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March 11, 2022 MEMRI Daily Brief No. 368

Recommendations For Future Designation Of Racially Motivated Violent Extremist Groups As Foreign Terrorist Organizations And Specially Designated Terrorist Organizations Under Executive Order 13224

March 11, 2022 | By Simon A. Purdue, PhD*
MEMRI Daily Brief No. 368

Contents

Introduction

Guidelines For Defining And Designating Terrorist Groups

Russia: M.K.U. – A.K.A. "Maniacs Murder Cult"; "Youth That Smiles"

Ukraine: Karpatska Sich

Hungary: Farkasfalka, A.K.A. Farkasok

Mexico: "Syndicate 1611," A.K.A. "CND," "Tempestia"

Australia: National Socialist Network

France: Génération Identitaire And The International Identitarian Movement

Scandinavia: Nordic Resistance Movement

Conclusion

Introduction

On April 6, 2020, the United States Department of State took the unprecedented step of labelling the Russian Imperial Movement (RIM) a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) group and three of the group's senior members – Stanislav Anatolyevich Vorobyev, Denis Valliullovich Gariyev, and Nikolay Nikolayevich Trushchalov – as Specially Designated Global Terrorists.[i] Prior to the ruling, no white supremacist or Racially Motivated Violent Extremist (RMVE) group had been given terrorist designation, and the designation marked the first step in the United States Government's pathway to effectively challenging global white supremacist and neo-Nazi terrorism.


The flag and emblem of the Russian Imperial Movement

This pathway is a lengthy one however, and many more steps need to be taken in order to effectively counter the rapidly evolving landscape of global racially motivated terrorism. The designation of RIM was justified on the grounds of their having participated in training to commit acts of terrorism, and there are many more groups around the world which adequately fit this description, as well as more broadly fitting the specifications for designation as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) or the guidelines set out under Executive Order 13224.[ii] This report will outline a number of groups which fit the guidelines for designation either as an FTO or as an SDGT, and will make the case for their designation.

Guidelines For Defining And Designating Terrorist Groups

Firstly, it is important to outline exactly what these guidelines are. As well as the precedential standard set out in the designation of RIM, the Department of State and the Department of the Treasury are granted clear jurisdiction and given clear standards for the designation of terrorist entities through EO13224, which states the Departments, in conjunction with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General, may designate and prohibit from entry into the United States any "foreign persons [later defined as any individual or entity] determined … to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States," or any persons deemed to " assist in, sponsor, or provide financial, material, or technological support for, or financial or other services to or in support of, such acts of terrorism." Within this executive order terrorism is defined as any activity that "involves a violent act or an act dangerous to human life, property, or infrastructure and [which] appears to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion, or to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, kidnapping, or hostage taking.


Executive Order 13224 Sets Out Clear Guidelines For The Designation Of Terrorist Entities

By these clear definitions there are numerous white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups globally which can and should be designated as terrorist entities by the United States Government. In Russia and Ukraine alone there are dozens of violent extremist organizations which expressly promote terroristic violence, train international extremists, and offer material and technical support to US-based domestic extremist groups. Other groups across Europe, Australasia, Southern Africa and even Central and South America are similarly positioned for designation as SDGTs or FTOs, and present a tangible threat to security and stability not only in their own nations, but in the United States. The following list of groups is thus by no means an exhaustive one, but only represents a small sample of the groups best suited to, and in some cases urgently requiring, terrorist designation.

Russia: M.K.U. – A.K.A. "Maniacs Murder Cult"; "Youth That Smiles"

The first group which clearly meets the standards for designation as an SDGT is a Russian group known variously as M.K.U, the Maniacs Murder Cult, or Youth That Smiles. The M.K.U. is a violent skinhead group which has been linked to numerous politically and racially motivated assaults and murders, as well as at least one major bombing plot. The group describes itself as a collection of "NS [National Socialist] paramedics whose goal is to 'clean the world.'" They actively promote violence and murder, often sharing personal information of ideological "enemies" and encouraging violence against them. The group uses Telegram, where it infamously posts footage of murders and assaults, primarily of addicts, refugees, ideological enemies, and people of color. The group consistently posts calls to violence with phrases "killing is fun" and "all people must die." M.K.U. also shares photos of neo-Nazi merchandise as well as graffiti and promotional materials around Russia. The leader of the group, Ukrainian national Yegor Krasnov, was arrested for five violent attacks in the city of Dnipro, which he and his associates filmed and published on social media.


Yegor Krasnov, leader of M.K.U.

In April of 2021 16 members of M.K.U. were detained by Russian authorities for a large-scale terror plot which would have targeted nine cities across Russia. The group had planned to conduct mass killings of immigrants, people of color, and the LGBTQ community in these cities, using "a knife, a pistol or a machine gun." One member claimed that the group had been instructed to carry out "murders, explosions, arson attacks and executions by shooting all non-white people and Arab nationals." While the Russian authorities have claimed that the group were directed by Ukrainian nationalists, no concrete link has been found and all of the arrested activists were Russian nationals. The group claims to have cells in five countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Germany, and the United Kingdom. The group has previously described itself as a neo-Nazi equivalent of "a sort of ISIS." They have also posted recruitment calls asking for recruits who have experience with synthesizing chemical or biological weapons, and have suggested a willingness to use these forms of weaponry.

Ukraine: Karpatska Sich

"Karpatska Sich," also known as "Carpathian Sich" – named after the irregular defense forces of Ukraine in the late 1930s – is an ultranationalist, neo-Nazi Ukrainian organization that recruits on social media and engages in armed training exercises with volunteers. The group, which is heavily armed and which has reportedly seen conflict in Eastern Ukraine, actively encourages foreign volunteers to join its ranks, and promotes acts of mass violence in support of their neo-Nazi ideology. The group is closely tied to C14, a group which in 2018 gained notoriety for its violent direct actions against the Roma community, people of color, and the LGBTQ community. The group is led by Taras Deiak.


Leader of Karpatska Sich, Taras Deiak

The group is most active in the city of Uzhhorod in Western Ukraine, but have close ties with groups in Serbia, Hungary, Poland and the rest of Europe. The group has been seen at major international extremist events, such as the 2018 "black column" march in Warsaw. While the group has not been tied to any specific acts of terrorism, their role in training volunteers and arming extremists presents a very real threat to security in the region. Should the conflict in Ukraine escalate in the coming months, Karpatska Sich are likely to play a key role in drawing foreign fighters to the region.

Hungary: Farkasfalka, A.K.A. Farkasok

"Farkasfalka," also known as "Farkasok" or "Wolfpack," is a Hungarian neo-Nazi paramilitary organization which engages in armed training camps and promotes armed insurrection. The group is tied to an irredentist political organization called the "Hatvannégy Vármegye Ifjúsági Mozgalom," (HVIM) or the Sixty-Four Counties Movement, and both organizations promote a revolutionary Magyar supremacist ideology.

The group recruits members actively through its website and social media channels, in particular Telegram. Members are heavily armed, and the group has posted footage and images of training sessions in which fully automatic weapons are used. The group's preparation for violence and their expansionist, irridentist ideology make them a particular threat to stability in Eastern Europe, particularly in the wake of the ongoing border crises affecting Hungary, Austria, Poland, Belarus, and Germany. Their potential for terroristic violence is high, and they are a strong candidate for designation as a SDGT.

Mexico: "Syndicate 1611," A.K.A. "CND," "Tempestia"

"Syndicate 1622," also known as "CND," "Tempestia," and other variants of the same names, is a Mexican accelerationist group that promotes a violent Satanist neo-Nazi ideology. The group have promoted the work of American neo-Nazi idealogue James Mason and in particular his manual for accelerationist terrorism, "Siege," as well as William Pierce's influential neo-Nazi novel, "The Turner Diaries." The group use social media to propagate their anti-system, revolutionary message, and often post death threats directed at politicians, journalists, and public figures. The group also focus much of their ideological ire on the United States, calling for the destruction of the U.S. political and social system. The group style themselves as "anarcho-fascist," and have no formal leadership structure.


Syndicate 1611 produced "The Anarcho-Fascist Manifesto"

The group have engaged in vandalism and harassment campaigns, but as yet have not been tied to specific acts of violence. However their recent rise and violently accelerationist beliefs, coupled with their embrace of American extremist culture and their geographic proximity to the United States, positions them as a unique threat not only to stability and security in Mexico, but here in the U.S.

Australia: National Socialist Network/European Australian Movement

The National Socialist Network (NSN) is a Melbourne based Australian neo-Nazi group formed by members of the hooligan "Lads Society" group and the neo-Nazi "Antipodean Resistance" in late 2020. According to members of the group it is led by Jacob Hersant, though former Australian soldier and neo-Nazi Thomas Sewell is the public face of the group. Sewell was previously a member of the ultranationalist "United Patriots Front" and founder of the Lads Society. Sewell currently leads the "European Australian Movement," a group affiliated with NSN that describes itself as a "movement for the building of a physical and politicised White Australian community." Another prominent member is Jarrad "Jaz" Searby, the former leader of the Proud Boys Borderlands chapter and mixed martial arts owner. David Hiscox, an NSN member, runs the neo-Nazi news site "Xyz.net.au," which in recent months has become an influential propaganda outlet for the broader neo-Nazi movement in Australia. NSN claims to be active across the country with members in Perth, Brisbane, Canberra, Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne and elsewhere.


Senior NSN-affiliated neo-Nazi, Thomas Sewell

The group operates different clubhouses where members engage in physical exercise and martial arts training. NSN also goes on hikes, spreads flyers and holds demonstrations in public. Some of the group's members have faced legal action, with Sewell being arrested in March of 2021 for allegedly assaulting a security guard at the Channel Nine TV network, after the channel aired an exposé on NSN. In May 2021 Sewell was arrested again, alongside Jacob Hersant, stemming from an alleged incident that took place while the group was on a hike in Victoria's Cathedral Range. According to police, Sewell, Hersant, and other members of NSN assaulted two individuals inside a car, smashing the vehicle's windows and stealing their cellphones.

NSN has ties to individuals and white supremacists across Australia and the world. Jaz Searby has appeared on podcasts with Chris "The Hammer" Pohlhaus, a neo-Nazi based in Texas. Sewell has also appeared on various podcasts run by individuals in the United States, including Texas based neo-Nazi Sean "TexasVet" Sweat and Matthew Q. Gerbert who runs the neo-Nazi "Full Haus" podcast. Sewell has on several mentioned his connection to Canadian neo-Nazi Brandon Martinez. Martinez has stated in the past that he helped recruit individuals to NSN. Members of NSN have also appeared on the British white supremacist podcast "Patriotic Talk." In an interview with an Australian newspaper Sewell said that he attempted to recruit the Christchurch Mosque shooter, Brenton Tarrant into the Lads Society in 2017.[iii]

France: Génération Identitaire and the International Identitarian Movement

Génération Identitaire and the broader international identitarian movement is a white supremacist, pan-European movement which has been the driving force behind the White Genocide conspiracy theory in the 21st Century. The movement as a whole was inspired by the 1960s and 1970s Nouvelle Droite writings of Alain de Benoist, Guillaume Faye, and the father of the Great Replacement theory Renaud Camus, the movement is antisemitic, xenophobic, and conspiracist, and has chapters across Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand. The ideology of the movement is built on the idea of the unity and superiority of the white race, and seeks ultimately to establish a pan-European ethnostate built on white supremacist principles. The movement has spearheaded the use of "metapolitical warfare," also known as the "culture war," to advance their narrative and sew discontent with the status quo in Europe and mount popular opposition to multiculturalism. In 2019 the German government declared the movement as a "verified extreme right movement against the liberal democratic constitution."

Génération Identitaire is the youth wing of the French branch of the movement, Bloc Identitaire. The group, which was banned in France in March 2021, has become multinational in its own right, and engages in street marches, combat trainings, propaganda campaigns, and public protests and riots. Despite the ban the group continue to operate and recruit within France in an informal capacity and across Europe, and the group is currently represented publicly by spokesperson Thaïs d'Escufon.


Génération Identitaire Spokesperson Thaïs d'Escufon

The international influence of the group and the broader movement, in addition to their revolutionary and anti-democratic agenda in a time of political instability in France, position them as a threat to the stability of Western Europe and by extension to the United States. Their continued public activism in the face of a total ban by the French government further demonstrates the group's resilience and resources, and action should be taken to limit their further growth as France continues to grapple with extremism and revolutionary ideas.

Scandinavia: Nordic Resistance Movement

The "Nordic Resistance Movement" is an umbrella organization which is made up of dozens of neo-Nazi groups across Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland, and even Greenland. The group also claims to have a presence in the United Kingdom and in central Europe, and has become increasingly influential among the white supremacist and neo-Nazi ecosystem around the world. Initially formed by former members of the neo-Nazi "White Aryan Resistance" in Sweden in 1997, the organization split over time into sub-groups, or "Nests," which organize their activities and propaganda campaigns independently. However the umbrella group still maintains its own social media channels which it utilizes to distribute podcasts, propaganda, and articles, as well as advertising pan-Scandinavian actions such as the group's "Summer Camps," conferences, and training activities.


Prominent NRM member and leader of the Swedish chapter, Simon Lindberg

The group actively promotes a violent accelerationist ideology, pairing political activism with street violence and the promotion of terror. Initiates into the group are given a knife inscribed with the words "The struggle demands more than only words," clearly hinting at the group's endorsement of deadly violence in support of neo-Nazi ideology.

NRM has been linked to numerous terror attacks and plots, and their aesthetic and ideology has inspired activism and violence around the world. Three members of a Swedish nest were arrested and charged in June 2017 for a series of bombings against a café and two refugee centers, while other members of the group have been linked to violent assaults on police officers and politicians. That same year Matthew Heimbach, then leader of the fascist Traditionalist Workers Party, cited NRM as a key inspiration for the tactics used in Charlottesville at the Unite the Right rally, during which counter-protestor Heather Heyer was killed in a vehicle ramming attack by James Fields Jr.. In recent years, California-based neo-Nazi Robert Rundo and fellow members of his white surpremacist group, the Rise Above Movement, visited members of the NRM, attending a fascist rally in Bulgaria with the group and training with an NRM nest in Sweden.

The group's global influence and implicit endorsement of terrorist violence position them as a major threat to security and stability, particularly in Europe and the United States. The group rely on directed self-radicalization and lone actor terrorism so as to distance themselves from violence, but their cultural impact and direct ties to previous terrorist act make them a strong candidate for designation as an SDGT.

Conclusion

These groups offer only a sample of the neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups which, based on the guidelines set out by the Department of State and Department of the Treasury, qualify for designation as terrorist entities and the sanctions that accompany such a designation. These groups are all inherently violent and terroristic, and all have connections and aspirations outside of their own national borders. The potential for international terrorist violence from any one of these groups, or indeed from dozens of the groups and organizations that the MEMRI Domestic Terrorism Threat Monitor project tracks, is exceedingly high.

Neo-Nazism and white supremacism presents a continuing threat to the stability and security of the United States and its allies, and the growth of antigovernment sentiment and the accelerationist thirst for violence in online spaces has added fuel to the fire of domestic extremism both at home and abroad. Increasing economic anxiety and evolving global geo-political crises will likely only exacerbate the problem in the coming months, particularly as the situation on the border between Russia and Ukraine draws ideologically motivated extremist foreign volunteers to a combat zone, where they will have access to advanced weaponry and training. Scholarship on returning foreign fighters – both white supremacist and jihadi – shows that this experience and exposure to conflict correlates with an increased terror threat at home. 

The designation of the Russian Imperial Movement as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity was a positive first step in the very long journey towards effectively countering the white supremacist and neo-Nazi terror threat globally. The Department of State and Department of the Treasury can and should make the necessary next steps by designating these groups in a similar fashion, making a clear statement that the United States is resolute in its mission to combat international white supremacist terrorism.

The following appendices detail the online activity of the groups in question, providing examples of the violent content that they produce, their support for terrorism, and the international influence that many of these groups have. The content from each of these groups highlights the threat that they present to the security and stability of the United States and its allies, and will hopefully offer substantial proof that they should be considered for future designation as Specially Designated Global Terrorists or as Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

 

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*Simon A. Purdue, PhD is Director of the MEMRI Domestic Terrorism Threat Monitor (DTTM) Project.

 


[1] United States Department of State, Designation of the Russian Imperial Movement, April 6, 2020, 2017-2021.state.gov/designation-of-the-russian-imperial-movement/index.html.

[2] Mike Pompeo, United States Department of State, United States Designates Russian Imperial Movement And Leaders As Global Terrorists, April 7, 2020, https://2017-2021.state.gov/united-states-designates-russian-imperial-movement-and-leaders-as-global-terrorists/index.html.

[3] Smh.com.au/national/threats-from-white-extremist-group-that-tried-to-recruit-tarrant-20190501-p51j5w.html, May 2, 2019.

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