Reading what the Alt Fail writes about the Hermansson infiltration, the following minimizing spin emerges: “Somehow – who knows how! – the fellow evaded Steadman’s extreme vetting. Well, he attended a few meetings here and there, and he talked with a couple of people, but, you know, he was so inconsequential that no one remembers him, and, like, you know, no harm no foul. Move on, move on, there’s nothing to see here.” However, Hermansson tells a quite different story; his story, backed up as it is with voluminous (and very believable) details, and videos, seems to be closer to the truth than is the official (and sanitized) “movement” version. Let’s read excerpts (emphasis added) from Hermansson’s account (I’m not linking to the execrable site from whence this came, you can find it yourself if you are so inclined):
At any normal dinner the prospect of forcibly removing all non-whites would be greeted with shock, but repatriation was a relatively uncontroversial topic around this table.
The rest of the night I talked with Brits, Swedes, Lithuanians and Americans. Some of these were super-stars within the movement, such as the never-before-photographed American alt-right figure, Greg Johnson.
Above the sound of clinking glasses men in rented tuxedos discussed eugenics, the coming “race war” and the supposedly ongoing genocide of white people. Smugly they congratulated themselves on managing to keep the dinner a secret, away from the prying eyes of anti-fascists. Little did they know, I was secretly filming the whole thing.
Becoming part of the London Forum, the UK’s most important far-right ‘think-tank’, was not as difficult as its reputation would suggest. I got my foot in the door by claiming to be a disillusioned Swede curious about the alt-right movement in the UK. I said I came to London inspired by Brexit and to get away from the “cultural Marxism” (a favourite phrase for conspiracy-minded, far-right activists) of Swedish universities.
Jez Turner, leader of the London Forum and one of the best known far-right activists on the UK scene, quickly invited me to meet up. Later, as paranoia about a mole increased, new members began to be thoroughly vetted and were required to provide letters of recommendation from trusted members.
Luckily for me, Scandinavian heritage and culture is fetishised by some within the UK far right, meaning interest in my Swedish background overcame most suspicion. At formal dinners, for instance, we sometimes opened by drinking from a ceremonial Viking horn, then raising it to the ceiling in a prayer to the mythological Norse god Odin.
One figure from the London Forum showed a particular interest in me as soon as I arrived. Despite being in his mid-fifties, Stead Steadman, a man of diminutive stature, was always dressed in a khaki shirt, khaki shorts and black walking boots; he looked like a cross between a boy scout and a member of the Hitler Youth. Little did I know at the time but this man was to be central to the whole project. Once close to him he opened doors to some of the most influential far-right figures in the world.
Once the trust was built Steadman began openly discussing the London Forum, people they planned to invite and who he liked and disliked within the movement. The information I gathered helped HOPE not hate map the London Forum network and the movements of key activists with precision. We learned of international conferences in Lithuania, Italy and Sweden being attended by British extremists.
It even got to the stage where I was asked to sit in on the vetting meetings for new London Forum members. Steadman, Turner and I would meet applicants who wanted to attend meetings and question them on their background, politics and commitment to the cause. Soon there was almost nothing happening in the London Forum that I and HOPE not hate did not know.
On the face of it the meetings are comical. A man in a long, white, curly baroque wig introduces two to three speakers per night covering topics such as gun laws, religion and the lack of freedom of speech, interspersed with poetry performed in Old Norse or Anglo-Saxon English.
Also active in London are tiny Odinist groups, often with a healthy smattering of nazi adherents. One sunny afternoon a group of us gathered in the Barbican Centre, an iconic brutalist housing complex replete with green areas, for a ‘moot’.
Steadman, in his typical khaki shorts, lifted a horn to the sky and began to pray to the Nordic gods before taking a gulp of mead. Then he placed a Viking horn to his lips and blew, but instead of a bellowing blast echoing out a stuttered honk spluttered from his lips.
Sometimes being a mole in the far right was dangerous, nerve racking or scary but at other times it was surreal, ridiculous and frankly comical.
He doesn’t hold back and I can feel little drips of his saliva hitting my face as he speaks. He describes his colleague Brooks as a “common bloke” and how Daniel Friberg, founder of Arktos and a leading alt-right figure, is “not a big thinker”. Neither does Lauder-Frost like Richard Spencer. He tells me that Spencer, who has spoken at the TBG, is “naive” and “doesn’t understand Europe”.
By the time I leave the pub it is clear that an important split is emerging within the alt-right movement between some of the biggest players.
If you want to get to the very heart of the alt-right, all roads lead to America. While Europe has produced its fair share of prominent alt-right activists and big names from America regularly visit, it was clear that if I was to better understand the alt-right movement, the emerging split and generally to get closer to the big names, I would have to head across the Atlantic.
During Greg Johnson’s short visit to London I had got to know him well. In addition to the Bowden dinner and the conference the following day I had spent an afternoon at his hotel alongside Steadman. With Johnson being at the very heart of the emerging split in the alt-right, it was decided I should start the American part of my infiltration with him.
Johnson admired the London Forum so much that he replicated the concept in New York and Seattle with closed conferences of hard-core activists addressed by leading speakers from the far right. Recent events had been attended by big names, such as the internationally recognised antisemite and editor of The Occidental Observer, Kevin MacDonald, as well as the UK’s most well-known alt-right vlogger Colin Robertson (aka Millennial Woes).
One sunny Saturday in June, I joined the list of speakers at one of these forums in Seattle. I had intended to attend as a guest but one week before the event Johnson contacted me and asked me to give the opening address, removing any doubt in my mind that I was now accepted as part of this movement.
With delicious irony I opened the event by talking about the danger of anti-fascist infiltration.
After the Seattle Forum I head to New York. The split between Counter-Currents Publishing and AltRight Corporation (the result of the Arktos row mentioned earlier) had got especially nasty.
Having spent a few days at the heart of Counter-Currents, I decided I had to go get the other side of the story.
“We had connections in the Trump administration, we were going to do things!”
I manage to convince Jason Reza Jorjani, co-founder of AltRight Corporation and editor of Arktos Media, to meet for a drink. I’m sitting across from him in an Irish pub in the shadow of the Empire State Building. The first thing he said was: “You’re not in touch with Greg [Johnson], are you?”
I assure him I’m not, knowing he would leave if he ever found out I had spent the last month getting to know people on the other side of the split, some of whom had recently accused Jorjani of being a CIA agent. “It’s like the SA and the SS,” Jorjani said. “A Night of the Long Knives is coming though.”
Jorjani talks for hours, displaying a remarkable arrogance coupled with a tiring self-pity. He’s a remarkably extreme character, much more so than his public persona. He sees the world one day being run by a single strong leader and predicts it won’t be long before bank notes are adorned with images of Hitler.
I ask about AltRight Corporation and its aims and objectives and he explains how it is a “government in waiting”. But then, out of nowhere, as though it was no big deal, he says: “We had connections in the Trump administration, we were going to do things!”
I lean forward, praying that the camera I have hidden in one of my shirt buttons captured what he had just said. I can hardly believe it.