Authorities have charged two young Swedish men tied to an eco-fascist organization and an international neo-Nazi group, in connection with an arson. Charging documents also show Alexander Holmberg, 18, and Zeke Blomquist, 20, were discussing murdering a judge and bombing an abortion clinic in Stockholm.
The arson charges stem from a fire that destroyed several buildings on a mink farm in rural Sweden in October 2019 (this was months before European mink farms became linked to a mutant strain of COVID-19). A video of the fire surfaced online shortly thereafter as a propaganda video for the Green Brigade—a now-defunct eco-fascist militant group linked to the U.S.-based neo-Nazi terror organization the Base.
At the time, Swedish authorities had no leads and closed the case. Shortly after a VICE report broke the news of the arson’s links to the Base in January 2020 authorities reopened the case. While court documents reveal the duo had initially planned to free the minks from the farm weeks in advance, the fire was improvised.
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"We ran into a couple of problems along the way," Holmberg told a fellow eco-fascist after the blaze, according to police documents. “They had already moved or killed the ones that lived there. So we moved onto our backup plan. Sabotage.”
“All wires or electronics cut or tampered with. Oh and we burnt down their house.”
The charges come only weeks after Dutch intelligence arrested two members of the Base plotting acts of terror. In total at least 12 members of the Base have been arrested across two continents in the past year.
Just four days before the arson, Holmberg was vetted and approved as a member of the Base. In a phone call, Holmberg told cell leaders he was radicalized in 2018 by online documentaries and was interested in the Base because he believed it to be “helping to make a difference to take down the system.” Holmberg pitched himself as an asset to the group.
“I think most of my skills revolve around chemistry…. It’s mostly self-acquired, at least the ones that I feel can be useful, but I’m also studying it in school,” Holmberg told members of the Base in secret vetting calls that have been leaked to VICE. “Chemistry has pretty good applications in situations like this. I’m sure you know of various fun ways you can use it, like bombs.”
The Base leadership liked Holmberg and allowed him into the group. One of the Base leaders, Brian Lemley Jr., who was arrested in January 2020 for his role in several plots, including creating an illegal fully automatic weapon and harbouring a fugitive, offered the young Swede some advice: “Keep the illegal stuff to yourself.”
From October 2019 till the group's collapse in early 2020, Holmberg, under his online alias of JagRolig, was active in the encrypted chat used by Base members where he, and another Swedish member who went by Esoteric Vit, attempted to form a Scandinavian cell for the group. Blomquist was not active within the Base but was active in the Green Brigade and carried neo-Nazi sympathies, according to prosecutors. Henrik Olin, the prosecutor on the case, told VICE the pair’s neo-Nazi accelerationist ideology will play a role in the prosecution.
“It's quite clear that they have a neo-Nazi ideology,” said Olin. “There are pictures of them with the Nazi uniforms and different symbols and clearly connected to the Nazis (online)... It's more serious, to commit a crime, when you have this ideological background and want to to take society down with force.”
VICE World News reached out to the men’s attorneys for comment, but no response has been given at time of publication.
According to Olin the two are set to go to court next month with the minimum punishment for arson in Sweden being two years in prison. The Swedish Prosecution Authority has put together extensive evidence of the crime, including photos seized from their computers, chat records the two had on encrypted servers in which they repeatedly claim responsibility, files from the FBI, and testimonies in which they admit to starting the fire.
Court documents show that in June 2019, the two had also discussed bombing an abortion clinic in Stockholm with homemade explosives. Holmberg had even drawn a diagram of the type of bomb he thought would work best for the job.
The young men also discussed plans in January 2020 to murder a judge who they felt handed down too lenient of a sentence to a Somalian man in Sweden. Blomquist wrote at the time, “until society itself can administer justice, it is up to citizens to do so.” (Translated from original Swedish using Google Translate.) Olin told VICE World News that “there were not enough evidence to charge those crimes” and any investigation into conspiracy to commit murder has been closed.
Among the evidence are photographs of the two donning skull masks (a hallmark of accelerationist groups like Atomwaffen Division and the Base), photos of them at the farm, and one photo of Holmberg dressed in an SS uniform.
The Green Brigade, which shut down in March 2020, after its Base-linked leadership abandoned ship during the FBI crackdown, formed online in 2019. It joined forces with the Base in October of that year (which is what led Holmberg to the group), shortly before the arsons. Swedish prosecutors say this is the first time individuals tied to an eco-fascist ideology have been linked to criminal activity in the country. The Green Brigade’s brand of eco-fascism is one gaining popularity in the far-right ecosystem that focuses on preserving and protecting the planet for the white race.
According to prosecutors, the two men told their parents they were going camping and had one of their mothers drive them six hours to the area outside of the small town of Sölvesborg, Sweden. Court documents indicate the two planned their operation using satellite imagery and had brought tools and black clothing for their crime.
The entire operation was rife with setbacks. First, there were no minks. That's when the two men, as Olin alleged, "went from plan A to plan B, and plan B was to set the place on fire." But, the duo nearly failed at that as well.
“They actually tried to start a fire in different buildings at this site,” said Olin. “They tried to make a fire in a garage when they opened some gas canisters and tried to ignite flammable liquids, but they actually didn't succeed.
“Then they found another building with sawdust, that had been used to clean the pelts from minks, which was very flammable. So they ignited the sawdust and the fire started and went on quite quickly.”
Despite the pair's incompetence, Olin said firefighters told him that if they had arrived a few short minutes later the fire likely would have spread. The blaze cost approximately $800,000 SEK ($95,000 USD) worth of damage.
The two met two years ago via a mutual friend in Luxembourg, Holmberg told police. Holmberg told authorities that the two were close and he would visit Blomquist when he and his family would travel near him. The two were extremely active online, and Holmberg was known under his alias to post bomb and chemical weapons-making tutorials on the popular meme site iFunny. Swedish media have reported the pair come from affluent parents.
Holmberg was initially arrested and interviewed in February of 2020 in Luxembourg, where he resides, when police raided his home after he allegedly bought materials online for creating explosives. Olin said a case in Luxembourg is ongoing but he couldn’t comment on it.
The two will go to court on January 15.