In a Wednesday data leak, user “antifa-data” posted an archived SQL database dump of “neo-Nazi forum” Iron March which includes the usernames, email addresses, forum posts, private messages and IP addresses belonging to members of the self-labeled “Global Fascist Fraternity.”
Since the archive was published, individuals and organizations ranging from everyday netizens to journalists and law enforcement have reportedly accessed the database and have been using various methods to cross-reference and identify users.
Though there is a possibility some of the 3,548 registered users were able to mask their IP addresses by using virtual private networks or software that provides anonymity, such as Tor, it would still be possible to use email addresses, usernames and/or details provided within private messages to uncover an Iron March member’s identity.
For example, Jacob Oakley, a former congressional candidate from Oklahoma, was quickly identified as a user after journalist Elise Thomas cross-referenced his email address with FEC documents.
Though the forum has not been active since November 2017, ZDNet reported the site spawned neo-Nazi groups Atomwaffen Division and SIEGE Culture - which follow the teachings of James Mason, an acolyte of cult leader Charles Manson.
The Southern Poverty Law Center reported Iron March was “affiliated with or offered support to at least nine fascist groups in nine different countries.”
With a small, close-knit membership, Iron March was able to fly under the radar online until it became linked to real-life violence, such as 18-year-old Devon Arthurs’ May 2017 killing of his two roommates in Florida. Arthurs, known on the site as “TheWeissewolfe,” is said to have started posting on the forum when he was 16. He would later claim to police that he was no longer a neo-Nazi after killing two of his roommates, who were also members of Iron March, because they disrespected his newfound practice of Islam. Arthurs was ultimately found mentally incompetent for trial.
Brandon Russell, another roommate of Arthurs’ and former member of the Florida National Guard, was arrested, convicted and sentenced to five years in prison after confessing to owning bomb-making materials found in the apartment.
According to NBC News, Arthurs told detectives that Russell, known as “Odin” on Iron March, and the two roommates he killed wanted to “build a Fourth Reich” and planned "to kill civilians and target locations like power lines, nuclear reactors, and synagogues.”
"I prevented the deaths of a lot of people,” Arthurs claimed.
White nationalist James Alex Fields, who was sentenced to life in prison after he injured dozens of antifascist counter protesters and killed one woman - Heather Heyer - at the “Unite the Right” rally in August 2017, was suspected to be a member of Vanguard America, which was formed from another group that got its start on Iron March.
Despite the negative press associated with the website, a concrete announcement explaining why it was taken down has not been provided.