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Ditt stöd hjälper oss bekämpa rasism och främja demokrati genom granskning och kunskapsspridning.

I’m trying to create the impression of standing in the depths of a Swedish forest, but the best I can manage is the sparse greenery in the small park behind the Royal Library in the center of Stockholm. Seniors stroll by and men in business suits give me strange glances as I hide behind a bush, alternating between serious, cheerful, and angry expressions as I take selfies with my phone.
I’m creating a family: a dad called Andreas, a mom called Johanna, and their daughter Svea. I'm calling them the Gunnarssons, a typical Swedish last name. I open the selfies in an app that allows me to edit their gender, age, body weight and hairstyle, add facial hair and so on. At the same time, I'm creating a backstory; the family has inherited a small farm in the Swedish countryside, where they’re going to move from the city to start farming, hunting and becoming self-sufficient. Meanwhile, I’ve created two accounts on Facebook and linked them to two different Instagram accounts, hammerenmjolner and swedish_housewife12. They start following some of the most prominent Swedish far-right influencers; Golden One, Red Ice TV and Fria Svenskar.
For years the security services have been warning society about the increasing level of radicalization among young people online, above all via social media; the Telegram platform hasn’t been nicknamed “Terrorgram” for no reason. In addition to the security threat posed by environments that promote terrorism and violence, the Swedish Security Police have also flagged an elevated threat to Sweden from a foreign power. Sweden is being subjected to information warfare by foreign powers and right-wing extremist groups through disinformation, propaganda and cyber warfare.
Using my fake family, I’ll be able to get an insider’s perspective on the emergence of a new and previously unknown international Nazi organization. It actively targets and recruits young people by promoting dreams of a race war and white power revolution, as well as using cyber warfare during election campaigns.
As I dig deeper into the group, I uncover more connections and raise more questions about the founder's true goals. Might the experts who believe that this Nazi group is part of a foreign information warfare campaign be right? Or is it truly the work of a dedicated Nazi leader willing to sacrifice his public image for his political beliefs?
My fake profiles aren’t extreme right-wing ideologues. Instead I’ve chosen interests and characteristics that make them appear receptive to far-right messaging. Nor will they “like” or spread racist content, but post about self-sustainability, prepping, and a typical family-focused life. I fill their feed with images of “Johanna” doing the household chores and “Andreas” lifting weights. On June 12, 2021, 67 days after the first post, Andreas gets an invitation from an anonymous account with a link to a private Telegram channel.

Journalisten My Vingren skapar familjen Gunnarsson för att studera hur extremhögern rekryterar meddlemmar via de stora sociala medie-plattformarna.
Journalist My Vingren creates the Gunnarsson family to study how the extreme right recruits members via the major social media platforms. They do not themselves express racism, but have a pronounced interest in self-sufficiency and traditional values.


By the time Andreas is invited to join the group, the Nordic Federation has been active for at least six months. Every new user is asked to introduce themselves by race and ideological affiliation. I ignore the request, and Andreas’ silence seems to go unnoticed as so much else is going on. One account has posted “we will make Europe great again, and there will be no more Jews left in Europe”. “Herr skogh” has posted a photo of his coffee cup, which features an image of Hitler posing with a swastika. He’s commented "A great Friday, great coffee and a great mug" and quickly gets a few smiley emojis in return from the Nordic Federation’s admin account.
According to the Nordic Federation, immigration has not only destroyed the welfare system but Nordic culture and the Scandinavian gene pool as well. “The people who control the banking system and the media have been allowed to influence our people for far too long”, they declare. Their aim is to create a national socialist Nordic union by means of mass deportations and by reforming the political and social systems.
It’s an ambitious project in which the Nordic Federation aims to establish an environment where people with the same ideological beliefs can meet and network. In parallel, they plan to develop an independent news site, create autonomous white racial zones within existing cities, develop a National Socialist curriculum for homeschooling, and eventually run their own Nazi preschools and elementary schools.

Listen to Studio Expo (Swedish):

Although the Nordic Federation is active on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat, Telegram is the organization’s primary membership platform, where they operate several channels either by region or on the basis of degree of radicalization. Every channel but one is private and requires an invitation from an admin or a specially selected member with access to the exclusive invites.
The largest group, which is also the most active, includes 230 members. Swedish and Norwegian users predominate, and these are also the ones with admin roles. The languages used switch between Norwegian, Swedish and English.
There’s also a channel dedicated entirely to cyber warfare known as the Nordic Federation Cyber Operations Division. This group is also private and the other members are hidden. The group encourages its members to conduct a range of cyber attacks such as spamming and DDoS. They target human rights organizations, individual political activists and the LGBTQ+ community. The group most often encourages attacks on political parties, especially the Social Democratic Party, during election campaign in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Germany.



The article was first published in #4-2022 of Expo magazine.
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It's getting close to midnight and activity in the Nordic Federation feed is intense. Ida, one of the few female members of the organization, responds to the question, "How are we going to take back our nation?" with "Storm the Parliament building and execute". A user called Wette claims he’s planning to create a faction of combat-ready men.
It's like any other typical night in the Nordic Federation’s most active channel. The feed is teeming with racist and anti-HGBTQ memes, images of bacon lying on an open Koran, images that glorify Hitler, GIFs of children doing Nazi salutes, and a link to an RT interview with Alternative for Sweden about the decline of the Swedish suburbs.
A user called Björn posts “To be honest, politics won’t help that much". Njord, one of the younger members, posts a screenshot from his phone in which he dares someone to storm the Parliament building with a bow and arrow. He makes sure to add that if the Norwegian security police are reading, he’s only joking.  A few minutes later he posts a 33-minute clip of the live stream from the Christchurch attack in which more than 50 Muslims were murdered. During the video, you can hear the sound of automatic weapons and see people collapsing at the Masjid al Noor Mosque.
“That’s where we are now”, writes Njord in Norwegian. It's approaching midnight and Ida posts a photo of herself sitting with a large knife with "Adolf Hitler" and the name of Hitler's bodyguard engraved on it. Another user Javel Jassåson follows it up with a GIF of a man doing a Nazi salute. The same evening, several video montages, photos of Breivik and even more tributes to the Christchurch shooter are posted.
Njord posts that he’s been weight training. "I need to be strong when the war comes”. Javel Jassåson responds with a message of encouragement, "All training is anti-Semitic when you’re white".
Ida answers by posting personal photos of several automatic weapons, a revolver and a large military knife. "I've been practicing," she writes.
A Norwegian user replies “Nighty-night, niggers".

I gruppens telegramkanaler sprids stora mängder nazistisk propaganda ihop och våldsfantasier. Många av medlemmarna är väldigt unga.
In the group's Telegram channels, large amounts of Nazi propaganda and violent fantasies are spread. Many of the members are very young.


Telegram is an app that emphasizes privacy and open communication, which is why it’s impossible to see who created the channels or exactly when. On the other hand, you can see who’s invited other users, who the administrator is, who the owner is and when the first comments were posted.
Strength38 is one of the Nordic Federation’s most active users. As well as keeping the conversations flowing, he contacts political parties on behalf of the Nordic Federation and encourages others to invite non-National Socialist friends to ensure that the movement keeps growing. He also announces when he’s going to distribute information about the Nordic Federation to local media in Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Of the ten channels that the group operates on Telegram, Strength38 is either the admin, the owner, or responsible for transferring adminship to other users. The last of the channels is so secret that it’s impossible to view anything other than the posts themselves. Strength38 also invites new members to join, starts Instagram accounts and distributes adminship for other social media accounts.
Strength38 is admin at the Federation’s most prolific account, where he regularly posts requests to other members asking for help with graphic design, propaganda, event-planning, and communicating with other political parties. Strength38 is undoubtedly a key operator in the Nordic Federation and could even be the founder.
All the users in the nordic federation hide behind bland, anonymous usernames. Most members use memes, political logos or other anonymous images as their avatars. There are a few isolated Danes and Germans, and another user who claims to be from Finland, but otherwise most of the active members are from Sweden and Norway. The overwhelming majority have been invited via Instagram or other similar Telegram groups.
"Our first Nordic Federation camping event will soon take place! Two nights of camping in the Norwegian forest”. It's the end of May 2021, and Strength38 is offering a camping trip with barbecue, food, vodka and National Socialism. The invitation has been embellished with emojis, a tent, two beer glasses toasting and a Norwegian flag.
Additional events are planned, including a Norwegian midsummer party and another event near Stockholm that never materializes. Some members in Norway are also planning to meet to pick mushrooms. Swedish, Danish, and German group members are all encouraged to organize forest parties, holiday celebrations, and beer evenings.
The sense of belonging and community is what attracts younger members to get involved. One member says he wanted to join something more worthwhile than just another online group that posts memes and shitposts.
On October 3, 2021, Strength38 posts an invitation to a combined Halloween and birthday party. The first clue to the identity of the anonymous account is visible in the invitation.

The birthday boy’s name is Vincent.


In October 2021, user Strength38 posts an invitation to a combined Halloween and birthday party in the Nordic Federation's Telegram channel.

In September 2020, just over a year before the Halloween party, a moving truck pulls into the driveway on one of Kongsberg's most desirable streets, a line of multimillion-dollar houses with  breathtaking views of the Norwegian dales. Vincent, who’s in his thirties, with dark, close-cropped hair and a thick black beard, greets one of his neighbors. He introduces himself in a broad American accent as Vincent Weidlich and moves into the large house with his long-haired cat, Cyborg, and his Swedish girlfriend.
The mining town of Kongsberg is located in south-eastern Norway at the far end of Numedalslågen, one of Norway's longest rivers. Forests, mountains and hiking trails spread out from the small but culture-rich town, where the quiet rush of the river gives the town its unique background sound. The population of Kongsberg is approximately twenty thousand and they come alive once a year during the annual, internationally known jazz festival.
Vincent was born in the US in the late 1980s. His mother is a world-famous mountaineer from Brazil and his father a prominent German-born researcher in medical technology. Vincent grew up in Palo Alto, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley, the same city where Tesla and Facebook have their headquarters. Before Vincent had turned ten, he was enrolled as a boarder at the Valley Forge Military Academy, one of the country’s most prominent and disciplined military schools.
When Vincent moved to Kongsberg in September 2020, he had just completed his bachelor’s degree in Business Management at Kingston University in London and was studying two parallel master’s programs remotely; a computer science course with a specialization in AI at Northumbria University and another in psychology at Goldsmith’s College in London. He’s already published two peer-reviewed articles in established journals and people who meet him are struck by his confidence.

Enligt en tidigare vän till Vincent Weidlich flyttar han till Kongsberg i Norge för att komma närmare det statliga försvarsföretaget Kongsberg Group.
Vincent Weidlich is moving to Kongsberg in Norway in autumn 2020. Foto: Screenshot/Instagram


Kongsberg is best known for the Kongsberg Group, a majority Norwegian state-owned company that produces weapons and defense systems, develops space research and is active in the oil and gas industries. Before Vincent relocates to the Norwegian valley, he reveals to a friend that he’s planning to connect with key individuals in the military and defense industries at the Kongsberg Group. His choice of housing could well be a first step.
Vincent carries moving cartons into the large, gray house, which he’ll be renting for the next few years from a manager at the Kongsberg Group who lives in the US. This is where the eloquent and confident American, with his impressive résumé, is planning to establish the HQ for an international Nazi organization. In October 2021, Vincent invites Nazis from all over the Nordics to a Halloween party at the exclusive house in Kongsberg.
A few days before the party, Strength38 posts a video clip on Telegram that shows a house facade lit in red with powerful strobe lights flashing from one of the rooms and red flickering shards projected onto a nearby tree by the porch.
Geir Loe Winsrygg lives in the same house as Vincent, but in a smaller apartment that he rents on the first floor. He looks up at the giant floodlights Vincent has mounted upstairs. The exterior of the house is decorated with skulls, lights and projectors, and Vincent has installed a smoke machine. Seems like it's going to be one hell of a party!
As the guests arrive, Geir notices that they’re all very young, around 18 to 19, some could even be as young as 15, while Vincent is more than 30 years old. Geir has made plans and leaves, but he’s soon forced to return home when the smoke machine sets off the fire alarm, which is directly connected to the fire department and a security firm. The security firm contacts Geir about the alarm but when he gets home, Vincent isn’t there. He’s driven off and left his own party.

Vincent Weidlich bjuder in Nordic Federations medlemmar till halloweenfest i huset han hyr i Kongsberg.


Geir Loe Winsrygg lives in the same house as Vincent, but in a smaller apartment that he rents on the first floor. He looks up at the giant floodlights Vincent has mounted upstairs. The exterior of the house is decorated with skulls, lights and projectors, and Vincent has installed a smoke machine. Seems like it's going to be one hell of a party!
As the guests arrive, Geir notices that they’re all very young, around 18 to 19, some could even be as young as 15, while Vincent is more than 30 years old. Geir has made plans and leaves, but he’s soon forced to return home when the smoke machine sets off the fire alarm, which is directly connected to the fire department and a security firm. The security firm contacts Geir about the alarm but when he gets home, Vincent isn’t there. He’s driven off and left his own party.
Geir Loe Winsrygg grew up in the local silver mines. He’s described by the people who know him as a tireless enthusiast, not only due to his endless hours refurbishing the mines in the district. He's also chairman of the grassroots movement known as “Kongsberg in Our Hearts”, which coordinates and performs voluntary work to preserve Kongsberg's abundant cultural heritage.
After about six months, Vincent's girlfriend moves back to Sweden, and Geir notices that his neighbor seems lonely and increasingly isolated in the large house. Geir decides to invite him to some of the local activities. Vincent agrees to join him and work for two days in a mine shaft with about twenty other people. Geir also invites him to the slalom slope and helps him buy furniture in Drammen, a nearby town. Although Geir considers himself an easygoing and straightforward person, and Vincent, at least on the surface, seems sociable and worldly-wise, they don’t get along very well. Vincent gives Geir an offhand and dismissive impression. Even when they all meet in the cafe after the ski slope, Vincent doesn't seem interested in talking to anyone. It seems to Geir that Vincent doesn’t finding their company intellectually stimulating enough, maybe even a bit boring.
In contrast, Vincent is much more sociable online, where he likes to log in early to say hi to his comrades in the Nordic Federation, often by posting “Sieg Heil”, something he does on the same morning that he accompanies Geir to the mine shaft.
Vincent is an active part of the daily feed, not only as an organizer and initiator. He also disseminates conspiracy theories, advocates violence and highlights who the enemies are; Jews, Blacks, immigrants and race traitors. He explicitly writes that he’d like to shoot Black people. He comments "Oh the beautiful sound of purification" on a clip of a US police officer shooting straight into a crowd of black people unprovoked.
He has extensive political goals: "We will not preserve the present state of our nations," he writes, adding that Nazism is the goal. "We must choose a city in each country where we all move, so we can found our own society and build our own laws."

What do the experts think?

John, former CIA agent. He was recruited in the 80s and worked as an external agent for the American intelligence service for more than twenty years, mainly with influence operations, but also with information gathering and infiltration.

Is there any particular detail in the material that you find especially interesting?
 - Among other things, Vincent's parents are from Germany and Brazil. That is a common cover story for Russian agents, not least because of the close cooperation between Russia and Brazil. We've seen a number of Russian spies exposed lately, including Viktor Muller Ferreira and "Maria Adela" - both with alleged links to both Germany and a South American country.
- The big question is whether Vincent acts on his own or has a larger actor behind him, for example a foreign power. On the one hand, his background is well researched, he appears to have been born in the US to well-known parents. At the same time, he behaves in many ways like someone with a bigger actor behind him. He starts an extremist, democracy-subverting nationalist movement in a nation he was neither born in nor works in, and makes active attempts to infiltrate a company that works with defense secrets.
- It is also striking that the Nordic Federation died out in connection with Russia's invasion of Ukraine. If Vincent has been aided in keeping the group alive with the help of state-funded trolls from some factory, you can imagine that at that time they were given other tasks. Particularly interesting are the users who pretended to be from Scandinavia but on closer inspection turned out to be Russian trolls who, after the end of the project, run new projects. At the same time, for a spy his lifestyle is somewhat extravagant. But then again there are variations, and his financial position accounts for it.


On the evening of October 13, 2021, the otherwise obscure town of Kongsberg becomes international news when a 37-year-old Danish citizen, armed with a bow and arrow and a knife, murders five people and injures three more.
Geir can hear the helicopters hovering over Kongsberg when Vincent suddenly appears at his door. Vincent has never visited Gier’s section of the house before and after Gier’s failed attempt to integrate Vincent into the community six months earlier, they’ve barely spoken. Yet Vincent confidently comes into Geir's apartment, sits down on the sofa and looks around. He tells Geir that he was at the local pizzeria when the police arrived to evacuate the premises.
In the window, Geir can see the helicopters circling over the city. Vincent asks him if he knows anywhere he can fire a gun.
“He asked me if I had any firearms we could go and shoot or if we could borrow someone else's. He wanted to know if there were any shooting clubs or ranges nearby.”
Geir becomes uneasy and answers that it’s not on the cards. “After that, he started talking more and more about politics. He said negative stuff about Jews and immigration and how we needed to take back control and throw them out.
Geir decides he wants nothing more to do with Vincent. He interrupts him and tells him to leave.
After that, Vincent is quiet, at least for the two weeks prior to the Halloween party.

Geir Loe Winsrygg bodde granne med Vincent Weidlich i Kongsberg.
Geir Loe Winsrygg lived next door to Vincent Weidlich in Kongsberg. Foto: My Vingren


Although the Nordic Federation does not support democracy ideologically, numerous initiatives and appeals take place in connection with democratic elections. For example, Vincent appeals for an outreach initiative on Snapchat in conjunction with the Norwegian elections in 2021. He also posts that if the right party wins, in other words the right-wing populist Fremskrittspartiet or the far-right Alliance, they’ll be able to steer the other parties further to the right. He writes “It’s difficult to shift the country to the right without small steps. If they lose, we can use it to provoke the masses”.
Meanwhile, in the Nordic Federation Cyber Operations group, the Nordic Federation calls for the Norwegian Labour Party to be subjected to DDoS attacks, spamming and malware. 2021 is also an election year in Germany, and members are encouraged to attack the German SDP. And in 2022, they’re asked to target the largest left-wing parties, the Swedish and Danish Social Democrats.
Members are encouraged to get involved in numerous ways, for example the Nordic Federation offers financial incentives to anyone who’s prepared to do interviews on behalf of the organization. “You’ll get £100 for each interview, which must be posted on social media”. The aim is to raise awareness of the brand and goals of the Nordic Federation and to interview other organizations or individuals about their positive views of the Nordic Federation. Despite being a “Nordic” federation, remuneration is paid in GBP. Other financial incentives are also announced. To generate more comments on Instagram, a reward of 100 euros is offered if more than 200 comments are published.

For members looking to improve their résumé, the Nordic Federation also offers remote internships for National Socialists at a tech company. Vincent shares the same job tips with his personal account in Alternative for Sweden's Facebook group. The tech company is a Canadian firm where, according to LinkedIn, Vincent worked as an intern in 2021. The company has a reputation for hiring unpaid interns who, in exchange for a work experience certificate, fill comment boxes and blog posts with positive reviews of the company - but nowhere in the company's own presentation material is it evident that they might have a political preference.
At about the same time, Vincent and four other people co-publish an academic article on how individuals with "right-wing views" are discriminated against in the major cities of Europe and North America. By means of advocacy campaigns and a number of school initiatives, more people will be influenced into thinking that right-wing views are acceptable. These interventions should be followed up using surveys to determine whether public opinion is gradually becoming more right-wing.
The article is published on the RIO Journal academic site, an open-access, innovation platform, not only for established researchers.
Three of the article's co-authors also participate in the Nordic Federation's Facebook group. Two are Swedes without any academic background at all, and at least one of them has numerous connections to the Swedish far-right, including a period as a member of the neo-Nazi Svenskarnas Parti.
In fall 2021, anomalous accounts begin appearing on Nordic Federation feeds, primarily from Russia, the USA and Serbia just as activity amongst the regular members decreases. The Russian users sometimes pretend to be from Scandinavia, for example the Holmgård account, which for quite a while appeared to be an authentic Swedish account that showed interest in parties and events. In November 2022, the account changed its username and profile picture and now operates several Russian Telegram channels.
Norwegian user Powerfrode posts "Why so many non-Nordic here?" in October 2021, and user Ida asks why the group has been infiltrated by Russians.
Another user posts “Wasn’t this supposed to be a political thing? After all, they’ve made such a nice website and everything lol. Why’s everyone speaking English?"
The situation deteriorates so much that several users get together to insist that Strength38 throws out all the Russians. He doesn't. Instead, when I map the Russian users, I discover a separate Telegram group, Nordic Federation Pocciya, i.e. a Russian Nordic Federation channel, where Russian members are encouraged to get involved in the Nordic Federation, share propaganda and join the Snapchat group. Strength38 is listed as the owner in the membership list. In March 2022, he shares a pro-Russian TikTok video clip with the group, in which about twenty Russian soldiers have been filmed packing their gear, with an animated Russian flag at the top of the clip. The comments section is full of Russians cheering them on with comments like "Russia is No. 1 in the world", "Real men," and "Good luck!"

Vincent och hans flickvän tillbringar mycket tid i Ryssland under 2022. Här poserar han i den så kallade Ekhallen på den exklusiva medlemsklubben Moscow Capital Club.
Vincent and his girlfriend spend a lot of time in Russia during 2022. Here he poses in the so-called Oak Hall at the exclusive members' club Moscow Capital Club. Foto: Screenshot/Instagram


In early 2022, Vincent goes on the road for long periods. Via his social media and the reviews he writes on his Gmail account, I’m able to track him and his new girlfriend, who we can call “Anna”. They eat in fancy, well-known restaurants in Saint Petersburg, visit exclusive clubs in Moscow and party with Anna's Russian friends.
During the spring, Vincent travels between Norway and Russia repeatedly. His account statements show taxi journeys, restaurant bills and accommodation in Moscow.
In early May, Vincent and Anna post several photos from the Moscow Capital Club, a private, members-only business club in central Moscow. The club board includes Boris Aleshin, former deputy prime minister of Russia, Vasily Anisimov, Putin's former judo coach, and Mikhail Barchevsky, a member of the Russian state's highest constitutional court. Several board members have been placed on the EU's sanctions list after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. To be invited to the Moscow Capital Club, you either have to be one of the exclusive members or the guest of a member.
The Moscow Capital Club also has a restaurant that’s open to the public if you comply with their strict dress code. I can't tell if Vincent and Anna have been specially invited or whether they’re visiting the restaurant as guests. None of the three photos of the couple in the Moscow Capital Club were taken in the actual restaurant. Two of them were taken on a balcony in the Oak Hall, whose walls are decorated with dark panels. Anna and Vincent are standing on the grand staircase on the second floor, adjacent to a corridor with private rooms. I ask the club if you need to be a member to take photos there. Moscow Capital Club declines to answer.

Vincent Weidlich på det exklusiva turkiska hotellet Çırağan Palace.


Later in may, Vincent posts a photo from Turkey on his Instagram account in which he’s posing on a winding, marble staircase. The photo was taken in the Çırağan Palace, a five-star hotel on Istanbul's waterfront. The hotel regularly hosts prestigious summits, high-level congresses and glamorous weddings.
When I call the Çırağan Palace to verify Vincent's stay, the female receptionist says they don’t release information about their guests. Nevertheless, after a bit of coaxing, she confirms that only residents are allowed to take photos inside the hotel. I ask what kind of visitors they usually accommodate.
“Let me put it this way; most of them arrive in a yacht, a limousine or a helicopter.”
Meanwhile, debt collection letters are piling up at the Kongsberg house. Several travel agents and the letting agent who lets out the house on behalf of the Kongsberg manager have sent Vincent reminders for unpaid rent in April.

In January 2022, Vincent becomes a member of a yoga club in Saint Petersburg via the MeetUp app. He reviews a jazz club and writes that the atmosphere is cozy, and using Google Maps, you can go down into the basement digitally, where there are tribute pictures of Black musicians on almost every wall. On Vincent's LinkedIn profile, it's possible to track his career in real-time and in reverse, at least the image that he wants to portray. When Vincent was 10 years old, he apparently received the US President's Award for Educational Excellence, a prize for extraordinary academic excellence. Vincent also lists a wide range of language skills. In addition to English, German and Portuguese, he claims to be fluent in Norwegian, French and Russian. He also claims to be a member of numerous societies, such as the British Psychological Society, The Arts Club and the Cambridge Neuroscience Society. It hasn’t been possible to confirm either the memberships or the language skills, and according to Geir Loe Winsrygg, Vincent only spoke English during his time in Kongsberg.
Vincent has only published a handful of photos on Instagram, but his account has a whopping 18,000 followers, most of whom are fake. Vincent himself only follows his girlfriend.

Vincent har närmare 18 000 följare på Instagram, själv följer han bara sin flickvän.
Vincent has close to 18,000 followers on Instagram, he himself only follows his girlfriend. Photo: Screenshot/Instagram

There are as many impressions of Vincent as there are people who’ve met him. When meeting new people, he sometimes introduces himself as working in tech, other times in marketing, and sometimes as someone in medical research. He has consistently grandiose plans and ideas for his next project. People who have met him say that the first thing that struck them about him was his self-confidence. He’s perceived as cool, well-traveled and occasionally arrogant.
“He wasn’t exactly interested in what other people had to say”, says an acquaintance who met him during his studies in London.
In 2017, Vincent moves from the US to England to study Business Management at Kingston College in London, where he lives in an exclusive, spacious, centrally located apartment with a balcony overlooking the River Thames.
He moves from girlfriend to girlfriend, and they all have the same role; cooking his meals, cleaning his home and staying slim. I contact several of the girls who’ve dated him and they describe him as charismatic, with a dark, intense gaze that can be both alluring and exciting, but which can switch to menacing and judgmental.
He meets most of them on Tinder, AdultFriendFinder, Mumba.ru and other dating sites. I identify ex-girlfriends in the US, Sweden and Norway. He’s described as a calculating, manipulative man who can sometimes be nasty. There are police reports of physical abuse, and I discover an application for a restraining order in the US.
   One of the girls I interview says “In hindsight, it scares me to think that there was a reason that he chose to study both psychology and AI. What a great way to learn how to disseminate propaganda and influence others on a higher level.”
IN OCTOBER 2018, Vincent starts a company in the UK, which he calls Virtual Reality LTD. According to the British Companies Registry, the company is engaged in “interactive software development for leisure and entertainment”. Just fifteen days later, he starts another company, Weidlich Industries LTD, to engage in "research and experimental development in natural science and technology." Both companies remain inactive, and in the spring of 2020, the British authorities dissolve them.
According to his own statement, in the two years that Vincent established and ran the Nordic Federation, he has completed two master's degree courses simultaneously, published two academic peer-reviewed articles in the Cureus Journal of Medical Science, completed three internships, obtained certificates in six shorter courses in, among other things, Virtual Reality and Financial Tech, completed at least two research projects as well as having a total of seven jobs in which he’s combined full-time work with several, widely varied part-time jobs. He’s worked in recruitment, election data analysis and marketing strategy, while publishing articles on deep learning and facial recognition, as well as freelancing as an AI specialist. All of it has taken place remotely, via international universities and actors, without any connection to either Kongsberg or Norway.
Vincent's sources of income are unclear. From his bank statements, it seems that he receives a sum of money from his father's company every month, but it’s not enough for his extravagant lifestyle, his traveling, hotel nights, exclusive shopping, restaurant visits and the rent for the Norwegian house. At the same time, Vincent offers financial incentives, in both GBP and euros, to anyone who’s willing to represent or become more involved in the Nordic Federation.
More and more people in Kongsberg are reacting to Vincent's presence. Despite living in Norway for more than two years, he hasn’t had a job or studied Norwegian. No one knows where his money’s coming from, and despite several applications, he hasn’t been granted a Norwegian social security number.
“I mean, he must have been allowed to live here in Norway for a reason? He’s not working, he doesn't go to school, he’s not studying - nothing! He has no connection to Kongsberg. Something’s not right”, says Geir.
The cold spring sunshine reflects on the drawn blackout curtains in the gray villa. It's April 2022, and Vincent has been away for more than a week. The neighbors are worried about his cat, which is locked inside the house. Geir texts Vincent several times and when Vincent doesn't reply, Gier enters his apartment using a spare key.
Receipts from burner phone purchases and letters from the debt enforcement agency are scattered around the apartment. In the room that serves as a gym there’s a poster from a shooting range and Geir notices about twenty small bullet holes. Several handwritten notes have been put up on one wall. With his sprawling handwriting, Vincent has listed who and what is needed to build an independent society, for example investing in land and having the right partners. It gives Geir the impression that Vincent is planning to start a cult.
Eventually, they find the cat. There’s no food or water left, and in consultation with animal welfare and other authorities, Geir takes charge of the cat.
A month later, Vincent comes back and wants his cat back. Geir refers him to the authorities and closes the door. But when Geir comes home from work the next day, Cyborg is gone. In the surveillance footage from the CCTV camera that Geir has pointed at the driveway and his cars, Vincent can be seen walking past and, with a click, entering Geir's locked front door. Seconds later, Vincent comes out again, carrying Cyborg in one hand.

Vincent Weidlich går utan lov in till grannen Geir och hämtar tillbaka katten Cyborg som han tidigare lämnat utan mat och vatten.

According to one of Vincent’s friends, the Kongsberg Group was one of the reasons that he moved to Kongsberg. The company is Norway's leading supplier of defense-related systems and a prominent international supplier of, among other things, remote weapon stations and missile systems. Vincent is reported to have attempted to approach critical personnel at the company in various ways, for example by getting involved at the local church and a local running group. He purposefully and strategically tries to build trust with people with a broad social network, who are then able to introduce him to people that are employed in the military section of the Kongsberg Group. From Vincent's perspective, his neighbor Geir, who had personal relationships with several people in the Kongsberg Group and was a bit of a driver in the local community, might be an ideal target.
In the Nordic Federation, Vincent repeatedly brings up the importance of military support to right-wing extremist and Nazi groups. “It’s more important than gaining political support”, he writes.
“First we try to vote for change. If that doesn't work then it’s military takeover”.

What do the experts think?

Hannah Pollack Sarnecki, researches extremism and threats to democracy for the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI).

There is no evidence that Vincent actually got close to anyone within the Kongsberg Group, but what do you think about a person like Vincent actively seeking contacts in Norway's defense industry?
- There are serious risks if people with links to extremism get involved in this type of sensitive activity. A risk could be that information leaks from the business to these groups. Another clear risk is that the person inspires others or tries to recruit people who work with information that is sensitive to the state.

What threat does a group like the Nordic Federation pose?
- Groups like the Nordic Federation can be dangerous, not least through the close connection between conspiracy propaganda and violence. They often want to destabilize society and create political chaos. The idea is that the liberal democratic system must be abolished or overthrown in order for a new order to arise. These kinds of groups are also dangerous because of the racist ideas that dehumanize both individuals and groups.
- In addition, an actor like this can inspire others to commit acts of violence or other criminal acts.


It’s nearly five o’clock in the afternoon on a cloudy spring day in mid-March 2022 somewhere in Norway when Eindride logs into Telegram and opens one of the Nordic Federation's private channels. Eindride has played an essential role in the Nordic Federation. He’s recruited new members and also taken on the task of writing the Nordic Federation's manifesto entitled “White Unite”. Earlier in the day, he’d posted a question in the group’s Snapchat account about the Nordic Federation’s purpose but was again met with silence.
Eindride then writes in the Telegram channel "The fact that nobody’s responding is confirmation that nobody in the group knows what kind of group this is or why they’re in it. It proves it's a fake".
The group that had initially been full of cries for activism, ideological conversations and members throwing parties had slowly gone quiet. The genuine and committed members had gradually been replaced by users with strange names and formal language, and the conversations replaced by memes and GIFs with disjointed messages. Not only that, the group's founder had also stopped responding a few weeks previously.
"A few of the people here are actually legit but the group is just filled with so many images and memes that I wonder if it’s even a far-right group. Are we going to save the white race by sending memes?"
During the spring, Vincent deletes his Telegram account on and disappears from the Nordic Federation. A few weeks later, the Norwegian security police bring him in for questioning. The Swedish security police are also interested in Vincent. They’re conducting a series of investigations that include questioning people who’ve had previous contact with him. I haven’t been able to get any answers to what exactly has emerged during the work of the Swedish and Norwegian security police, nor whether the investigations have had any consequences for Vincent.
In Kongsberg, Vincent is described as increasingly paranoid. He glues up the locks on the front doors, takes the modem to pieces and screws external locks on all the front doors. At the end of May, Vincent is threatened with eviction and leaves Kongsberg with his mom and his cat Cyborg. According to Geir, when the property owner and the letting agent come to inspect the apartment they bring the police with them.
We’ve repeatedly tried to contact the property owner by phone and email with a view to asking him questions about his relationship with Vincent, how the lease came about, and whether they had any contact with each other during the time Vincent lived in the Kongsberg property and established a Nazi organization there. Neither the property owner nor the leasing agent has responded to our inquiries. Nor has Kongsberg Group.

Vincent får genom grannen Geir ta del av gemenskapen i Kongsberg.
"Great effort, good that Vincent Weidlich was also involved," writes a high-ranking manager within Kongsberg Gruppen. When Expo asks questions about Vincent, the man pretends not to know him and then deletes the post.



Another manager at the Kongsberg Group has denied that he’s met or even heard of Vincent, even though the manager has tagged Vincent in a local Facebook group in connection with Vincent doing volunteer work in one of the local mines. "Great effort, good that Vincent Weidlich was also involved," he posted in April 2021.
“I have no idea who you’re talking about. I’ve never met or heard of anyone with that name”, the manager claims. A few minutes after our conversation, the Facebook post in which the manager has tagged Vincent is deleted. The manager has yet to respond to further attempts to contact him.
Since Vincent deleted his Nordic Federation Telegram account and the Facebook account with which he created the Nordic Federation Facebook group, we haven’t been able to link him with any right-wing activism or propaganda. After he moved away from Kongsberg, judging from his social media, he has spent most of his time in Brazil with his girlfriend. At the same time, his career in Europe keeps rolling almost on its own.
In July 2022, Vincent updates his LinkedIn. He’s now a Quantitative Suitability Analyst at one of the world's largest banks, HSBC. The bank declines to comment on its employees, but Vincent has an active email address at HSBC. In September, he’s linked to an academic study on alternative methods of credit reporting and looking for participants for a research study at Northumbria University in London. The school confirms that Vincent Weidlich is the name of the researcher leading the study and that it’s been approved by the university's ethics committee. In autumn 2022, Vincent updates his LinkedIn again. In addition to his full-time position at HSBC and the research project at Northumbria University in London, he’s also received a Visiting Scholar position at the Uniwersytet Ekonomiczny in Krakow, and according to the site, he’s updated his language skills. He now has a basic knowledge of both Polish and “Chinese”.
Prior to the publication of this article, I made numerous attempts to contact Vincent via his work and private email addresses. He’s received the background research and questions regarding his role in the Nordic Federation as well as his time in Kongsberg but hasn’t replied. On the other hand, after my contact attempts, he blocked my profile on LinkedIn. I’ve also searched for Nordic Federation members who’ve held various leadership positions. Mr. skogh, the admin at the Facebook group, replies and said that he’s not interested in talking about the Nordic Federation with Expo and added “No. 1 Snitches get stitches, No. 2 Better dead than red”.
Although a Nazi revolution in the Nordics as a result of the activities of Vincent Weidlich and the Nordic Federation never materialized, the extreme content and periodically very active groups have radicalized numerous young people. Some have found affirmation in a far-right community for the first time, while others have expanded their violent, National Socialist worldview. For some, the disappointment about the group and its ambitious aims ultimately coming to nothing, and in hindsight seemingly fake, has quickly morphed into a desire for revenge.
After the Nordic Federation slowly passed away in spring 2022, former members provide a consistent picture of the group and how they came into contact with it. Many are teenagers and not active in other far-right organizations offline.
“Someone contacted me and suggested this group. I liked the fact that it looked really cool and serious, like a political movement, not just a Telegram group”, says one former member.
Most of the members confirm that the Nordic Federation actively sought out and invited new members to join, primarily via Instagram and Facebook.
“They contacted me. I met someone in a prepping group and was invited that way”, says another former member.
“I wanted to feel like I was doing something real. I didn't just want to sit in front of the computer all the time. I never went to any meetings, but I liked the fact that they went mushroom picking, did training in the forest and had, well, intellectual conversations.”
The upshot for Eindride, one of the more active members of the Nordic Federation, is one of bitter disappointment that he put so much time and commitment into something that never took off. Together with other former members of the Nordic Federation, he starts a new Nazi group. They call themselves the Odal Legion, and so far, they’ve mostly been active on Telegram. But their goal is to grow – from a Nazi group into a movement.
The Odal Legion is one of at least three groups that have emerged from the ashes of Vincent's Nordic Federation project. The other two groups are Danish and Scandinavian. My fake profile is given full access to the Odal Legion, but Netværket, the Danish group, doesn’t want to let me into their activist group without a physical meeting. As a result, I can only access the so-called “waiting room”, a chat room. It’s still obvious that all the groups have a common denominator; they don't want their activism to be limited to the Internet. Or, as Eindride writes to the members of his new group:
"It is our damn duty to engage in this struggle and never surrender, no matter what. I’ll fight to the last man if I have to."

Translation from swedish by My Vingren and Eddie Storey. You can read the Swedish version here.


What do the experts think?

Hans Brun, researcher on counter-terrorism at King's College London.

Vincent chose to move to Kongsberg but doesn't seem to have had any employment or anything else that could explain the choice of location, what do you think about that?
- Kongsberg is only known for one thing and that is the Norwegian arms industry and the Kongsberg Group. It sounds like there could be some actor behind your person, he seems a little too well-financed and well-organized. If that would be a state actor or a network, I cannot say. That there are connections between Russia and right-wing extremist actors in Europe is well known, but the other parallel tendency – that there are actors in the USA who are interested in favoring European right-wing extremism, researchers and journalists have been somewhat blind to.
- His background is also interesting with one parent from Germany and one from Brazil, many German Nazis emigrated to, among other places, Brazil after the Second World War.

We have not found any further right-wing extremist activity by the main actor, either before or after the years with the Nordic Federation. What does that tell you?
- It is very unusual for actors or groups to just appear out of nowhere. The usual thing is that they have existed in a similar environment before, that there are other connections even if they can be difficult to find. In this case, these could be in both the US and Europe.