The recent dismantling by the Police of a supremacist group that coordinated through the Internet has revealed that these individuals used the same recruitment and radicalization techniques on the Internet as Daesh: first create easily accessible forums so that there are many people let them enter them; then select the profiles that seemed interesting to take them to more restricted ones and, finally, choose the most radical ones to interact with them through absolutely reserved channels. The detainees were intervened in ‘Operation Ario’ – it is not necessary to explain why it was baptized that way – the so-called ‘Handbook of the Resistance’, handled in neo-Nazi circles throughout Europe, in which it is explained how to create cells or turn those captured into ‘lone wolves’ indoctrinated and instructed to wage a ‘guerrilla war’ against the system…
As an Islamic State, therefore.
At the top was a neighbor from Alcoy, in his fifties, small, with a three-day beard at the time of his arrest, a disheveled appearance and no job. Someone who could never be suspected of leading an organization like the National Democratic Party, of supremacist ideology and not even registered in the corresponding register of the Interior. Through their social networks, this group had become the agglutinator of a strange and dangerous amalgamation of neo-Nazis, denialists and all kinds of extreme right-wing radicals that they had already gone from the mere ideation of actions to perpetrating one: the burning of the headquarters of an LGTBI organization, precisely in that town in Alicante, in which there were no injuries but there was great danger because a person with mobility lived just above the premises reduced. The Police suspect that the leader of the group participated in the attack, but he denies this, although he admits that he left propaganda from his neo-Nazi formation there, as in other headquarters of antagonistic formations.
That was the trigger for agents from the General Information Police Station (CGI), in collaboration with the provincial brigades of Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Alicante and Tenerife, and the local one of Torrejón de Ardoz, to arrest seven individuals – four in Barcelona , two in Alicante and one more in Madrid– those who had been following in their footsteps for months. It was, therefore, a surgical operation, of a preventive nature, but the evidence found in the records shows that the plot had taken a qualitative leap: in an apartment in Barcelona, an old revolver was found, muzzle-loading but in perfect condition to shoot, and an explosives manual. In addition, those arrested were seized with knives of different types and abundant documentation that is now analyzed to determine, first, the degree of organization of the group; secondly, its scope and, finally, the next steps to be taken.
The investigation started thanks to an anonymous complaint received in February 2020 on one of the citizen collaboration websites that the Police have. A citizen explained that he had gotten into an internet forum, “Democratic National”, in which opinions were expressed and ideas that seemed dangerous were launched. From that moment on, the experts in violent radicalism from the CGI checked their profiles and activities.
There were striking ones, some dedicated to coordination tasks and others to manage not only that forum, but other linked and more reserved ones. Thus, up to three web pages were reached, although one was the one that drew special attention: that of the National Democratic Party, managed by the individual from Alcoy, who advocates the establishment of the Fourth Reich in Spain and presents Hitler as a leader who was crucified for fighting against communism and Zionism, the latter “fetish goal” of the group.
All the detainees belonged to this party. The age of those involved is striking. Well, everyone is over 45 years old. –some are close to 70–, and they are far from belonging to economically powerful classes; Quite the contrary, among them there are unemployed, workers, retirees, people who work seasonally and with not much professional qualification, uprooted… Of course, they share intense activity on social networks and hatred of democracy, Muslims, homosexuals , left-wing parties… Some, in addition, delve into the ideas of denialism regarding the pandemic.
“The first phase, which is the creation of a recruitment and radicalization structure, had already been completed,” sources of the investigation explain to ABC; “they had the next option, to take action, and that is why the Alcoy attack alarmed us,” they add. In addition, they were already active in the street, where they maintained a certain activism such as the distribution of propaganda and attendance at demonstrations, many of deniers where they thought they had a good fishing ground to attract and radicalize new faithful.
Among them, they did not even know each other personally, since the idea was that each one would create independent cells in their place of residence that would function autonomously, simply inspired by the same ideology and the general slogans that could emanate from the leader. But also in the image of Daesh, its operation was autonomous and the idea was that through these groups others would emerge in different places with people captured by those secondary cells. «The structure they have is asymmetric, without a specific distribution of functions», they explain the sources; “They know, like the jihadists, that it is the best way to leave no trace.”
Obviously, they maintain security measures in their communications – they never talk about sensitive matters on the phone, but through the forums they create, in which the person involved in Alcoy takes the lead – and some of them, specifically the detainee in Madrid he is a computer scientist, so he has a certain qualification in this regard. Hence, the bait to capture is placed on Facebook and the profiles of interest are taken to other forums on Telegram or Signal, which are the most secure messaging applications.
Those involved are accused of a hate crime, sentenced to four years; insults against the Government of Spain; criminal group; arson and illegal possession of weapons.