US designates Nordic neo-Nazi group as terrorists

The US State Department on Friday designated a Nordic neo-Nazi group and three of its top officials as terrorists.

It’s the second time in history that the US has designated a foreign White supremacist organization and its leaders as terrorists.

The department designated the Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) and three of its top officials – Tor Fredrik Vejdeland, Pär Öberg, and Leif Robert Eklund – as Specially Designated Global Terrorists on Friday, according to a statement from spokesperson Matthew Miller.

It is the first time the Biden administration has made such a designation of a White supremacist group. The Trump administration in 2020 designated the Russian Imperial Movement (RIM) and its leaders as Specially Designated Global Terrorists.

NRM is a transnational neo-Nazi organization founded in Sweden in 1997, with branches in Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and Finland, according to the State Department. It was banned in Finland in 2020.

According to a State Department fact sheet, NRM was designated “for having committed or attempted to commit, posing a significant risk of committing, or having participated in training to commit acts of terrorism that threaten the security of United States nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States.”

The designation of NRM comes as US officials have warned that White supremacist terror groups continue to pose a threat at home and abroad. The 2024 Annual Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community found that the “transnational racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists (RMVE) movement, in particular motivated by white supremacy, will continue to foment violence across Europe, South America, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand inspiring the lone actor or small-cell attacks that pose a significant threat to U.S. persons.”

“NRM’s violent activity is based on its openly racist, anti-immigrant, antisemitic, and anti-LGBTQI+ platform,” Miller said Friday. “The group’s members and leaders have carried out violent attacks against political opponents, protestors, journalists, and other perceived adversaries.”

“NRM members have also taken steps to collect and prepare weapons and explosive materials, including on behalf of the group and in furtherance of its goals,” Miller continued. “In addition, NRM has organized training in violent tactics, including hand-to-hand combat and knife fighting.”

The State Department said they were making the designations as “part of a broader U.S. government effort to address the transnational dimensions of the threat posed by REMVE actors and reflect the Biden-Harris Administration’s continued commitment to countering domestic terrorism (DT), which includes REMVE.”

In remarks Wednesday, a top State Department counterterrorism official warned that “transnational linkages” were increasing, “with individuals and groups communicating both online and in-person, radicalizing individuals—frequently young people—to violence, recruiting, and sharing tactical training, including sharing instructions for making weapons.”

“REMVE actors are becoming more and more adept at exploiting social media platforms, online gaming platforms and game-adjacent platforms, smaller websites with targeted audiences, and encrypted chat applications to recruit new followers, plan and rally ideological support, and disseminate materials that contribute to radicalization and mobilization to violence,” said Ian Moss, the deputy coordinator for the Bureau of Counterterrorism.

In 2019, then-President Donald Trump signed an executive order that gave the US government greater latitude to go after groups who train terrorists, not only groups that carry out terrorist attacks.

Friday’s designation will deny NRM members from accessing the US financial system, with the intention of making it more challenging for them to move money through the international system and fund their efforts.

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