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Vice - November 2018

A neo-Nazi who goes by the alias Norman Spear has launched a project to unify online fascists and link that vast coalition of individuals into a network training new soldiers for a so-called forthcoming “race war.”

Spear, who claims to be an Iraq and Afghan war veteran, is a self-proclaimed white nationalist with a significant online following. His latest act involves bringing neo-Nazis together, regardless of affiliation and ideology, into a militant fascist umbrella organization. His tool for doing this? A social network he calls “The Base,” which is already organizing across the US and abroad, specifically geared toward partaking in terrorism.

Within the confines of a secure chat room viewed by VICE, Spear and his burgeoning global web of terror cells are networking, creating propaganda, organizing in-person meet-ups, and discussing potential violence or “direct action” against minority groups, especially Jewish and black Americans. An extensive online library contains a trove of manuals with instructions on lone wolf terror-tactics, gunsmithing, data mining, interrogation tactics, counter-surveillance techniques, bomb making, chemical weapons creation, and guerilla warfare.

The network's vetting process serves to funnel committed extremists from around the internet into a group explicitly focused on providing users with terroristic skills, in order to produce real-world violence. Members of The Base have made it clear they’re recruiting applicants with military and explosives backgrounds. And in addition to homemade bombs, members have also begun discussing trying to find unexploded World War II ordnance to make improvised explosive devices.

“I'm all about violence, but I want to gather with people and plan something out,” wrote one user going by the name Rimbaud to the almost 50 other members of the secret network, lamenting that the recent terror attack on a synagogue in Pittsburgh could’ve been more effective. “Maybe some form of bombing, or something a bit more destructive.”

The Base is attracting known extremists from the militant far-right. It counts alleged members of Atomwaffen Division—a violent neo-Nazi terror group linked to several hate crimes, an attempted bombing and a racially motivated killing—and the Eco-Fascist Order (EFO)—a newly minted far-right organization on the radars of terrorism trackers—as part of its growing coalition.

“I think at this point in history everyone should merge to some extent and become one uniform coalition of different branches, the writers/educators, the propagandist, the organizers, and the militants all as one,” one user wrote when discussing having his organization, Volkish, work with the EFO.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is tracking The Base and Spear, militarizing the neo-Nazi movement within the fractious ecosystem of the far-right is something that makes The Base uniquely dangerous, especially in a time when federal authorities are struggling to grapple with far-right terrorism. Earlier this year, the Anti-Defamation League released a report stating that “the number of anti-Semitic incidents was nearly 60 percent higher in 2017 than 2016, the largest single-year increase on record and the second highest number reported since ADL started tracking incident data in the 1970s.” The ADL also said that the majority of extremist-related killings in the last decade were committed by right-wing extremists.

Heidi Beirich, director of SPLC’s Intelligence Project, says The Base's propaganda already poses a major threat to public safety, because it “encourages individuals toward the terroristic so-called ‘lone wolf’ or terror cell-oriented mentality” and leads followers to “prepare themselves to, in fact, become potential threats to public safety.”

When asked about Spear and The Base for this story, the FBI declined to comment. VICE reached out to Spear via email but has not heard back as of the time of publishing. ...
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