On May 8, 2019, Taliban insurgents detonated an explosive-laden vehicle and then broke into American NGO Counterpart International’s offices in Kabul. At least seven people were killed and 24 were injured.
This month, the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) identified a new WordPress website for a militant neo-Nazi survivalist network known as The Base, which has advocated for acts of terrorism against critical U.S. infrastructure and promoted violence against Jews and minorities. The Base exists in order to share paramilitary and survivalist information among individuals and members of different white supremacist groups. Its activities and members are inspired by James Mason’s Siege, a manifesto of neo-Nazism and extreme far-right hate.
The Base has previously called for the use of terrorism, shared information on bomb-making, and encouraged the formation of underground cells. On a now deleted Gab page identified by CEP researchers, The Base told potential recruits that in a second civil war, “Assassinations (and) bombings not pitched militia battles” will occur and asked, “will you be ready?”
CEP notified WordPress in a letter dated July 12 about the company’s provision of online services to The Base, which used its site to recruit and incite members. WordPress subsequently removed The Base’s site by July 15. The group’s WordPress site included allusions to attacks on major utilities, flyers urging “Save your race join The Base,” and video clips of members using a Star of David for marksmanship practice. WordPress’s User Guidelines prohibit “calls to violence,” including “content which threatens, incites, or promotes violence, physical harm, or death.”
WordPress’s decision to remove the site, unfortunately, is illustrative of the tech industry’s ongoing ad hoc approach to removing extremist material. Tech firms must deploy a much more proactive and transparent process for enforcing its own terms of service and community guidelines.
The Base’s website page on WordPress.com
Members of The Base using a Star of David for target practice
Several accounts belonging to The Base and a spokesperson for the group have also been removed from Twitter and Gab. Audiobook copies of Siege were removed last month by YouTube as part of its new policy to take down more neo-Nazi, white supremacist and other hateful content.
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