Warning: This article contains disturbing language and images. Infiltrating a nest of Australia’s far-right radicals revealed they are angry, armed and training for societal collapse. Uncovering their identities came next.
On an unseasonably warm autumn afternoon in Melbourne, a leader of Australia’s neo-Nazi movement prepares an urgent encrypted message he believes can’t be intercepted by ASIO or police.
As he types, heavily armed counter-terrorism officers are searching houses across Adelaide.
“Pretty much all the boys in South Australia were raided. I want everyone in Melbourne to completely square their shit away,” writes Jacob Hersant, a tall, lean unemployed 22-year-old. “Get rid of anything that would not reflect well on our organisation should the police find it.”
Hersant posts the message on an encrypted chatroom occupied by vetted members of Australia’s largest white supremacist group, the National Socialist Network.
He is the network’s chief propagandist but his role also includes “op-sec” or operational security. It’s a job he takes seriously.
The people in this network know that a series of events – counter-terror operations in Australia, the Christchurch terror attack in 2019 and the Capitol riots in Washington DC in January – have increased the media, police and spy agency scrutiny on suspected white supremacist terrorists. The National Socialist Network has countered by embracing encrypted communications online and strict security protocols in person.
Read the article by Nick McKenzie and Joel Tozer in the Brisbane Times.