Member of a Neo-Nazi Terror Group Appears To Be Former Canadian Soldier
Using sources and hidden chat networks, VICE has traced the code name of an Atomwaffen member to Brandon Cameron, a former Nova Scotia soldier.
Photo via Facebook
This investigation was in collaboration with the Canadian Anti-Hate Network and the Southern Poverty Law Centre.
In the deep recesses of a neo-Nazi terror group’s online meeting ground, one of the most active posters is a Canadian. He goes under the pseudonym “Alba Nuadh,” a Gaelic reference to his home province and current residence of Nova Scotia. And he’s clandestine about his work.
This individual has taken painstaking efforts to keep his identity hidden: He uses multiple code names, carefully avoids disclosing personal details, and uses hidden chat networks.
Alba even once taunted an anonymous internet Nazi hunter, who couldn’t identify him, that he’d never be outed.
Through information gleaned from the inner workings of the global neo-Nazi movement, an inside source, and a vast cache of chat logs and social media postings, VICE has accrued substantial evidence pointing to the identity of this Canadian member of Atomwaffen Division, a far-right terror group based in the US.
And by all appearances this individual is a proud racist with penchant for championing extreme violence against minorities.
Using various traceable online aliases, VICE believes Brandon Cameron, 25, of Nova Scotia, has lived a double life as both a reservist and soldier in the Canadian Armed Forces, and, covertly, as a member of one of the most insidious neo-Nazi groups in the world.
Cameron left the military as a reservist in May 2018, but remains on the Supplemental Reserve Force.
VICE reached Cameron on his personal number to allow him to respond to the numerous pieces of information uncovered about him. Cameron categorically denied any allegations connecting him to the online white supremacist, Alba, who posted prolifically in secret Atomwaffen chat networks and spewed hateful, white-supremacist propaganda across the internet.
He speculates someone stole his email credentials and online identity to frame the many gaming and neo-Nazi posts over a ten-year period to discredit him. He said he did not recall any of the details of the extensive online accounts of Alba.
“I don’t think they’re specifically targeting me, but I have no idea how the fuck I got involved in this,” Cameron told VICE.
“My guess is that it’s probably someone from my unit,” he said later in the interview. “I don’t know what the hell is going on, but I’m very weirded out that these people have the details of my military history.”
Evidence linking Alba to Cameron goes back to 2009, five years before he joined the military. After the initial interview—which Cameron wasn’t expecting—he cut off contact with VICE. After that initial contact, VICE made contact with multiple family members who all provided no comment after several requests.
The information and numerous connections between Cameron and Alba were sent to the Canadian Armed Forces to review so comment could be provided for the story. Government sources tell VICE the military police have eyes on the matter but CAF spokesperson Dan Lebouthillier said they could not confirm nor deny whether or not an investigation into Cameron was opened.
“We do not generally confirm or deny who may be or may not be subject of an investigation or if an investigation is ongoing,” he told VICE. This policy is in place to protect the integrity of investigations and to respect the privacy of individuals involved.”
Atomwaffen came to be in 2015, on the now defunct neo-Nazi forum Iron March. Users of Iron March advocated for a global fascist revolution and it is considered the breeding ground where white power groups organized.
Since its inception, Atomwaffen quickly gained a reputation as one of the most extreme neo-fascist organizations in North America. From organizing on Tumblr and 4Chan, to Iron March, the group has recruited, professionalized, and spread hateful propaganda from behind a keyboard.
Atomwaffen has been linked to hate crimes, an attempted bombing, and racially motivated killings in the US. In hidden chat networks viewed by ProPublica, Atomwaffen celebrated one of its members for targeting and killing 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein, who was gay and Jewish.
A former member of Atomwaffen, who reached out to VICE, said he believes Alba is the most active Canadian member of the group, but works primarily online.
After the murder of Bernstein—who was found with over 20 stab wounds—the source associated with Atomwaffen told VICE that he remembers Alba being excited and saying they needed more actions like this alongside Alba expressing that Atomwaffen needed to “take real, violent action against the Jews” because, “this is how the apocalypse starts.”
This source believes Brandon Cameron is Alba and can identify him from the various Atomwaffen Skype meetings and expansive online dealings he had with the Canadian. Ater the initial cold call to Cameron, he cut off all communication with VICE and didn’t answer calls to both his cell and home phone numbers. The source within Atomwaffen verified Cameron’s voice was the same as Alba’s after VICE provided him an audio sample of the former soldier’s voice.
Alba is not a fan of journalists. Some of his most violent postings are reserved for the profession, where he openly calls for the targeting and assassination of reporters who expose neo-Nazis. Other posts paint the picture of a well-read, but wildly hateful individual with a deeply held manifesto justifying his bloodlust for minorities and any peoples he considers malignant. One post VICE obtained, written by Alba, is a vicious rape and assault fantasy of a Jewish woman.
VICE connected other source materials to Cameron and his internet presence, then directly to visual evidence of his family members and place of residence. Cameron told VICE he grew up in Cole Harbour, a town which made national news in the 1990s and mid 2000s for a number of race-based brawls at its high schools. One such brawl involving about 50 students occurred in a Cole Harbour high school in 2008. Numerous times online, Alba spoke of his radicalization at school occurring because of tense race relations—Cameron would’ve been growing up near Cole Harbour around this time.
“In very short order, I realized that there was a vast gulf of difference between the behaviour of blacks and whites in my school,” reads the Tumblr account associated with Alba. “I’m sure anyone with a similar school in their days can echo my experiences of daily fistfights over nothing, constant class disruptions, blaring unintelligible rap music all hours of the day, and a complete and utter apathy to basic school rules or schoolwork. “
In his late teens Cameron moved away from Cole Harbour, where he lived with his father, to Kentville, Nova Scotia, to live with his mother—he listed the number of his mother’s home in his military profile. The online posts by Alba reflect this move. At one point in 2013, Alba, writing on Iron March says, “I grew up in a small military town with a native reserve 10 minutes away”—a description that fits Kentville. Furthermore, in 2016, Alba wrote on Iron March, “WHERE THE FUCK DO YOU [live] I FUCKING LIVE 20 MINUTES AWAY FROM THE TOWN OF WINDSOR, NOVA SCOTIA.” Kentville is just over a 20-minute drive to Windsor.
Posts associated to Alba on Tumblr show images of landscapes and churches—photos that seem to be unique to this user as they return no reverse image search—and were taken in the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia, which is the same region of the province where Kentville is located. The posts were tagged with #home. VICE has confirmed that Cameron’s mother is still living in Kentville—attempts to contact her, including calls and messages went unanswered. In the interview with VICE, Cameron told VICE he was currently “living with family.”
In a long post where he attempts to explain how he became a fascist, Alba writes about his bad interactions with people of colour in a middle school, but then he found the online world of racists—in particular the /pol board of 4Chan.
“[I]f you start hanging around there you learn things,” he wrote. “I never even gave a second thought about Jews before going on there.”
From there, postings describe how Alba turned to white supremacist books and online videos, eventually finding his way to Iron March and Atomwaffen.
Alba appeared in the extreme neo-Nazi community approximately three years ago on Iron March, and in chats would often brag about his position in the military. The case of Alba, who wasn’t even in the same country as most of Atomwaffen, showcases just how easy it is for a member of the public to self-radicalize online
Like the recent appearance of an Americanized militia in Canada or the appearance of extremist vigilante groups like the Soldiers of Odin, it shows how easily hate groups and ideologies can migrate across borders using online networks.
Far-right extremists have long been known to join militaries. Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh served in Operation Desert Storm, while current members of Atomwaffen were revealed to be active-duty servicemen. In both inner chats and on other forums Alba spoke about how McVeigh and another mass murderer, Anders Behring Breivik, were personal heroes of his.
Here’s what we know about Cameron’s military record, based on a confidential source and confirmation of some details by the Canadian Armed Forces:
Cameron joined the 36 Service Battalion based out of Halifax, Aldershot, and Sydney, Nova Scotia in 2015. Cameron has undergone basic weapons training on various platforms, including a C9 light machine gun, which Alba brags about in a 2016 post.
“So I got to shoot a few thousands rounds through one of these last week,” reads a Tumblr page associated with Alba, posting a stock photo of a C9 assault rifle being discharged on a range. “(M)y god I cannot describe how great it is to burn through a 200 round drum mag on full auto, and to know a weapon so well you can tear it apart and reassemble it in seconds without even thinking.”
VICE independently verified his service in the military matches the timeline that appears in Alba’s online posts.
Cameron was an army cook and appears in a March 2017 article in King’s County News, a local paper in Nova Scotia. In online chats within the Atomwaffen group Alba would share and brag about a online article that featured a photo of him cooking. Furthermore, his battalion advertises the C9 light machine gun under its list of equipment and the cook trade as one it offers.As mentioned, the long form of the online alias Alba Nuadh is Gaelic for Nova Scotia and personal physical details of himself posted by Alba online match the photo of Cameron in question.
In a July 2016 post, Alba confirms his army trade as the same as Cameron’s. Someone asks the neo-Nazi what he does in the military, he responds: “I’m a cook on my trades course (at the moment).” VICE confirmed Cameron was in Ontario that summer, training as a cook.
VICE obtained Cameron’s personal email, which, combined with information derived from neo-Nazi chat logs and several online accounts, shows the link between Alba and the Canadian soldier—the most significant one coming from an online gaming handle.
When speaking to VICE, Cameron first said that he hadn’t used the email since 2006 but later admitted that he did use it when he signed up with the military in 2014. Cameron, using this email, frequently used a very specific username for online forums, “Kharloth”—and he once wrote that he was the only man online that used the username. VICE checked and this assertion rings true.
The most widely used Kharloth account was on a forum for Escapist Magazine. Cameron confirmed to VICE that this account was created and used by him. The account once posted Brandon Cameron’s name in a thread where users broke down the “real meaning of their names.”
VICE was able to connect Cameron’s email account to Alba through two separate threads about gamertags. In the first, on the Escapist forum in 2010, Cameron posted that his gamertag on Steam was “Kharloth, Khar or LordKharloth on Steam.” In a 2015 gamer thread on the neo-Nazi forum Iron March, Alba Nuadh wrote his gamertag was “[TG_IM]Northman on Steam.” The accounts are one and the same.
On Steam, there is a user with the custom ID of “Kharloth”—before the account went private it’s self-reported location was Nova Scotia. The account has changed its name several times, these changes include “BigManAlba,” “Alba Nuadh,” and “[TG_IM]Northman.”
While VICE could not verifiably connect his personal email to the Kharloth Steam account, we have been able to confirm that his personal email, which he provided to the military and VICE obtained, has been used to set up an account on the gaming site.
When questioned about this, Cameron stated he did use Steam, yet that wasn’t his username. He told VICE that he had played Steam within the last year but couldn’t actively recall his Steam username. He grew agitated when pressed for more details.
Cameron also told VICE he never played the tabletop game Warhammer, despite his email being a direct Warhammer reference and him having an account (including his picture) on the game’s biggest online forum (bolterandchainsword.com). He repeatedly denied knowledge of the game.
The source with Atomwaffen also provided VICE with Alba’s Tumblr account under a different alias, with details matching Cameron’s life. In a December 2016 post from that account, Alba says he’s living at a barracks in Halifax for two weeks, where he takes exception to his fellow soldiers and their musical choices.
“How is it in an age of $15 headphones at every gas station, there are still cunts who will play their fucking shitty n****r hip-pop with their door open in barracks drinking with people loudly,” he says. “This is fucking Halifax, it has one of the highest per capita amount of bars in the world, go out you fucks.”
VICE confirmed Cameron was serving in the Canadian military during this specific period before the Christmas break in 2016. Among other personal details, Alba persistently posts online about his longtime residency and love for Nova Scotia and his historical family background serving in the armed forces—things Cameron reiterated when speaking to VICE.
The CAF confirmed to VICE that Cameron is a member of the Supplemental Reserve Force and was formerly in the Primary Reserves, but left in May 2018.
When presented with the evidence against Cameron, the government said, “[w]e are looking into the matter further.”
In a statement, CAF spokesperson Dan Lebouthillier told VICE Cameron’s training included, “weapons handling, weapons training, range training, and exposure to section-level C9 machine gun training and basic section-level tactics with no advance skills training.”
The CAF was clear about its position on Cameron’s alleged involvement with Atomwaffen and is “quite seized by it.”
“CAF members are forbidden from participating in groups or activities that promote hatred, violence and/or discrimination,” said Lebouthillier. “They are held to the highest level of professional and personal conduct, and those in positions of leadership, in particular, are expected to exemplify those standards.
“Defence Team members, no matter where or when, must respect the dignity and worth of every person.”
The revelation another ex-Canadian soldier is allegedly involved in a hardcore, violent neo-Nazi organization speaks to the historical truth: white supremacists in this country continue to look at the military as a way to advance their combat skills in pursuit of their racist objectives. And VICE is tracking other suspected Canadian soldiers within the neo-Nazi movement.
Alba, it appears, is not alone.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to better protect the identity of a source.