The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Internet Messages Detail ‘Nazi Jihadist’s’ Radicalization

By Leah Nelson on July 19, 2011 - 4:13 pm, Posted in Extremist Crime

A Pennsylvania man who was indicted Thursday for allegedly using the Internet to encourage Islamic fundamentalists to launch terror attacks against U.S. targets has a long history of extremism and joined a neo-Nazi group in 2003.

Emerson Begolly, 22, of New Bethlehem, Pa., was about 14 when he first contacted the National Socialist Movement (NSM), America’s largest neo-Nazi group, Hatewatch has learned.

Begolly was arrested on January 4 after he bit two FBI agents who approached him to serve search warrants as he sat alone in the front seat of a car parked at a Burger King. When the agents opened the door and identified themselves, he screamed and reached for his pocket, then bit the agents’ hands, drawing blood. He was found to have a 9 mm Makarov handgun with the safety off and two fully loaded magazines in his pocket.

Bloggers quickly dubbed him the “Nazi Jihadist” after finding on his MySpace page childhood photos of Begolly dressed in Nazi regalia, reportedly taken by his father, who introduced him to Nazi beliefs at the age of 11.

The boy apparently took his father’s racist ideology to heart. He reached out to NSM head Jeff Schoep and was appointed head of the Pennsylvania division of the  NSM’s youth division, the Viking Youth Corps, in 2003.

Hatewatch has obtained a series of messages Begolly wrote to fellow NSM members in November and December of that year, chronicling his own radicalization.

Writing as “waffen999,” the young Begolly didn’t shy from adult topics, denouncing Wal-Mart for destroying family-owned businesses; excoriating the children’s TV network Nickelodeon for its pro-diversity message; and condemning M-TV (“which I and my father call ‘N-TV’ for abvious (sic) reasons”) for objectifying women and contaminating young minds.

His most revealing message is a lengthy Nov. 12, 2003, screed titled “My Story, My Life.” Full of rage and frustration, this mini-autobiography is full of disturbing clues about the 14-year-old Begolly. “I am not quite sure where to begin my story, and I am wondering if it has a beginning at all,” he started. “I have always agreed with the National Socialist philosophy, even before I knew there was one!”

He traced the beginnings of his racism back to the 5th grade, when he felt harassed by black, Latino and mixed-race students. “When I told an adult, the (sic) never did anything.”

Junior high school was worse, Begolly wrote. He was suspended after a white “reliefer” (slang for a person who receives welfare) “assaulted” him on the school bus, and he began taking a van for “special needs” kids instead. The same year, he was labeled a “threat” and put in counseling after saying that his school was stupid and that school shootings were justified. He kept getting into trouble, he wrote, until “I discovered my Fuehrer, Adolf Hitler. I read about National Socialism in a book and it seemed so great! It was the answer to all my problems. At school I said that Hitler was a great leader, but the students branded me a fool. But, I stuck to my beliefs, the Truth.”

“They say I am very smart,” the young neo-Nazi continued. “I skipped 7th Grade and went straight to 8th Grade. It was hell, too.”

Begolly wrote that he made a comment – he does not say what – that caused alarm, and the principal brought in an “aide” to observe him. He was removed from sex education class “because all that they talked about was stupid stuff that was offensive.” In February of that year, he was referred to a judge “becuase (sic) I said that slavery shouldn’t have ended.” The “charges,” he wrote, were dropped.

He graduated junior high with what he claimed were top grades and honors, but was only a few weeks into high school when “I put down the school system for being ‘too jewish and pro-mixing.’

“They gave me detention. I protested saying that I had the right to say that because it was true and said I can understand what drives kids to bring guns to school. That upset the school.”

Begolly was given the option of going to court or leaving the school. “So I quit school at age 13 and began home-schooling.” Soon after that, he “discovered the NSM. I e-mailed [C]ommander Schoep,” he wrote, “He said I would be a good member. So I joined.”

Last week’s indictment alleges that, as moderator on a popular English-language forum for Islamic extremists, Begolly solicited members to attack U.S. targets such as synagogues, day care centers, train lines, and police stations. It also charges that in late December, he posted links to a 101-page document containing information on how to manufacture explosives.

The prosecution’s evidence includes several online conversations Begolly had in late 2010 with Islamic fundamentalists. Amid the discussion of terrorist strategy, tactics and targets, glimpses of the teenager who was kicked out of school and joined the Viking Youth Corps are still visible.

“[H]ave u ever considered shooting up ur schooling and taking revenge on those who wronged u?” he asked a forum member who was also deeply unhappy at his school. “bro when i wake up in the morning the first thing i think about is killing.”

The messages contain other clues about Begolly’s family environment and state of mind. He claimed his father beat him and his step-mother, and he told one chat partner that his father “presumably” belonged to a militia. In a raid of Begolly’s home, police seized an arsenal of weapons, including three AK-47s, four rifles with bayonets, a double-barreled shotgun and a hand grenade. Begolly obsessed about his own AK-47 – which, he wrote repeatedly, he kept loaded and nearby at all times.

Begolly reportedly has Asperger syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder whose symptoms include extreme difficulty with social interactions and obsessive or repetitive behaviors and interests.

He faces separate federal charges in Pennsylvania for assaulting the FBI officers in January.

  • Jonas Rand

    The no-bid contract also allowed personal information from students to be sold to the highest bidder. I watched that on DN! too, outrageous but not surprising.

    But, it isn’t right to suspend a student just because of their beliefs, denying them an education. How could the school officials “deal” with someone like this? Maybe by providing him with the resources to educate himself?

  • skinnyminny

    Oh, I think we haven’t seen anything yet! I mean, newscorp allegedly got a no-bid contract with the new york school system, something about online schooling for school kids, not to mention teachers are being laid off, and at least 2 public schools are up for sale in the Temecula area. This was talked about at democracy now site yesterday – so maybe we will all get this type of education, I hope not. These are the type of people who will be teaching our kids. Teaching they can do anything they want without accountability or responsibility.

  • Aron Levy

    Fantastic. Yet another poster child to stigmatize the rest of us whose Asperger’s Syndrome is so well-controlled as to be nearly non-existent. This is why I hesitate to disclose at my workplace.

    The kid’s a punk, and while he certainly needs intense psychological counseling, that still must be understood.

    But the oh-poor-me Autism lobby will make him out to be a victim. Which he most certainly isn’t.

    Just my two cents.


  • ModerateMike

    Does anyone know what school officials are empowered to do when they encounter a youth like this? I couldn’t help noticing that the steps taken by school officials, while probably appropriate if Begolly was being disruptive or was threatening other students, didn’t seem to have changed his mind.

  • Sam Molloy

    I firmly believe gun control laws rarely work, but I would sure like to see a way to keep guns out of the hands of nuts like this. I’m struck by their fascination with the AK47, which like most military issue weapons leans toward cheap manufacture and ability to still work after being dropped in sand or mud, over quality and accuracy. It’s so common worldwide that it has achieved some sort of icon status here, although illegal arms dealers reputedly offer used ones for about sixty bucks a copy in bulk. The attempt at outlawing them by Clinton only resulted in changing some details and the name to get around the ban.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    “Begolly reportedly has Asperger syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder whose symptoms include extreme difficulty with social interactions and obsessive or repetitive behaviors and interests.”

    Surprise..surprise. Reading his story, he struck me as the typical WN candidate, a youth with slightly higher than average intelligence but a severe lack of social skills. The WN movement reaches out to such people and gives them a sense of belonging that they could never achieve on the outside.

    Ironically, had the original Nazis known about Asperger’s, they probably would have eliminated or sterilized this young SS aspirant.

  • Scott

    Yet another young mind that was destroyed by these idiots. Do you notice how the NSM / WN movement attracts the most messed up people in America?

  • Jonas Rand

    I have heard about this weirdo before. A Wikipedia editor, Dbachmann, was questioning the use of a black-and-yellow Jihadist flag as the “Flag of Al-Qaeda” all over Wikipedia. The only source he found for this flag being the Al-Qaeda flag was a post by this “Emerson Begolly” guy on a web site called Flags of the World, which showed that he had an interest in Jihadist propaganda.

    Where can I find a copy of “My Story, My Life”? Can somebody give a link?