This article originally appeared on VICE CA.
After a nationwide FBI operation resulted in the arrest of eight members of The Base—a neo-Nazi terror group with cells of radical followers around the world—its shadowy leader released a statement on an encrypted chat network.
Roman Wolf—not a real name, but an alias—told followers on what is believed to be one of the group’s official propaganda channels that the recent arrests of eight members wouldn’t stop his militant organization from continuing its plans preparing for a "race war."
Wolf’s defiance comes at a time when eight members of his group across the U.S. face various court cases and potentially lengthy sentences for serious crimes, as The Base continues to exhibit its evolution into a dangerous domestic terror threat on the radar of the FBI.
According to confidential sources, VICE has learned the group is comprised of approximately 40 active members, many spread out across the U.S., with a steady stream of recruits going through a complex vetting process led by Wolf.
Do you have information about The Base and the identity of Roman Wolf/Norman Spear? We’d love to hear from you. You can contact Ben Makuch and Mack Lamoureux securely on Wire at @benmakuch and @mlamoureux, or by email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last week, three men in its Georgia cell were arrested plotting an assassination against Antifa members in Atlanta, with plans to attend a gun rights rally in Virginia and opening fire on crowds of people. Another FBI operation in Maryland and Delaware arrested three members on weapons charges, including fugitive Canadian soldier Patrik Mathews, who had, according to authorities, entered the U.S. illegally in the summer and been secretly harboured by the group for months.
Wolf, who at times also uses the pseudonym “Norman Spear,” described the arrests as a “witch hunt,” and blamed global governments for a vast conspiracy to exterminate white people.
“Unrelenting targeted harassment by the Liberal Globalist System against our comrades led to a series of events leading up to their eventual detention,” Wolf said, invoking known anti-Semitic tropes often employed by white nationalists.
“This is also an attempt at intimidation, with the aim of dissuading our People from taking any concrete steps towards resisting their growing dispossession and gradual extermination,” Wolf said in the statement. “We will not allow this to happen. Our existence is our resistance, and we will continue our struggle for survival undeterred.”
Wolf has claimed in the past to be a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as well as a former CIA worker. Wolf’s real identity remains unknown, though he is thought to have personal connections to the Pacific Northwest.
In recent months, the FBI has taken an increased interest in domestic terrorism after Director Christopher Wray last year sounded the alarm that the bureau was detecting a surge in white supremacist violence, much of it emanating online.