not experienced major pushback from anti-racist activists or law enforcement. This has allowed it to grow significantly larger than many of its contemporary Fascist groups. This has also led to the group gaining unprecedented financial and institutional power. Across the country, there are dozens of gyms, tattoo shops, and other businesses that are linked to the organization [5].

Operation Werewolf’s large base of power has led many wannabe Fascist leaders to attempt to gain influence within the organization, so they can use the group for their own ends. Notable instances of this include Jake Laskey of American Front in the Pacific Northwest, and alt-right Satanist Augustus Invictus in the south [6]. These attempts have been unsuccessful due in large part to members’ cultish devotion to Paul Waggener and his clique of trusted leaders.

This brings us to the thesis of this article. The dissolution of the group poses a major problem. Paul Waggener has radicalized hundreds of men who closely follow his leadership. When that leadership goes away, it will create a major power vacuum that other Fascists will doubtlessly try to fill. This, coupled with Operation Werewolf’s apocalyptic beliefs, creates an extremely dangerous scenario. We will likely see a significant influx of its members into other far-right groups, and they will bring their radical worldviews with them.

Many of former Operation Werewolf members will likely wind up in the rapidly expanding patriot and militia movements. It isn’t uncommon for them to exist on the edges of those spaces presently. In some instances they have even taken leadership roles like Richard Bowman II who helped to coordinate violence at far-right rallies in Portland, Oregon with the PNW Patriot Coalition [3].

Another, perhaps more frightening, outcome is that former Operation Werewolf members will wind up associating with the Order of Nine Angles. The Order is a left hand path Satanist group with deep ties to neo-Nazi organizing. In particular, it has played a key part in the proliferation of “Siegepill” terrorist groups like Atomwaffen and Sonnenkreig Division [4]. In recent years, a small network of compounds associated with the Militant Ruralism movement have sprung up across the country. Militant Ruralism is an Eco-Fascist tendency centered on controlling remote areas and land. These compounds are intimately tied to the Order of Nine Angles, and one, Rural Nexion, describes itself as a Nexion (an Order of Nine Angles cell) [2].

Operation Werewolf has been closely tied to Militant Ruralism since the beginning, and many members posted frequently in Rural Nexion’s now-dead Telegram channel. It doesn’t require much imagination to see an influx of Operation Werewolf members into these spaces after the group’s dissolution. This is particularly concerning because of Militant Ruralism’s penchant for acquiring land and weapons, which can be used in potential insurgent scenarios [2].

The possibility for former Operation Werewolf members to commit acts of terrorism, similar to the aforementioned “Siegepill” groups shouldn’t be ignored either. There has already been at least one documented Operation Werewolf-linked terror attack. Maurice Michaely, a Wolves of Vineland member, spent two years in jail after burning down a historic black church in Gainesville, Virginia [7].

Operation Werewolf members are primed to commit acts of political violence. For years, they have been fed a steady diet of apocalyptic and extremist ideology. Many members train with weapons and in physical combat. There are violent groups seeking to use these skills for their own goals, many of which include terrorism and civil war. Moving forward, it will be incredibly important to monitor the threat posed by former Operation Werewolf members.

 

Citations:

Burley, Shane. “Total Life Reform.” Political Research Associates, 2020. https://www.politicalresearch.org/2020/11/09/total-life-reform.

Corvallis Antifascists. “Rural Nexion and Militant Ruralism: A Rising Fascist Threat.” CVAntifa, 2020. https://cvantifa.noblogs.org/post/2020/08/10/ruralnexion/.

Eugene Antifa. “Richard Bowman.” Eugene Antifa, September 15, 2020. https://eugeneantifa.noblogs.org/post/2020/09/15/richard-bowman/.

Lowles, Nick. “Order of Nine Angles – The People VS The ‘Elite’: State of Hate 2019.” HOPE not hate, July 14, 2020. https://www.hopenothate.org.uk/2019/02/16/state-of-hate-2019-order-of-nine-angles/.

Gervin, Cari. “Vengeance Strength Kvlt Gym in East Nashville Has Links to Alt-Right.” Nashville Scene, 2017. https://www.nashvillescene.com/news/pith-in-the-wind/article/20868176/strength-cult-gym-in-east-nashville-has-ties-to-altright.

PNWAWC. “Spotlight On American Front: Where Violence, N

Nazism, and Familial Criminality Collide.” Pacific Northwest Antifascist Workers Collective, February 22, 2020. http://pnwawc.com/2017/09/01/spotlight-on-american-front-where-violence-nazism-and-familial-criminality-collide/.

Rose City Antifa. “The Wolves of Vinland: a Fascist Countercultural ‘Tribe’ in the Pacific Northwest.” Rose City Antifa, 2017. https://rosecityantifa.org/articles/the-wolves-of-vinland-a-fascist-countercultural-tribe-in-the-pacific-northwest/.

Waggener, Paul. “Operation Werewolf.” Official Operation Werewolf HQ, April 19, 2018. https://www.operationwerewolf.com/war-journal/2018/04/19/immanentize-the-eschaton/.