For immediate release | Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Extremist Content Online: Seven Suspected Members Of Neo-Nazi Group The Base Arrested For Charges Including Criminal Intent To Commit Murder

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Users Of 8chan Successor, 8kun, Continue Praise For Christchurch Shooter Brenton Tarrant

(New York, N.Y.) – The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) reports weekly on the methods used by extremists to exploit the Internet and social media platforms to recruit followers and incite violence. This week, seven suspected members of neo-Nazi group, the Base, were arrested for various charges including firearms related crimes and criminal intent to commit murder. A French National Socialist Black Metal (NSBM) event page was located for the Call Of Terror festival. Users on 8kun, successor to 8chan, continued to praise Christchurch shooter Brenton Tarrant. Additionally, ISIS Amaq News content was located on Telegram-affiliated message board, Telegra.ph. Also, a white supremacist Telegram channel posted a video calling for violence against African Americans. Finally, a popular Neo-Nazi Telegram channel celebrated 4,000 subscribers and urged viewers to arm themselves to work towards revolution.

Seven Suspected Members Of Neo-Nazi Group The Base Arrested

Seven suspected members of the neo-Nazi group the Base were arrested, three in Georgia on January 15, three in Maryland and Delaware on January 16, and one in Wisconsin on January 17. The three individuals arrested in Georgia, Luke Austin Lane, Jacob Oliver Kaderli, and Michael Helterbrand, were charged with criminal attempt to commit murder and participation in a criminal gang. The three men are accused of planning to kill two anti-fascist activists. According to the Rome News-Tribune, the Base held a training camp in Luke Austin Lane’s town of Silver Creek, Georgia, attended by former Canadian army reservist Patrik Mathews. 

On Thursday, January 16, Patrik Mathews, Brian Lemley Jr., and William Bilbrough IV were arrested by federal law enforcement agents and charged with several firearms crimes. Lemley and Bilbrough were charged with harboring Mathews, who entered the country illegally, and Mathews was charged with being an “alien in possession of a firearm and ammunition." Lemley and Mathews built an assault rifle and were stockpiling ammunition. According to a motion for detention pending trial filed on January 21, Lemley and Mathews discussed traveling to the January 20th demonstration in Richmond for the purpose of committing targeted acts of violence against civilians and police officers with the intention of trying to start a civil war.

On January 17, Yousef Barasneh was arrested for vandalizing a Racine, Wisconsin synagogue with a swastika and other anti-Semitic imagery in September.

“The Base’s international campaign to commit violence and radicalize vulnerable individuals is incredibly dangerous,” said CEP Researcher Joshua Fisher-Birch. “While the arrests of seven alleged members of the Base before they committed acts of violence is a positive step, the need for an increased crackdown on violent white supremacists and other extremist groups is more important now than ever before. The government, the public, and tech companies cannot sit idly while these violent radicals promote aggression and extremism online.”

On Friday, January 17, on a Telegram channel purporting to belong to the Base, the group’s leader, Roman Wolf (a.k.a. Norman Spear), stated that the arrests were unfair and an attempt by the government to prevent people from taking action against their “dispossession and gradual extermination.” Wolf also stated that the group would continue to exist and struggle “for survival.”

French Neo-Nazi Metal Concert Listed As Event On Facebook, Selling Tickets Through French Ticket Website

CEP researchers located a Facebook page for the French national socialist black metal (NSBM) festival Call of Terror. The Facebook page for the music festival was created in October 2016, and had over 3,180 likes on January 17. The page administrators post approximately twice a year and only with information specifically about the festival. A Facebook event page for the February 8, 2020 Call of Terror IV festival in the Rhône-Alpes region of France was also found. Photos on the Call of Terror Facebook page include an image from the 2018 festival featuring a banner of a burning church, mosque, and synagogue, with the caption “die with your god.”

Tickets for the festival are being sold by the French event company Weezevent. Weezevent’s Terms of Use prohibit using the company to “distribute content or information that may incite discrimination, hatred or violence towards a person or group of people because of their membership or non-membership in a particular race, religion, or nation or that insults the victims of crimes against humanity by denying the existence of these crimes or by apologizing (sic) for them.”

NSBM is a neo-Nazi heavy metal subgenre that includes themes related to fascism, glorification of the Third Reich, racism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia. The Greek band headlining the Call of Terror IV festival, Der Sturmer, has lyrics that promote the murder of people of color, Jews, and leftists, and the band has previously played at a gathering of the Greek fascist party Golden Dawn. Der Sturmer has songs titled “Piles of Pigheads (sic) in the Synagogue,” and “Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer.”

Users On 8kun, Successor To 8chan, Continue To Praise Brenton Tarrant

Users on 8kun, the successor website to 8chan, continue to praise Brenton Tarrant, accused of murdering 51 people, and injuring 49 in an attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Tarrant himself was an 8chan user, and the imageboard’s users continued praise for his actions, and similar attacks by 8chan users in Poway and El Paso led the internet infrastructure company Cloudflare to terminate services to 8chan. On 8kun, CEP researchers have located video from the Christchurch attack including propaganda videos featuring footage from the attack, praise for Tarrant, dehumanization of the victims, and calls to commit further acts of violence. All posts on 8kun have a disclaimer stating that content does “not necessarily reflect the views of the 8kun administration.”

ISIS Amaq News Content Located On Telegram Affiliated Message Board

CEP researchers located ISIS Amaq news content on the Telegram affiliated text and photo board Telegra.ph. Telegra.ph is a function of Telegram, and allows users to share content with individuals who do not have Telegram accounts. Content located this week, posted on January 14 and January 15, included propaganda news updates, videos of ISIS attacks, and propaganda photos including images of dead bodies and executions.

In November 2019, a joint effort between Europol and Telegram saw the removal of thousands of accounts, channels, and chats belonging to ISIS supporters. ISIS supporters continue to maintain a presence on Telegram, as well as several other messaging platforms.

White Supremacist Telegram Channel Posts Video Promoting Violence Against African Americans

On Wednesday, January 15, a white supremacist Telegram channel that posts short meme and propaganda videos uploaded a video featuring an individual punching an African American man in the face. After being struck, the man falls on the ground. The video concludes with the words “hit the streets 2020.” The Telegram channel had over 2,250 subscribers on January 17. The channel’s Twitter account was active for 11 days before it was suspended and removed in January.

Popular Neo-Nazi Telegram Channel Celebrates 4,000 Subscribers, Urges Readers to Arm Themselves

On Tuesday, January 14, a popular neo-Nazi Telegram channel celebrated reaching 4,000 subscribers by urging their readers to build a real-life network, obtain firearms, work towards revolution, disregard morality, and not to be captured alive if arrested. The Telegram channel, which advocates for violent accelerationism and has previously posted content from the Atomwaffen Division and the Base, is one of the larger neo-Nazi and white supremacist channels on the platform. The message was reposted by at least ten Telegram channels and chats.