The Irminfolk: Should Nonprofit President’s Past Offenses, Former Ties to Alleged Hate Groups Be a Concern?

Michael Sagginario appears to keep a low profile, but did appear in an interview that streamed live on YouTube in August 2022. In the interview, he discusses the Irminfolk.
Michael Sagginario appears to keep a low profile, but did appear in an interview that streamed live on YouTube in August 2022. In the interview, he discusses the Irminfolk.YouTube

Michael Sagginario is the president of the Irminfolk, a religious organization granted nonprofit status in 2016. But his past, and the Irminfolk's use of symbols and language sometimes favored by white nationalists, concerns watchdog organizations.

Likely like many other teens in New York City in the ‘90s, 15-year-old Michael Sagginario spent part of a Saturday afternoon in October skateboarding to a deli for a soda. What made Sagginario different from his peers on Oct. 15, 1995, however, was that his trip to the store took place as he was fleeing the scene of a crime at his neighborhood airport, authorities said. 

Earlier that afternoon, Sagginario brought a homemade explosive device to Flushing Airport, a now-defunct airfield next to LaGuardia Airport in Queens, and detonated it, destroying a transmitter and wind-shear detection system. That crime was investigated by local and federal authorities as a possible terrorist bombing.

SIDEBAR: Inside Asatruism's Fight Against the Co-Opting of Their Religion by White Supremacists

Before fleeing on a skateboard, Sagginario also defaced the property with swastikas and left behind a detailed note, spelling out his various neo-Nazi beliefs, according to a 1995 news story from the Washington Post. Authorities interpreted the note to be a “response to the Waco incident,” the outlet reported at the time. 

Today, Sagginario is in his 40s and is now the president of the Irminfolk, a religious organization based in Upstate New York that was granted 501(c)(3) nonprofit status in 2016, according to tax records. The group advertises that it hosts family-oriented gatherings in the summer and sells metalworks and crafts at local markets and their e-commerce store, Futhark.

But the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) have been closely monitoring the Irminfolk’s movements since the group’s conception. The watchdog organizations that monitor extremist groups report being wary of language on the Irminfolk's website, including references to members as “folk,” and references to “pre-Christian” backgrounds. 

In an interview Inside Edition Digital conducted with Sagginario over text message, he disputes the SPLC and ADL's characterizations of the Irminfolk, especially that the organization could in any way be categorized as a hate group. "What is the assertion of us being a 'hate group' based on? And what even is the definition of one?" he says, before sharing the ADL's own definition of a hate group. 

"An organization whose goals and activities are primarily or substantially based on a shared antipathy towards people of one or more other different races, religions, ethnicities/nationalities/national origins, genders, and/or sexual identities," the ADL's definition of a hate group reads. "The mere presence of bigoted members in a group or organization is typically not enough to qualify it as a hate group; the group itself must have some hate-based orientation/purpose."

"I found this definition. We most certainly do not check any of these boxes," Sagginario says. 

Imagery that the SPLC and ADL say has appeared in jewelry and ritual tchotchkes the Irminfolk community has created, used and sold, including schwarze sonne decals and Tyr rune pendants, are the same symbols used by modern white nationalist groups, likely co-opted from Nazi Germany, according to the ADL. 

Sagginario tells Inside Edition that he was informed by another member of the organization that they stopped stocking anything with the Black Sun, or schwarze sonne, symbol "years ago." "According to our records we obtained a bunch of stickers and patches from a company that liquidated its inventory of heathen items," he says. "The so called 'schwarze sonne' symbol is an ancient sigil believed to depict the sun...We carried and sold them but because of the use of that motif in association with various new age occult practices, and later [after] some high profile controversies, we quietly stopped using it. 

"Our use of the Alemannic Zierscheiben had nothing to do with any modern political movements. Nevertheless to avoid confusion it has not been restocked for over a decade," he continues. "The rune Tiwaz is often called the 'Tyr Rune' and is the 17th Rune of the Elder Futhark runic alphabet. It is believed to represent the God Tyr who is the bringer of Justice. 

"I have no clue as to what 'far right' political associations 'use' the rune. I don't follow those things. I have no clue how an ancient letter can hurt the feelings of a multimillion dollar foreign lobbying organization. The Defamation League is a neurotic hate group and a public nuisance."

Experts in the hate group watchdog space suggest to Inside Edition Digital that it's by blurring the lines between hate and religion that organizations motivated by white nationalism achieve nonprofit status, survive and profit while disseminating dangerous ideologies. These experts believe that by flying under the radar while citing freedom of expression and the right to free speech, hate organizations can spread their ideology unchecked, avoiding the public scrutiny that could alert authorities of any potential violence brewing.

And experts fear that the Irminfolk, which claims to be at least 100 members strong and growing, may be one such group.

Though not as well-known as the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys, experts fear the Irminfolk and groups like it could have the potential for following in the more well-known groups’ footsteps.

"As I said before, citing the ADLs website defining a 'Hate group' ... we do not have any ministries, programs, or policies that meet any of their own criteria," Sagginario tells Inside Edition Digital. "And while the Irminfolk website may require some upkeep to prune some very old info, I cannot think of anything on there which fits their description either. Either they are being duplicitous and acting in bad faith, or they are acting on some sort of vulgar prejudice against some of our Allemannic inspired iconography and are spinning a conspiracy theory about it. 

"In any case, the Irminfolk values hospitality as one of our core virtues and we have never turned anybody away who came to us in good faith," he continues. "We want nothing to do with Hate peddlers and grifters. The Irminfolk's focus is on propagating an understanding of Native European Spirituality with a particular emphasis on continental pre-christian practices." 

How Fringe Ideologies Have Shifted Into the Mainstream

“It goes beyond the thuggishness of generic white supremacy,” Chris Magyarics, senior investigative researcher for the Anti-Defamation League, tells Inside Edition Digital. He has been following the Irminfolk’s and Sagginario’s movements for several years. “It gives this feeling of it being more socially acceptable, or being a religion of sorts.” 

And the recent trend of fringe ideologies making their way into the mainstream, Magyarics says, is concerning. Domestic terrorism has increasingly concerned the White House and the FBI in recent years, and it has accounted for dozens of deaths in the U.S. annually since 2021, according to the ADL. There were 25 killed by far-right terrorists in 2022, with an “unusually high” percentage of killings carried out in the name of white supremacist ideology, the ADL reported. 

Many of the perpetrators in those scenarios, like the Buffalo shooter who murdered 10 and injured three Black shoppers in 2022, stated clearly in their manifestos that their radicalization began online. He pleaded guilty to 15 state-level charges, including one count of domestic terrorism and 10 counts of first-degree murder, and was sentenced to life without parole. His federal case, in which he has pleaded not guilty to 27 charges, is still ongoing and his next court date is set for Oct. 24.

But experts say the concrete figures don’t account for the countless lives forever changed in the aftermath of mass violence events like the assault on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. An 18-month investigation into the Jan. 6 Capitol riots concluded that much of the planning and recruitment that led to violence happened in darker corners of the internet ahead of former President Donald Trump’s rally, according to the House committee’s report. Many were radicalized on forums, chat groups and social media platforms, where conspiracy theories and hateful ideologies proliferated, spurred on by known hate groups. Those hate groups include the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys, some of whose members have been convicted and await trial for their roles in Jan. 6.

“We have recently seen a shift in a direction where what normally would have been considered extreme rhetoric and conversations that people were having would not be openly espoused,” Magyarics says. “Now, it’s become kind of acceptable, if you will. [They] kind of forget about the social and political mores that people are supposed to follow.”

Paganism in the White Nationalist World

There’s no doubt racist heathenry is on the rise, Magyarics says. White paganism, in which hate groups operate as pseudo-religious groups attempting to revive ancient Norse beliefs, has seen an increase in activity in recent years, he explains. 

“Of the different sub movements [of the white supremacist population] that we closely monitor, this is one that we have seen an increase in their activity over the last couple years, whereas others have either remained stable or have started to go into a state of decline," he says.

That could be due to the House investigation into Jan. 6, and the ongoing criminal investigations and convictions among the ranks of groups visibly involved in the assault on the Capitol, including the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, Magyarics says. 

While the ADL estimates about 25% of those participating in Jan. 6 are or were affiliated with organized hate groups, there is no evidence that heathenry groups were involved. None of those currently facing prosecution appear to share beliefs associated with heathenry or Odinism, as the specific belief is called, he says. Even Jacob Chansley, better known as the “QAnon Shaman,” didn’t appear to have any affiliation with heathen groups.

With federal attention focused on other sects of white nationalism, heathenism is able to continue on and proliferate under the radar, Magyarics says.

And the Irminfolk, which calls Sagginario its president, appears to be one such group, Magyarics says. 

“There’s no question that he has a history with extremism,” he says. “Now does that mean people can change? Absolutely. But then again, maybe he is doing it just so the forward-facing portion of this group doesn’t come across as being extremists. It’s not until you start digging a little deeper and scratching the surface do you realize it.” 

Sagginario appeared to take offense to the idea that the Irminfolk practice paganism, saying, "So this is not a piece about heathenry or the Irminfolk or even spirituality at all. It is a racist hit piece against what the (drastically misnamed) Anti Defamation League calls 'white paganism'(sic)."

Accusing Inside Edition Digital of working as a "partisan to a racially motivated attack by a legitimate 'hate' group," Sagginario says, "The Irminfolk does not practice 'paganism', nor 'white paganism' whatever that is supposed to mean. We sure as f*** have nothing to do with 'supremacy' of any sort and reject such slander out of hand."

Michael Sagginario’s Youth Offenses and Past Membership in Organized Hate Groups

The incident at Flushing airport put Sagginario on federal law enforcement’s radar as “a neo-Nazi white supremacist,” police told the New York Post in 2000. Sagginario had been on probation since his teen offense in 1995 and was found to have violated the terms of his probation in 1997 when he was stopped for waving a Nazi flag from a moving car and yelling a racial slur, according to, a Queens, New York City-based news publication. He denied yelling the slur and said he was only waving the flag to get the attention of a friend. 

Sagginario was arrested again in 2000. He had been initially arrested on suspicion of posting racially offensive stickers throughout his neighborhood, reported. Cops searched his home and said they discovered a replica Nazi uniform, a loaded AK-47 assault rifle, 260 additional rounds of ammunitions, two silencers, a zip gun, a DIY bomb-making book, white supremacist literature and other paraphernalia in his College Point home, according to reports by the New York Post and 

It was during this arrest that authorities found stickers and an official handbook linking Sagginario, then 20, back to the National Alliance, an organization the FBI has said promotes “white radicalism.” The SPLC calls the organization a hate group, writing, “the National Alliance (NA) was for decades the most dangerous and best organized neo-Nazi formation in America.” The late founder’s son continues to warn the public about the organization to this day. 

“Back in the day, when [Sagginario] was part of it, it was the country’s largest Neo-Nazi organization,” Magyarics says. 

The National Alliance’s influence and membership today has diminished in recent years. “The National Alliance was once the largest neo-Nazi group in the United States, before it imploded in mismanagement and factional fighting following the death of its founder, William Pierce,” the ADL writes. But the organization appears to still be active and continues to recruit new members. The organization's website states that “any White person (a non-Jewish person of wholly European ancestry)” is eligible to join, except those “with a non-White spouse or a non-White dependent” or those who identify as “homosexual or bisexual.” The National Alliance did not respond to Inside Edition Digital’s request for comment.

Sagginario entered a guilty plea for receiving an unregistered firearm. He ultimately served 27 months behind bars and was sentenced to four more years probation, federal court records filed in the Eastern District of New York (EDNY) showed. 
Since then, Sagginario has taken legal action to scrub his record. He was found to have violated the terms of his probation in January 2003, according to docket records regarding his 2000 arrest. In January 2005, his attorneys petitioned to modify the terms of his probation by claiming the conditions were “vague,” according to a supplemental reply memorandum filed on his behalf. 

“For some probation officers, Sagginario’s possessing homemade plastic gun silencers was not a problem or violation. But for others, it is a probation violation,” the letter reads. “For some probation officers, the race-hating, Jew-hating novel ‘The Turner Diaries’ was nothing more than an innocuous ‘history book.’ But for the United States Attorney, possessing it is a probation violation.” 

The book referenced in his attorney’s letter, “The Turner Diaries,” is a 1978 novel that tells the story of a group of white supremacists who attack the Capitol building in an attempt to overthrow the U.S. government, according to a recent New York Times article. The book was penned by the founder of the National Alliance under a pseudonym and is largely regarded as a fundamental text or instruction manual by far-right extremists, according to federal authorities, watchdog organizations and news reports. 

Around 2006, Sagginario petitioned the courts for relief from his felony conviction for the unregistered firearm. Sagginario claimed in a letter submitted to the judge his imprisonment was a result of a flawed law enforcement investigation and faulty legal advice. He wrote that he was seeking relief from his previous convictions on the grounds that they were barring him from rehabilitation – namely, from being in a relationship with a member of law enforcement.

“I had been dating a girl for a few years … if there could be a picture of staying out of trouble, this was it,” he wrote, discussing their dreams of getting married and starting fresh in a newly-purchased property upstate. “That was my best shot at living a normal life.” 

Sagginario wrote in the letter that his partner's work demanded she stop associating with him when the internal affairs office became aware she was involved with a convicted felon. 

His indictment was sealed but the motion to quash his criminal record was ultimately denied in 2008.  

Sagginario pushes back against the reported details of his past incidents, implying many of the reports were exaggerated at best and "wrong or fabricated" at worst. He tells Inside Edition Digital that the first incident in question occurred nearly 30 years ago, that he "paid my debt and my youthful indiscretions never victimized any individual." The details with which he takes issue and challenges are included at the bottom of this story.

At some point, Sagginario split with the National Alliance and found his way into the Ásatrú Folk Assembly (AFA), which is designated by the IRS as a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt public charity. It is also considered to be a hate organization by the SPLC and the ADL. 

“They love to push the whole, ‘Well it's a religion, so you're bigoted for going against me,’” says Scott Ernest, of Woods Bay, Montana. “Yeah, it has a religion, but it is primarily a white nationalist group. AFA is definitely religious second, political first.”

In a statement to Inside Edition Digital, the Ásatrú Folk Assembly said it "is not, nor have we ever been a hate group."

Ernest was once a member of AFA, and is outspoken about his past as a white nationalist. He says he spent nearly 10 years in various hate groups that aligned with white nationalist ideals, and fell into it after becoming interested in Odinism as a preteen. Even though Odinism and heathenry do not necessarily go hand-in-hand with hateful beliefs, Ernest says he identified as a white nationalist during the time of his membership in AFA. 

Today, Ernest says he has left his hateful past behind. He is now the founder of Hands of Eir, which he describes as a neo-Pagan, LGBTQ-friendly support group for other former extremists. He is still heavily involved in Odinism and heathenry, and he says the overlap between religion and hateful ideology in many groups is complicated, and oftentimes intentionally misleading. Magyarics agrees. “It’s very difficult for the untrained eye to go look in there and say, ‘Oh, that's extremist and that's not,’” Magyarics explains. “When you have different Odinist groups, the different branches that come off of it are referred to as kindred. So you might have a kindred that's part of the Asatru Folk Assembly that's not extremist at all, but another kindred that's from some other part of the country that is hardcore white supremacy.”

Even within organizations that experts consider to be hate groups, Ernest said that there are many levels of extremism. “There's people in it that are indistinguishable from anybody else. There's people in it that are full blown Neo-Nazi with 1488 tattooed on their forehead. They could be anybody, from somebody that you might see in a militia, to somebody you might see teaching in an elementary school,” he says. “The thing that binds them all together really would be the making of your ethnicity front and center as the most important thing. Whether they're the more normal people, or whether they're a skinhead, they're generally racist.”

Sagginario split from AFA shortly after he embarked on his mission to scrub his record, a common occurrence for those who may want to face less public scrutiny regarding their hateful ideology, Magyarics says. 

Sagginario tells Inside Edition Digital that the Irminfolk was affiliated with the AFA for about four years and eventually cut ties for several reasons, the details of which are included at the bottom of this story. 

It is entirely possible that Odinist groups, even those that overtly tout hate like the AFA, have members in their ranks that do not have associate with white nationalistic beliefs, Magyarics says. That makes the task of classifying heathen groups as hateful or not hateful all the more difficult, he says, and that ambiguity makes it all the more difficult for experts to warn authorities about these groups.

The Irminfolk's Ideologies Evoke Sagginario's Past, Experts Say

The Irminfolk was granted 501(c)(3) non-profit status in 2016. Sagginario spoke of the group in a 2022 interview, in which he shared news of the Irminfolk’s various events and spoke of the group's actions. "The Irminfolk started in 2007 in Long Island, New York," he says in the hour-long interview.  

Those familiar with the heathen landscape, though, say the Irminfolk’s use of terms like “European ancestry” on their “About Us” page is an extremist dog whistle. “There are many Odinist groups – some more focused on religion, some more focused on politics,” Ernest says. “Those words (European ancestry) mean they are more focused on politics.” 

A previously cached version of the Irminfolk’s website, accessed through internet archival site The Wayback Machine, showed an earlier iteration of their “Who We Are” page stated that in order to be eligible for membership into the Irminfolk, “All applicants, and their dependents, must be ‘Ethnic European.’”

Another since-removed page on their website defines their beliefs, or folkish heathenry, to be a “religion of a biologically distinct European ethnicity” that “appeals to the collective unconscious of people of ethnic European ancestry through a common ancestral bloodline.” 

Magyarics and Ernest both say there are plenty of non-racist and inclusive groups that practice heathenry, a term that refers to the general beliefs under Odinism and modern Paganism. But Ernest says that those familiar with heathenry would recognize that the words “irmin” and “folk,” when used together, hints at a white supremacist ideology.

The vast majority of extremists are not registered with established groups, Magyarics says, and Sagginario could have continued practicing his beliefs in obscurity. But there is power in community. 

“Feeling like they’re part of something bigger than themselves has a broad appeal to people,” Ernest says. “Whatever’s going on in their own personal lives, whatever’s going on in the country as a whole, where they feel that maybe they need to do their part. Engaging in this kind of activism, real-world activism of plastering propaganda or joining in a small little rally, that sense of belongingness has an appeal to a lot of people.”

The desire to belong to something bigger than themselves, especially when they believe they are a part of an ancient community, is reflected in heathenry in general. “In Odinism, even in racist Odinism, there's some pride in being a part of something that has lasted for 8,000 years in one form or another,” Ernest explains. “They do take pride in the fact that their religion, in whatever form it's taken, has endured.”

It was the very reason Ernest turned to extremism himself. “I was a white nationalist, I was an Odinist. [AFA] was a white nationalist group that had a lot of Odinists, so that's how I, kind of, got involved,” he explains. “It did call to me on an ethnic level too, because I am mostly German and Swedish. I was a little bit of Irish thrown in. A lot of people view [Odinism] as an ethnic religion.

“I like to think that I never got as bad as other white nationalists,” Ernest continues. “Everybody in white nationalism says they weren't very bad, but I mean, that's how that is.”

The Irminfolk touts itself as a family-oriented community. “Officially, we had more children than adults” at their annual summer event, Sagginario said in the 2022 interview. 

That messaging serves as a way to lend legitimacy to the organization, Magyarics says. But for Ernest, family and reproduction goes hand-in-hand with hateful beliefs. “Having kids, having a bloodline, you want to have kids to keep that bloodline going,” he says. 

And on 4Chan, an anonymous online forum known for little oversight, users pointed to the Irminfolk as a community that could influence children in a way that “even public education won’t ruin them,” suggesting an encouragement of beliefs outside of the accepted norm, according to an archived forum discussing “maximum non assimilation by Whites.” 
Like members of many other clubs or organizations, members of the Irminfolk pay a membership fee. As of August 2023, the Irminfolk’s online store notes that an annual auxiliary membership begins at $25, although the description makes clear that purchase does not make one a voting member of the community. Different tiers of auxiliary membership range in costs up to $250. A lifetime auxiliary membership is priced at $500. 

IRS data available online shows the Irminfolk reported gross receipts of less than $50,000 in its tax filings in 2015 and 2016. A tax filing from 2013 states the organization’s expenses for “rituals” total $9,150.21 and expenses for the religious store totals $11,898.87. Inside Edition Digital has requested more recent information on the Irminfolk’s tax history from the IRS.

“Every penny is accounted for,” Sagginario said in the 2022 interview when prompted about membership dues. “We're a nonprofit charity. Everything has to be allocated to a purpose that fulfills our mission as an organization.”

He went on to say that proceeds from various sales, raffles, donations and membership dues goes toward free programming for kids, purchasing land in order to establish a physical presence, and an emergency fund for members experiencing unexpected financial difficulty.  

The organization states in its description that membership fees and donations are tax deductible, and goes toward a variety of Irminfolk programs, including “Asatru kindred building and administration instruction."

Other funds go toward supporting the next generation of their organization. Money is allocated to support children’s memberships, which are free, and for supplies needed to host family-oriented events, the site says. “We buy so much stuff for the kids,” he said in the interview, without diving into specifics regarding what is purchased.

Funds raised also go toward purchasing land, with a goal of building a physical, self-sustaining community, he said. “This is the path forward to power. To creating an actual power base for heathenry,” Sagginario said in the interview posted on YouTube. “That’s the focus for at least the next 10 years.”

The Irminfolk's site also states that membership will allow access to “social media channel[s] where a variety of programs will be discussed and disseminated, challenges issued, and strategies planned.”

That, Magyarics says, could be the most concerning of all. “You don’t have to belong to these groups. You can have somebody who’s going on the website to read all the stuff and ingest everything,” he says. “Those are the people who are radicalized by what they see online.” 

The Violence Perpetrated by the Far Right That Has Experts Concerned

“We have seen actual acts of violence based on corporations’ refusal to stop enabling organizing in this way on their platforms,” says Arisha Hatch, of Color of Change, which describes itself as a non-profit group dedicated to promoting racial justice.

And more recently, data from the storming of the U.S. Capitol showed that a lot of the planning had occurred on social media platforms like Parler, Gab and Telegram, which experts say known hate groups like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers have used.

Robert Bowers, Magyarics says, who shot up Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in 2018, posted on far-right social media site Gab, “screw your optics, I’m going in,” shortly before the attack. Nearly a dozen worshippers were killed in the attack, and Bowers, who survived the incident, was found guilty of 63 counts, including 11 counts of hate crimes resulting in death. A federal jury sentenced Bowers to death on Aug. 2.

The Irminfolk’s presence on major social media platforms is worrying, say experts who believe the group to be one with which to be concerned. Currently, the group has a presence on Facebook, where they have more than 3,400 followers, on Instagram, where they have more than 800 followers, and on YouTube, where some of their promotional videos have thousands of views. 

One of Color of Change’s major goals is to identify and dismantle the infrastructure that allows certain groups to flourish, which goes beyond the social media giants. The organization has previously called out payment processors that hate groups use to sell their products. One of Hatch’s accomplishments through Color of Change was getting Mastercard and PayPal to ban the use of their platforms by hate organizations and white nationalists. 

“The ways that [Mastercard and PayPal were] profiting [from hate organizations] make up such a small percentage of their overall business that it makes little sense for them to continue to be in this space,” Hatch says. Her organization’s research found that revenue from hate likely makes up less than 0.1% of major corporations’ overall profit. “Our theory of change is to really push back on folks that are enabling this and to cut off sources of revenue for these types of things.”

Inside Edition Digital has reached out to Mastercard for comment. A spokesperson for PayPal pointed to the company’s Acceptable Use Policy, which notes that PayPal cannot be used for activities that "violate any law, statute, ordinance or regulation" or related to transactions involving "the promotion of hate, violence, racial or other forms of intolerance that is discriminatory or the financial exploitation of a crime." 

Color of Change’s multi-pronged approach also targets corporations that make donations to these hate groups for tax breaks, thanks to their status as a nonprofit. “Hate groups rely on their ability to have a nonprofit status not only to reap tax benefits but to receive millions of dollars of donations,” Hatch says. 

One specific group, which Color of Change says “encourages violence against and surveillance of migrants along the border,” is American Patrol. Not to be confused with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, American Patrol, which has also been known as American Border Patrol or Voice of Citizens Together, is an anti-immigration group based in Arizona that the SPLC has designated a hate-group. Color of Change used IRS data to determine the group received more than $20,000 in donations from 2015 to 2017. Inside Edition Digital has reached out to American Border Patrol for comment.  

“In the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder … there were a whole set of corporations quick to shout ‘Black Lives Matter,’” Hatch says. “And yet there are a number of corporations that continue to profit off white supremacist groups.”

But anti-hate advocates do take solace in the increasing difficulty with which organizations can profit from hateful ideology. In the aftermath of the assault on the Capitol, Facebook and Instagram banned content related to QAnon theories and Holocaust denial on their platforms, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) dropped websites they said were linked to hate. 

This could be why the Irminfolk’s social media presence is at times fraught. 

Sagginario said during the 2022 interview that the group had launched new efforts to host their content on their own servers “if we get de-platformed,” as some of their members were booted off Facebook in earlier years for reasons he did not disclose.

Their previous e-commerce store Whirling Sun wrote on its website that it had been “zucked,” or banned, from Facebook, and the Irminfolk itself seems to periodically have its social media pages taken down. Its kindred, or brotherhood groups, along with AFA and its offshoots, do not have a presence on Facebook.

The AFA said in a statement to Inside Edition Digital that "Facebook and Instagram both purged us along with many other traditional and socially conservative groups and individuals on the same day. None of our messaging violated either platform's terms of service nor was our messaging in any way hateful." 

As of publishing, the Irminfolk Odinist Community's Facebook is active, with 3,200 likes and 3,400 followers. To date, its Instagram page has 825 followers. 

Many individuals involved in hateful ideologies began cleaning up their social media presence once investigations into Jan. 6 began, deleting old channels, removing old posts, and moving their conversations to less public forums, Magyarics says.

“You had all types of white supremacists who were boasting online about being down there,” Magyarics says. “Then the arrests happened, and people realized, arrests are happening, or I’m getting fired from my job, or I just lost my full-ride scholarship to the university I was attending.”

That doesn’t mean these groups, individuals or beliefs are gone for good, he says. As is often the case, they find a way to bounce back on the internet, Magyarics says.

“I don’t know what their discussions are behind closed doors, but I’m sure they’re talking about it,” Magyarics says. 

The Irminfolk built an internal, password protected forum in addition to moving most of its content to Telegram in order to skirt the possibility of losing their following on major social media platforms, Sagginario said during the YouTube interview. 

It is unclear how many individuals also have access to their internal forum, Stammtisch, which is linked out on their website and where Sagginario said many of their discussions are based. “Stammtisch” is a German word that refers to a group of regular visitors to a bar or restaurant, or a large table an establishment often reserves for regular customers. 

As of publishing, payments for items bought through the Whirling Sun online store are processed through Stripe and G Pay., which is linked to on the Irminfolk website and described as “our online store,” accepts payments through Stripe, and has an option to pay for items using cryptocurrencies. 

Stripe tells Inside Edition Digital they do not comment about specific users and would not comment on their work with the Irminfolk. The platform says they do not work with any business that “engages in, encourages, promotes or celebrates unlawful violence or physical harm,” which includes the violence or harm done through any forms of discrimination, including racism. The company, however, also says it wants “to avoid becoming an arbiter of what speech is legitimate … in particular, in the area of political expression.” 

“At times, determining what constitutes the promotion of unlawful violence is not clear. Some would prefer we go further and deny services to users that are controversial, or have views some find extreme. While others may draw different lines, our view is that basic economic infrastructure, like bank accounts or the services Stripe provides, should be broadly accessible and provided in an impartial manner,” the platform said in a statement to Inside Edition Digital. 

“As part of our acceptable use policy, we prohibit the use of our API for a number of products and services including hateful content,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement to Inside Edition Digital. As of publishing, Google says it is in the process of getting the GPay button removed from the Whirling Sun online store.

Keeping the lights on is a challenge with which every sector of extremism seems to be struggling, thanks to crackdowns on hate by many major corporations and social media platforms. That in itself is a small victory in the fight against the proliferation of hate, experts say. Cutting off funding and access to major platforms makes it harder for these organizations to access broader audiences, reducing the possibility of violence through internet radicalization, experts say.

“This type of worldview and rhetoric shouldn't exist at all, but it certainly should be marginalized and exist on the fringes of society,” Hatch says. “That's our broader hope.”

Sagginario in His Own Words

The Irminfolk was affiliated with the AFA "as a way of networking and syndicating with a National organization" from 2011 until "approximately 2015," Sagginario says.

"The organization had a change of power which we did not support. But we nevertheless continued to support the AFA. It soon became clear to us, however, that they were no longer aligned with our values and were below our standards," he continues. "In short, we felt the new regimen was building a cult and publicly and vocally making controversial proclamations we felt were self sabotaging. 

"We cut ties with them and I go out of my way to distance myself and the Irminfolk from anything to do with that group," he says. "Is it a 'hate group?'. I don't know. This jargon is not in my vocabulary. It's a clumsy, dim and dull term used to bad jacket political rivals. The ADL defines a 'hate group' on its website. I think the Defamation League fits the profile of 'hate' they themselves prescribe point by point."

Saying he thinks the AFA is not "sophisticated enough" to meet the criteria laid out by the ADL of a hate group, "even if they wanted to," Sagginario says, "I do not know if that is their intent. I have no contact with them." 

"I will point out that I am not the founder of the Irminfolk," he continues. "I joined a small heathen Kindred in 2007 which was heavily influenced by Rodnovy and Eastern European prehistory. From that, a sect, if you will, formed comprised of English Speaking Asatruar who were focused on Odin and the continental Germanic pantheon. After some years the 'Irminfolk' was incorporated from that. And I was a rank and file member. Over the years since I have served on the Board of Directors, which we call a Rede, several terms. Not continuously. I currently serve as President."

The concerns of experts in the white nationalism watchdog space are unfounded and rooted in a desire to attack Sagginario and the Irminfolk, he tells Inside Edition Digital. "I view the attempt to draw connections between a 1990s teenager and 2023 church service to be appalling and stupid," he says. "It's obviously a desperate attempt at reinforcing the Defamation League's vitriolic race bait grifting with whatever straws they can grasp. Losers." 

"Now almost THIRTY years ago, when I was 15 years old, I was involved in vandalism, using fireworks, not a "bomb" at a 72 acre abandoned lot that used to be an airport in the 1980s," he says. "The equipment I vandalized was, unbeknownst to me at the time, still in service and reporting wind information. It resulted in a sealed 'Juvenile information' resulting in probation. 

"Pursuant to that probation, I got in trouble again later, when I was I think 19," he says. "The probation violation arrest resulted in a newspaper article being produced in which literally every single sentence contains a factual error. Literally every single detail is either wrong or fabricated. 

"I did not own an AK47. I had a regular rifle which was lawfully possessed and gave rise to no charges. In fact, that rifle was attempted to be returned to me buy I voluntarily surrendered it. I did not want it anymore," he says. "My charge was for the two 'silencers' which I had for my paintball hobby. The 'silencers' were plastic and .68 caliber, for paintball guns. And I had owned them since I was 12. My probation officer knew about them but then had a change of heart. The ATF 'tested' these toy silencers and even though they fell apart during testing, they determined they should have been taxed and I didn't pay that tax. I was charged and convicted under the NFA. 

"I had no nefarious intent with my paintball hobby. I never played again after that. 

"I did not have a bomb making book. I have no clue what that is even in reference to.  

"Nor did I own a nazi uniform," he says. "I recall having owned a surplus east German jacket but definitely no uniform. These people invent ridiculous delusions out of thin air. 

"There were, admittedly, some episodes during a span of a few years in my youth where I got into trouble and was involved in some radical groups. Vandalism when I was 15, a disorderly conduct ticket (which was thrown out) when I was 17, and a conviction for playing paintball with the wrong accessories when I was 19," he continues. "I assume that society has recovered from this treachery. I paid my debt and my youthful indiscretions never victimized any individual. 

"None of this has anything to do with my spirituality and especially has nothing at all to do with my service in the Irminfolk decades later."