MMP: The Base

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The Base

The Base is an accelerationist neo-Nazi militant organization operating mostly in the United States with some activity in Europe.

Key Statistics

2018 First Recorded Activity
2019 First Attack
2021 Profile Last Updated

Profile Contents

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Overview

Narrative of the Organization's History

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Organization

Leadership, Name Changes, Size Estimates, Resources, Geographic Locations

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Strategy

Ideology, Aims, Political Activities, Targets, and Tactics

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Major Attacks

First Attacks, Largest Attacks, Notable Attacks

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Interactions

Foreign Designations and Listings, Community Relations, Relations with Other Groups, State Sponsors and External Influences

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Maps

Mapping relationships with other militant groups over time

Contact MMP

Send a message to the Mapping Militants team.

Download Full Profile as PDF

Last updated February 2021.

How to Cite

Mapping Militant Organizations. “The Base.” Stanford University. Last modified February 2021. https://cisac.fsi.stanford.edu/mappingmilitants/profiles/the-base
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Organizational Overview

Formed: 2018

Disbanded: Group is active.

First Attack: 2019

Last Attack: 2019

Executive Summary

The Base is an accelerationist neo-Nazi militant organization operating mostly in the United States with some activity in Europe. The group’s founder is based in Russia. Organized mostly online as a loose network of cells, the Base anticipates the overthrow of modern society and an ensuing race war. The group’s objective is to establish a white ethno-state in North America, inspired by the separatist projects of other U.S. white supremacist groups, such as the Northwest Front and Aryan Nations. As of January 2021, the Base had successfully carried out acts of vandalism, but its major attacks against human targets were foiled by law enforcement. The group regularly holds offline meet-ups and paramilitary training sessions for its members across the United States. Although this organization’s name appears to be an English translation of “Al Qaeda,” the Base claims no affiliation with the jihadist group. The FBI infiltrated the Base in 2019 and arrested many of its members between late 2019 and early 2020. In January 2020, it was reported that the Base’s founder, a U.S. citizen named Rinaldo Nazzaro, led the group from his residence in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Group Narrative

2018: Early Beginnings

Under the pseudonym “Norman Spear,” Rinaldo Nazzaro founded the Base in July 2018. The group was established to support the creation of a white ethno-state in North America. The Base can be described as an accelerationist neo-Nazi organization, and it foresees the overthrow of modern society and an ensuing race war. The group is most active in the United States, although there have been reports of Base cells and members in several other countries.[1] The group has threatened violence on multiple occasions, but its plots have repeatedly been foiled by U.S. law enforcement.

Prior to founding the Base, Nazzaro worked in the private military and intelligence sector. He reportedly possessed experience supporting U.S. missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.[2] Nazzaro was first allegedly affiliated with Harold Covington’s Northwest Front, a white supremacist group based in the western United States that advocated the establishment of a whites-only ethno-state in the Pacific Northwest.[3] In December 2017, Nazzaro began making white supremacist posts online and speaking on far-right podcasts under his “Norma Spear” pseudonym. In these posts and podcases, Nazzaro advocated on behalf of the Northwest Front.[4] Nazzaro has said that Northwest Front leader Covington inspired him to start the Base. According to Nazzaro, he arranged to have dinner with Covington during the summer of 2018, but the white supremacist leader never showed up at the restaurant.[5] Nazzaro notified the Northwest Front’s second-in-command, who later found Covington dead at his home.[6] After Covington’s death, Nazzaro says that he gave up on the Northwest Front and decided to start his own organization.[7]

Throughout summer 2018, Nazzaro focused on recruiting members to the Base. Seeking to attract disparate neo-Nazis and white supremacists from across the internet, he began posting messages on social media, particularly on Twitter and Gab.[8] In November 2018, anti-fascist (also known as “antifa”) activists infiltrated the Base’s chats and revealed the identities of some group members. This security breach led the Base to adopt more stringent recruiting protocols and move its communications to Wire, an encrypted messaging platform.[9] As the Base grew, Nazzaro screened members closely, evaluating prospective recruits for personal background, ideological affinity for the group (particularly knowledge of James Mason’s accelerationist work SIEGE), and weapons skills.[10] Only after passing muster would new members be admitted to the group’s private encrypted chatroom.[11] By the end of 2018, the Base boasted of about 50 members.[12]

As he expanded the membership of his organization, Nazzaro took action to realize his ambitions of a white supremacist ethno-state. In December 2018, under the company “Base Global, LLC,” he purchased 30 acres of undeveloped land in rural Ferry County, Washington, near the Canadian border.[13] Nazzaro bought the property after finding it online, telling the listing agent that he wanted the land for his future retirement.[14]  It appears that Nazzaro did not visit Ferry County either before or after the purchase.[15] Local news media have investigated rumors that the Base planned to use the land for training, but there is no evidence that the group actually did so.[16] Nazzaro also reportedly owned property in Russia, and he allegedly moved there with his wife, who was born in Russia, and children around the time he established the Base. He continued to manage the organization from his home abroad.[17]

2019: Continued Recruiting and Paramilitary Training

The Base has sought to recruit individuals with military experience.[18] The most high-profile veteran to join the organization was a Canadian Army officer. In August 2019, a reporter with the Winnipeg Free Press infiltrated the Base and exposed Canadian Army Reserve Master Cpl. Patrik Mathews as a member of the organization. Days later, he was discharged from the Canadian armed forces and was reported missing from his home in Manitoba.[19] His truck was found about 10 miles from the Canadian border with Minnesota, fueling speculation that he crossed into the United States on foot.[20] Minnesota reportedly hosts a Base cell.[21] VICE News reported that the Base assisted Mathews in his illegal border crossing and kept him in hiding.[22] Between August 2019 and Mathews’ arrest by U.S. authorities in January 2020, Base members shuttled him across multiple locations in the United States, including Michigan, Delaware, Maryland, and Georgia.[23]

Over the course of 2019, the Base developed a paramilitary training program for its members. Across the United States, cells hosted meet ups for instruction in tactical skills, including firearms and explosives. These events are known as “hate camps.” The hate camps concept was originally developed by the Atomwaffen Division (AWD), a violent neo-Nazi white supremacist organization with cells in the United States and ties to the Base.[24] A profile of Atomwaffen Division (known as National Socialist Order after August 2020), is available from the Mapping Militants Project. In August 2019, Base founder Nazzaro traveled to the United States from Russia and personally led a training camp in rural Pennsylvania.[25] In October, Mathews, an expert in weapons and explosives, provided paramilitary instruction to Base militants in Georgia.[26]

As the Base developed its US paramilitary training program, the group also considered sending foreign fighters to participate in the conflict in Ukraine. Since 2014, the Ukrainian government has fought Russian-backed separatists for control of the eastern region of the country. Both sides have attracted white supremacist foreign fighters. In a leaked phone call from autumn 2019, Nazzaro raised the possibility of Base militants joining the conflict in order to gain military experience to apply to the group’s US operations.[27] One group member, 20-year-old Matthew Ryan Burchfield of Virginia, admitted to traveling to Ukraine to professionalize his combat skills.[28] A Georgia prosecutor has accused him taking up arms on behalf of the Right Sector, a far-right Ukrainian paramilitary organization.[29] No charges have been filed. As of early 2020, Burchfield claimed to be in Slovakia.[30] Burchfield has denied involvement with the Right Sector, denounced the Base, and said that his travels to Ukraine were not related to his membership in the Base.[31]

In September 2019, the Base executed its first and only (as of January 2021) successful operation in the United States. Base member Richard Tobin, an 18-year-old from New Jersey, organized a campaign of vandalism against Midwestern synagogues. No one was physically harmed during the operation. The vandalism was carried out by members of the organization’s “Great Lakes cell.”[32] In an operation called “Operation Kristallnacht” – a reference to the 1938 Nazi-perpetrated night of violence against German Jews – Tobin allegedly ordered fellow Base members to “vandalize minority-owned properties.”[33] On September 22, 2019, an unknown assailant spray-painted swastikas and the logo of the Base on the façade of Temple Jacob, a historic synagogue located in Michigan’s upper peninsula.[34] The perpetrator has not been identified. The next day, Base member Yousef O. Barasneh defaced Beth Israel Sinai Congregation, a synagogue in Racine, Wisconsin, with an anti-Semitic message, a swastika, and a Base logo.[35] Barasneh is known to have coordinated the attack online with other members of the Base.[36] A month after the vandalism, he attended the Base’s October 2019 training weekend in Georgia.[37]

In October 2019, two men based in Michigan launched a plan to intimidate Daniel Harper, host of the antifa podcast “I don’t speak German.” Justen Watkins, who would later emerge as the self-proclaimed leader of the Base, and Alfred Gorman mailed threats to a home believed to be Harper’s residence. The pair also posed for pictures outside the house while dressed in Nazi paraphernalia, which they posted online with threatening messages.[38] The address was actually the home of an unrelated family.[39]

That same month, Alexander Holmberg and Zeke Blomquist, Swedish members of the Base and the Green Brigade, burned down several buildings on a mink farm in rural Sweden.[40] The Green Brigade is an eco-fascist affiliate of the Base that operates mostly online. Founded sometime in 2019, the Green Brigade was formally tied to the Base by October of that year.[41] The Green Brigade claimed responsibility for the arson in a video posted on iFunny, a meme-sharing website frequently used by right-wing extremists.[42] The arsonists reportedly had originally planned to free the minks living in captivity on the farm but chose to set the fire after failing to find any minks.

In addition to these provocative threats and acts of vandalism, members of the Base also began to practice Satanism around this time. Over Halloween weekend in October 2019, three members took a break from campaign and firearms drills to participate in an occult ritual.[43] William Bilbrough IV – who was later arrested in January 2020 – and two anonymous comrades stole a ram from a local farm. Members of the Base sacrificed the animal, drank its blood, took LSD, and posed with the ram’s head for a propaganda photo.[44] The Base is not alone in invoking Satanism. The occult has found an ideological home in several other neo-Nazi groups, such as the Atomwaffen Division (AWD) and the Order of Nine Angles.

Late 2019-Early 2020: Increasing Counterterrorism Pressure Degrades the Base

As the Base ramped up its activities throughout 2019, U.S. law enforcement began targeting members for prosecution. In July 2019, an undercover FBI agent infiltrated the Base’s Georgia cell and participated in group meet-ups and training.[45] That year, a high-ranking member of the Base became an FBI informant in the Bureau’s ongoing investigation into the Base as well.[46]

In November 2019, U.S. law enforcement executed the first in what would soon become a nationwide sweep of actions targeting Base members. FBI agents arrested Richard Tobin, organizer of “Operation Kristallnacht,” who confessed to his involvement with the Base.[47] Tobin was charged with conspiring against the rights of minorities and was denied bail.[48]

A larger wave of arrests followed in January 2020.  In one week, the FBI foiled two major planned attacks. Prosecutors ultimately charged seven members of the Base from cells in Georgia, Delaware, and Wisconsin. On January 16, 2020, the FBI arrested three members of the Base for allegedly plotting to instigate a nationwide race war. Three Base members – Brian Lemley, Jr. and William Garfield Bilbrough IV, both based in Maryland, and Patrik Jordan Mathews, a Canadian citizen – planned to exploit a gun rights rally planned for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Richmond, Virginia.[49]

The Virginia Citizens Defense League, a pro-Second Amendment group, organized the rally in opposition to Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s proposed gun control legislation. Far-right militias and white supremacist groups were expected to be in attendance.[50] According to federal surveillance, Mathews suggested that the group carry out acts such as derailing trains and blocking highways in order to foment instability.[51] In an apartment the men occupied, authorities found Base propaganda, empty rifle cases, and bags containing military-style Meals-Ready-to-Eat, knives, and assault rifle components.[52] According to the FBI, the three Base members had also practiced their firearms skills at local shooting ranges in the weeks before being arrested.[53] All three men were charged with federal firearms offenses. In addition, Lemley and Bilbrough were charged with transporting and harboring an illegal alien (Mathews, who entered the United States illegally from Canada).[54]

The next day, January 17, Yousef O. Barasneh was arrested for the September 2019 vandalism of a synagogue in Racine, Wisconsin. Baransneh is a native of Oak Creek, Wisconsin, a nearby town. He was charged with conspiring to violate citizens’ rights to use property free from threats and intimidation.[55] Barasneh pleaded guilty in July 2020.[56]

That same day, the FBI arrested three members of the Base’s Georgia cell. Luke Austin Lane, Jacob Kaderli, and Michael John Helterbrand, all between 19 and 25 years old, were taken into custody and charged with conspiracy to commit murder and being members of a criminal gang.[57] The men had plotted to murder a married couple active in Georgia’s anti-fascist (or “antifa”) movement and burn down their house in retaliation for exposing the identities of white supremacists on the internet. The intended victims, whose names have not been released to the public, were members of a group called Atlanta Antifascists and had no relation to the Base.[58] One of the three Base militants charged in the conspiracy, Luke Austin Lane, has been accused of leading an internal unit intended to serve as a “hit squad” for the group.[59]

That same month, the news media unmasked Nazzaro as the founder and leader of the Base. He had previously operated anonymously under the pseudonyms Norman Spear and Roman Wolf. In separate investigations published within hours of each other on January 23 and January 24, 2020, the Guardian and BBC News publicized details of Nazzaro’s identity, including his career, education, and his move from the United States to Russia in 2018.[60]

After the FBI’s wave of arrests and the reveal of Nazzaro’s identity, the Base ceased public operations, and Nazzaro, a one-time prolific social media user, stopped posting.[61] According to sources within the group interviewed by VICE News, Nazzaro decided to lay low and shared key passwords and digital records with other members of the group to allow the Base to continue.[62] An unknown Base member then used this access to post insulting memes across the Base’s public Internet channels, after which the organization deleted its internal chats and went offline.[63] The Green Brigade, the Base’s eco-fascist affiliate, went defunct around this time.[64]

Shortly after Nazzaro went underground, a leader of the Base’s Michigan cell, Justen Watkins, proclaimed himself to be Nazzaro’s replacement. In a post to the organization’s members, Watkins claimed that Nazzaro selected him as the next leader of the Base.[65] This claim has not been independently verified. Watkins is based in Bad Axe, a Michigan town about 100 miles north of Detroit, where he allegedly hosted a “hate camp” that provided firearms and tactical training to Base militants.[66] Tristan Webb, a member of the Base, made a rural family homestead available to serve as the headquarters for the group’s cell in Huron County, Michigan.[67] Watkins allegedly moved there in early 2020. In October 2020, he and Base member Alfred Gorman were arrested by the FBI and charged with several state felonies, including gang membership, using a computer to commit a crime, and unlawful posting of a message.[68] In a raid on Watkins’s home, the FBI found 15 guns and extremist material.[69] Sunita Doddamani, assistant attorney general of Michigan, described Watkins and Gordon as the “last vestiges” of a weakened organization.[70]

That same month, two men were arrested in the Netherlands under suspicion of “right-wing extremist incitement and crimes with a terrorist aim” and alleged affiliation with the Base.[71] This event suggests that, even as U.S. authorities cracked down on the Base, the organization remained active in Europe.

In early November 2020, Nazzaro ended nearly a year of public silence by participating in an interview with Russia-24, a state-owned television channel. During a segment on the 2020 U.S. elections and the antifa movement, Nazzaro denied claims of ties to Russian intelligence services, refuted characterizations of the Base as a terrorist group, and cast doubt on the Holocaust.[72] Nazzaro appeared on camera with his daughters, insisting that he was “a family man, first and foremost” and describing the Base’s mission as self-defense.[73] Since returning to public life, Nazzaro has continued to speak to the media as a leader of the Base. It is unclear whether he, Watkins, or both are in control of the group.

In February 2021, the Canadian Department of Public Safety designated the Base as a terrorist entity.[74] In response to this decision, Nazzaro claimed that the Base was merely a “survivalism and self-defense network for nationalists” and stated that the Base remained active in Canada.[75]


[1] “The Base.” Anti-Defamation League. 2020. https://www.adl.org/resources/backgrounders/the-base

[2] Makuch, Ben and Mack Lamoureux. “Neo-Nazi Terror Leader Said to Have Worked with U.S. Special Forces.” VICE News. September 24, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/k7qdzv/neo-nazi-terror-leader-said-to...

[3] Wilson, Jason. “Revealed: the true identity of the leader of an American neo-Nazi terror group.” The Guardian. January 23, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/23/revealed-the-true-identity...

[4] Wallace, Benjamin. “The Prep School Nazi.” New York Magazine. March 30, 2020. https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/rinaldo-nazzaro-the-base-norman-...

[5] Lamoureux, Mack, Ben Makuch, and Zachary Kamel. “How One Man Built a Neo-Nazi Insurgency in Trump's America.” VICE News. October 7, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article/v7g9kb/how-one-man-built-a-neo-nazi-insu...

[6] Lamoureux, Mack, Ben Makuch, and Zachary Kamel. “How One Man Built a Neo-Nazi Insurgency in Trump's America.” VICE News. October 7, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article/v7g9kb/how-one-man-built-a-neo-nazi-insu...

[7] Lamoureux, Mack, Ben Makuch, and Zachary Kamel. “How One Man Built a Neo-Nazi Insurgency in Trump's America.” VICE News. October 7, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article/v7g9kb/how-one-man-built-a-neo-nazi-insu...

[8] Lamoureux, Mack, Ben Makuch, and Zachary Kamel. “How One Man Built a Neo-Nazi Insurgency in Trump's America.” VICE News. October 7, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article/v7g9kb/how-one-man-built-a-neo-nazi-insu...

[9] Wilson, Jason. “Prepping for a race war: documents reveal inner workings of neo-Nazi group.” The Guardian. January 25, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/25/inside-the-base-neo-nazi-t...

[10] De Simone, Daniel and Ali Winston. “Neo-Nazi militant group grooms teenagers.” BBC News. June 22, 2020. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-53128169. Lamoureux, Mack, Ben Makuch, and Zachary Kamel. “How One Man Built a Neo-Nazi Insurgency in Trump's America.” VICE News. October 7, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article/v7g9kb/how-one-man-built-a-neo-nazi-insu...

[11] Lamoureux, Mack, Ben Makuch, and Zachary Kamel. “How One Man Built a Neo-Nazi Insurgency in Trump's America.” VICE News. October 7, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article/v7g9kb/how-one-man-built-a-neo-nazi-insu...

[12] Lamoureux, Mack, Ben Makuch, and Zachary Kamel. “How One Man Built a Neo-Nazi Insurgency in Trump's America.” VICE News. October 7, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article/v7g9kb/how-one-man-built-a-neo-nazi-insu...

[13] Wilson, Jason. “Revealed: the true identity of the leader of an American neo-Nazi terror group.” The Guardian. January 23, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/23/revealed-the-true-identity...

[14] Wallace, Benjamin. “The Prep School Nazi.” New York Magazine. March 30, 2020. https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/rinaldo-nazzaro-the-base-norman-...

[15] Wallace, Benjamin. “The Prep School Nazi.” New York Magazine. March 30, 2020. https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/rinaldo-nazzaro-the-base-norman-...

[16] Carroll, Megan. “Investigation reveals that leader of neo-Nazi group 'The Base' owns land in Ferry County.” KREM. January 24, 2020. https://www.krem.com/article/news/local/the-base-leaders-owns-land-in-wa...

[17] Wilson, Jason. “Revealed: the true identity of the leader of an American neo-Nazi terror group.” The Guardian. January 23, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/23/revealed-the-true-identity.... De Simone, Daniel, Andrei Soshnikov, and Ali Winston. “Neo-Nazi Rinaldo Nazzaro running US militant group The Base from Russia.” BBC News. January 24, 2020. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-51236915. Wallace, Benjamin. “The Prep School Nazi.” New York Magazine. March 30, 2020. https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/rinaldo-nazzaro-the-base-norman-...

[18] “The Base.” Southern Poverty Law Center. 2020. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/base

[19] Breen, Kerri and Andrew Russell. “Army reservist allegedly linked to neo-Nazi group reported missing.” Global News. August 28, 2019. https://globalnews.ca/news/5825442/patrik-mathews-missing-neo-nazi/

[20] Weill, Kelly. “Missing Canadian Bomb Expert With Neo-Nazi Ties May Be in U.S.” The Daily Beast. October 30, 2019. https://www.thedailybeast.com/patrik-mathews-missing-canadian-bomb-exper...

[21] Makuch, Ben and Mack Lamoureux. “Police Warn that Accused Neo-Nazi Canadian Soldier Could Have Fled to U.S.” VICE News. September 6, 2019. https://www.vice.com/en/article/ne8ejx/police-warn-that-accused-neo-nazi...

[22] Makuch, Ben, Mack Lamoureux, and Zachary Kamel. “Neo-Nazi Terror Group Harbouring Missing Ex-Soldier: Sources.” VICE News. December 5, 2019. https://www.vice.com/en/article/8xwwaa/neo-nazi-terror-group-harbouring-...

[23] “The Base.” Southern Poverty Law Center. 2020. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/base

[24] Lamoureux, Mack and Ben Makuch. “Militant Neo-Nazi Group Actively Recruiting Ahead of Alleged Training Camp.” VICE News. August 16, 2019. https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/bjwx55/militant-neo-nazi-group-active...

[25] Lamoureux, Mack, Ben Makuch, and Zachary Kamel. “How One Man Built a Neo-Nazi Insurgency in Trump's America.” VICE News. October 7, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article/v7g9kb/how-one-man-built-a-neo-nazi-insu...

[26] Makuch, Ben, Mack Lamoureux, and Zachary Kamel. “Neo-Nazi Terror Group Harbouring Missing Ex-Soldier: Sources.” VICE News. December 5, 2019. https://www.vice.com/en/article/8xwwaa/neo-nazi-terror-group-harbouring-...

[27] Makuch, Ben and Mack Lamoureux. “Neo-Nazi Terror Group the Base Discussed Training Pipeline to Ukraine War.” VICE News. October 15, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article/jgqex8/neo-nazi-terror-group-the-base-di...

[28] Makuch, Ben and Mack Lamoureux. “Neo-Nazi Terror Group The Base Linked to the War in Ukraine.” VICE News. February 6, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article/y3m3eg/neo-nazi-terror-group-the-base-li...

[29] Redmon, Jeremy. “Prosecutor: Alleged Georgia white supremacists planned to kill others.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. February 23, 2020. https://www.ajc.com/news/breaking-news/prosecutor-alleged-georgia-white-...

[30] Makuch, Ben and Mack Lamoureux. “Neo-Nazi Terror Group The Base Linked to the War in Ukraine.” VICE News. February 6, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article/y3m3eg/neo-nazi-terror-group-the-base-li...

[31] Makuch, Ben and Mack Lamoureux. “Neo-Nazi Terror Group the Base Discussed Training Pipeline to Ukraine War.” VICE News. October 15, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article/jgqex8/neo-nazi-terror-group-the-base-di...

[32] Lamoureux, Mack and Ben Makuch. “Man Arrested for Synagogue Vandalism Was Active in Two Militant Neo-Nazi Groups.” VICE News. November 20, 2019. https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/
pa75jk/man-arrested-for-synagogue-vandalism-was-active-in-two-militant-neo-nazi-groups

[33] Lamoureux, Mack and Ben Makuch. “Man Arrested for Synagogue Vandalism Was Active in Two Militant Neo-Nazi Groups.” VICE News. November 20, 2019. https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/
pa75jk/man-arrested-for-synagogue-vandalism-was-active-in-two-militant-neo-nazi-groups

[34] Lofton, Justine. “Vandals paint Nazi swastikas on Northern Michigan synagogue.” Michiganlive.com. September 23, 2019. https://www.mlive.com/news/2019/09/vandals-paint-nazi-swastikas-on-north...

[35] Rogan, Adam. “Graffiti found on Racine synagogue; several anti-Semitic vandalism incidents reported nationwide over weekend.” The Journal Times. September 23, 2019. https://journaltimes.com/news
/local/crime-and-courts/graffiti-found-on-racine-synagogue-several-anti-semitic-vandalism-incidents-reported-nationwide-over-weekend/article_45092379-e7e4-5d6f-a62e-7dd91eb13836.html. Carson, Sophie. “Oak Creek man pleads guilty to Racine synagogue vandalism as part of neo-Nazi group's plot to target Jewish population.” Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. July 17, 2020. https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/local/2020/07/17/racine-synagogue-va...

[36] Carson, Sophie. “Oak Creek man pleads guilty to Racine synagogue vandalism as part of neo-Nazi group's plot to target Jewish population.” Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. July 17, 2020. https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/local/2020/07/17/racine-synagogue-va...

[37] Carson, Sophie. “Oak Creek man pleads guilty to Racine synagogue vandalism as part of neo-Nazi group's plot to target Jewish population.” Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. July 17, 2020. https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/local/2020/07/17/racine-synagogue-va...

[38] Weill, Kelly and Spencer Ackerman. “Neo-Nazis Who Targeted Podcaster and Terrorized Random Family Busted in MI: Cops.” The Daily Beast. October 29, 2020. https://www.thedailybeast.com/white-supremacist-group-the-base-members-b.... Snell, Robert and Beth LeBlanc. “FBI arrests white supremacy leader in extremism crackdown in Michigan.” The Detroit News. October 29, 2020. https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2020/10/29/fbi-arr...

[39] Bogel-Burroughs, Nicholas. “F.B.I. Arrests Michigan Men Tied to White Supremacist Group.” The New York Times. October 29, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/29/us/fbi-arrests-the-base-michigan.html

[40] Kamel, Zachary, Mack Lamoureux, and Ben Makuch. “'Eco-fascist' Arm of Neo-Nazi Terror Group, The Base, Linked to Swedish Arson.” VICE News. January 29, 2020. https://www.vice.com
/en/article/qjdvzx/eco-fascist-arm-of-neo-nazi-terror-group-the-base-linked-to-swedish-arson. Lamoureux, Mack, Ben Makuch, and Zachary Kamel. “Alleged Eco-Terrorists Discussed Abortion Clinic Bombing, Assassinating Judge: Court Documents.” VICE News. December 14, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article
/g5bjqm/alleged-eco-terrorists-discussed-abortion-clinic-bombing-assassinating-judge-court-documents

[41] Lamoureux, Mack, Ben Makuch, and Zachary Kamel. “Alleged Eco-Terrorists Discussed Abortion Clinic Bombing, Assassinating Judge: Court Documents.” VICE News. December 14, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article/g5bjqm/alleged-eco-terrorists-discussed-...

[42] Kamel, Zachary, Mack Lamoureux, and Ben Makuch. “'Eco-fascist' Arm of Neo-Nazi Terror Group, The Base, Linked to Swedish Arson.” VICE News. January 29, 2020. https://www.vice.com
/en/article/qjdvzx/eco-fascist-arm-of-neo-nazi-terror-group-the-base-linked-to-swedish-arson.

[43] Makuch, Ben and Mack Lamoureux. “Neo-Nazi Memoir Describes Terror Group’s Acid-Soaked Ram Sacrifice.” VICE News. June 24, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/z3e3ew/neo-nazi-memoir-describes-terr...

[44] Makuch, Ben and Mack Lamoureux. “Neo-Nazi Memoir Describes Terror Group’s Acid-Soaked Ram Sacrifice.” VICE News. June 24, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/z3e3ew/neo-nazi-memoir-describes-terr...

[45] Makuch, Ben and Mack Lamoureux. “Neo-Nazi Memoir Describes Terror Group’s Acid-Soaked Ram Sacrifice.” VICE News. June 24, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/z3e3ew/neo-nazi-memoir-describes-terr...

[46] Carson, Sophie. “Oak Creek man pleads guilty to Racine synagogue vandalism as part of neo-Nazi group's plot to target Jewish population.” Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. July 17, 2020. https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/local/2020/07/17/racine-synagogue-va...

[47] Roebuck, Jeremy. “South Jersey man accused in synagogue vandalisms, revealing dark network of neo-Nazi organizing online.” The Philadelphia Inquirer. November 15, 2019. https://www.inquirer.com/news
/richard-tobin-synagogue-vandalism-the-base-white-supremacist-racine-wisconsin-hancock-michigan-20191115.html

[48] Brandt, Joe. “Judge denies bail to N.J. teen accused of inciting synagogue vandalism, plotting attack on African American shoppers.” NJ.com. December 9, 2019. https://www.nj.com/camden/2019/12/judge-denies-bail-to-nj-teen-accused-o...

[49] Williams, Timothy, Adam Goldman, and Neil MacFarquhar. “Virginia Capital on Edge as F.B.I. Arrests Suspected Neo-Nazis Before Gun Rally.” The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/16/us/fbi-arrest-virginia-gun-rally.html

[50] Williams, Timothy, Adam Goldman, and Neil MacFarquhar. “Virginia Capital on Edge as F.B.I. Arrests Suspected Neo-Nazis Before Gun Rally.” The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/16/us/fbi-arrest-virginia-gun-rally.html

[51] Hellgren, Mike. “Judge: Canadian Man Tied To Extremist Group Is ‘Very Dangerous.’” CBS Baltimore. January 22, 2020. https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2020/01/22/alleged-white-supremacists-bri...

[52] Duggan, Paul. “Alleged white supremacists planned deadly violence at Richmond gun rally, federal prosecutors say.” The Washington Post. January 21, 2020. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/alleged-white-suprema...

[53] Duggan, Paul. “Alleged white supremacists planned deadly violence at Richmond gun rally, federal prosecutors say.” The Washington Post. January 21, 2020. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/alleged-white-suprema...

[54] Duggan, Paul. “Alleged white supremacists planned deadly violence at Richmond gun rally, federal prosecutors say.” The Washington Post. January 21, 2020. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/alleged-white-suprema...

[55] Luthern, Ashley and Bruce Vielmetti. “Oak Creek man, alleged member of neo-Nazi group 'The Base,' charged with vandalizing Racine synagogue.” Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. January 17, 2020. https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/crime/2020/01/17/alleged-member-neo-...

[56] Carson, Sophie. “Oak Creek man pleads guilty to Racine synagogue vandalism as part of neo-Nazi group's plot to target Jewish population.” Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. July 17, 2020. https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/local/2020/07/17/racine-synagogue-va...

[57] Hawkins, Derek and Hannah Knowles. “Alleged members of white supremacy group ‘the Base’ charged with plotting to kill antifa couple.” January 18, 2020. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2020/01/18/the-base-whi...

[58] Bailey, John. “Update: Affidavit links former Canadian army extremist to local white nationalist group, target of murder plot was Bartow County couple.” Rome News-Tribune. January 17, 2020. https://www.northwestgeorgianews.com/rome/news/local/update-affidavit-li...

[59] Lamoureux, Mack. “FBI Arrests Members of Neo-Nazi Cell Whose Plot to Murder Antifa Couple Was Foiled by a Bad Back.” VICE News. January 17, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/akwvpj/fbi-arrests-members-of-neo-naz...

[60] Wilson, Jason. “Revealed: the true identity of the leader of an American neo-Nazi terror group.” The Guardian. January 23, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/23/revealed-the-true-identity.... De Simone, Daniel, Andrei Soshnikov, and Ali Winston. “Neo-Nazi Rinaldo Nazzaro running US militant group The Base from Russia.” BBC News. January 24, 2020. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-51236915

[61] Makuch, Ben and Mack Lamoureux. “Neo-Nazi Memoir Describes Terror Group’s Acid-Soaked Ram Sacrifice.” VICE News. June 24, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/z3e3ew/neo-nazi-memoir-describes-terr...

[62] Lamoureux, Mack, Ben Makuch, and Zachary Kamel. “How One Man Built a Neo-Nazi Insurgency in Trump's America.” VICE News. October 7, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article/v7g9kb/how-one-man-built-a-neo-nazi-insu...

[63] Lamoureux, Mack, Ben Makuch, and Zachary Kamel. “How One Man Built a Neo-Nazi Insurgency in Trump's America.” VICE News. October 7, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article/v7g9kb/how-one-man-built-a-neo-nazi-insu...

[64] Lamoureux, Mack. “Neo-Nazis Are Using Eco-Fascism to Recruit Young People.” VICE News. September 25, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article/wxqmey/neo-nazis-eco-fascism-climate-cha...

[65] Weill, Kelly and Spencer Ackerman. “Neo-Nazis Who Targeted Podcaster and Terrorized Random Family Busted in MI: Cops.” The Daily Beast. October 29, 2020. https://www.thedailybeast.com/white-supremacist-group-the-base-members-b...

[66] Weill, Kelly and Spencer Ackerman. “Neo-Nazis Who Targeted Podcaster and Terrorized Random Family Busted in MI: Cops.” The Daily Beast. October 29, 2020. https://www.thedailybeast.com/white-supremacist-group-the-base-members-b...

[67] Nunn, Scott. “Establishing The Base in Michigan.” The Pioneer. November 16, 2020. https://www.bigrapidsnews.com/insider/article/Establishing-The-Base-in-B...

[68] Snell, Robert and Beth LeBlanc. “FBI arrests white supremacy leader in extremism crackdown in Michigan.” The Detroit News. October 29, 2020. https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news
/local/michigan/2020/10/29/fbi-arrests-accused-neo-nazis-michigan-crackdown-extremism/6067038002/

[69] Snell, Robert. “Accused neo-Nazi leader had manifesto, wanted race war, prosecutors say.” The Detroit News. October 30, 2020. https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2020/10/30/accused...

[70] Snell, Robert. “Accused neo-Nazi leader had manifesto, wanted race war, prosecutors say.” The Detroit News. October 30, 2020. https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2020/10/30/accused...

[71] Rosman, Cyril. “Jonge rechts-extremisten opgepakt vanwege terreurverdenking, zijn lid van beruchte neo-nazigroep.” AD.nl. October 30, 2020. https://www.ad.nl/binnenland/jonge-rechts-extremisten-opgepakt-vanwege-t...

[72] Makuch, Ben and Mack Lamoureux. “Neo-Nazi Terror Leader on Russian TV: ‘I'm a Family Man.’” VICE News. November 5, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article/xgzxzq/rinaldo-nazzaro-neo-nazi-terror-l...

[73] Makuch, Ben and Mack Lamoureux. “Neo-Nazi Terror Leader on Russian TV: ‘I'm a Family Man.’” VICE News. November 5, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article/xgzxzq/rinaldo-nazzaro-neo-nazi-terror-l...

[74] “Government of Canada lists 13 new groups as terrorist entities and completes review of seven others.” Government of Canada. February 3, 2021. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-safety-canada/news/2021/02/government-of...

[75] Lamoureux, Mack and Ben Makuch. “Canada Designates Proud Boys, Atomwaffen, and The Base as Terror Organizations.” VICE News. February 3, 2021. https://www.vice.com/en/article/z3vkxy/canada-designates-proud-boys-atom...

Organizational Structure

Leadership, Name Changes, Size Estimates, Resources, Geographic Locations

    Leadership
  • Leadership
  • Name Changes
  • Size Estimates
  • Resources
  • Geographic Locations

Leadership

The Base operates as a network of cells connected online. The Base’s founder and leader, Rinaldo Nazzaro, organized the group based on the “leaderless resistance” model pioneered by Ku Klux Klan leader Louis Beam. This organizational setup entailed a collective of regional cells operating fairly independently towards common goals.[1] According to internal messages, the Base organized its members in three-person “Trouble Trio” cells to commit violent acts.[2]

Despite this decentralized model, Nazzaro appeared to adopt a relatively hands-on approach to leading the group. For example, the BBC obtained recordings of him personally interviewing prospective members over an encrypted messaging app in June 2020.[3] Nazzaro also acted as a spokesperson for the group. He posted prolifically on behalf of the Base on social media outlets, including Twitter.[4] Under his pseudonyms, Nazzaro served as the public face of the Base, appearing in the organization’s propaganda and promoting the organization on far-right podcasts.[5]

Rinaldo Nazzaro (2018 to present?): Also known by the aliases “Norman Spear” and “Roman Wolf,” Nazzaro founded the Base as “Spear” in July 2018.[6] Nazzaro is originally from New Jersey and lived in New Jersey, New York City, and the Washington, DC area.[7] Nazzaro attended a Catholic high school in New Jersey and studied philosophy at Villanova University before dropping out in 1994.[8] While at Villanova, Nazzaro was involved with the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America.[9] It is unclear what inspired his turn to the extreme right.

Around the same time as the founding of the Base, Nazzaro and his Russian-born wife purchased an apartment in her name in St. Petersburg.[10] Nazzaro then moved to St. Petersburg with his wife and their children.[11] According to a local newspaper, he became a naturalized Russian citizen and obtained a Russian passport after his move.[12]

As of 2020, Nazzaro was about 47 years old. Prior to founding the Base, he worked as an analyst for the FBI and as a contractor for the U.S. Department of Defense, according to news media reporting.[13] As a defense contractor, Nazzaro allegedly supported U.S. missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.[14] He has also described himself online as a U.S. military veteran, an expert in defense studies, and a former CIA officer, though the veracity of these claims is unknown.[15]

Before his leadership of the Base, Nazzaro ran a company known as Omega Solutions that offered security and intelligence contracting services.[16] As of January 2020, the business remained active with an up-to-date insurance policy. Omega Solutions possessed a Cage Code, a registration required for all U.S. government contractors.[17]

Before founding the Base, Nazzaro was affiliated with U.S. neo-Nazi Harold Covington’s Northwest Front, a white supremacist group based in the Pacific Northwest.[18] Nazzaro’s alleged background in law enforcement and intelligence led some members of the Base to quit the group because they suspected he was a government agent.[19]

After his identity was publicly revealed in January 2020, Nazarro disappeared from the internet.[20] He resurfaced in November 2020 when he participated in Russian state-owned TV news channel’s coverage of the U.S. elections. Describing himself as “a family man,” Nazzaro rejected views of the Base as a terrorist organization.[21] In early 2020, Justen Watkins emerged as the public leader of the Base. However, after Canada’s designation of the Base as a terrorist entity in February 2021, Nazzaro resumed making public statements as leader of the Base. [22]

Justen Watkins (January 2020 to present?): Watkins has served a leader of the Base’s Michigan cell. After Nazzaro stepped back from the group in January 2020, Watkins announced to members of the Base that Nazzaro had selected him as the new leader.[23] It is unclear whether Watkins’s claim to leadership was sanctioned by Nazzaro and to what degree he may have led the organization beyond its members in Michigan. Watkins is based in Bad Axe, a Michigan town about 100 miles north of Detroit, where he allegedly hosted a “hate camp” that provided firearms and tactical training to Base militants.[24] He has made posts on Telegram pledging to commit terrorist attacks in the United States.[25] As of 2020, Watkins is about 25 years old.[26] In October 2020, he was arrested by the FBI and charged with several felonies for threatening a Michigan family whom he mistakenly targeted in an attempt to intimidate a podcast host associated with the antifa movement.[27]

Luke Austin Lane (unknown to January 2020): A member of the Base’s Georgia cell, Lane was allegedly the leader of a unit within the Base intended to serve as a “hit squad.”[28] He was among the three militants arrested by the FBI in January 2020 for plotting to murder a Georgia couple affiliated with the anti-fascist (or “antifa”) movement.[29] Lane is based in Silver Creek, Georgia, and in 2020 was about 22 years old.[30]

Patrik J. Mathews (unknown to January 2020): Mathews is a combat engineer and explosives expert who was expelled from the Canadian Army after his ties to the white supremacist movement were discovered.[31] He allegedly served as a major recruiter for the Base and was arrested in January 2020 when the FBI foiled a Base plot connected to a gun rights rally in Virginia.[32] Mathews entered the United States illegally from Canada and went into hiding with the Base in the United States, evading immigration authorities.[33] Mathews is known to have spent time with Base members in Michigan, Georgia, and Delaware, where he was ultimately arrested.[34] He has trained other Base members in combat skills during the group’s “hate camps,” a program of paramilitary training sessions held across the United States.[35]


[1] “The Base.” Southern Poverty Law Center. 2020. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/base

[2] Bailey, John. “Update: Affidavit links former Canadian army extremist to local white nationalist group, target of murder plot was Bartow County couple.” Rome News-Tribune. January 17, 2020. https://www.northwestgeorgianews.com/rome/news/local/update-affidavit-li...

[3] De Simone, Daniel and Ali Winston. “Neo-Nazi militant group grooms teenagers.” BBC News. June 22, 2020. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-53128169

[4] “The Base.” Anti-Defamation League. 2020. https://www.adl.org/resources/backgrounders/the-base

[5] Makuch, Ben and Mack Lamoureux. “Neo-Nazis Are Organizing Secretive Paramilitary Training Across America.” VICE News. November 20, 2018. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/a3mexp/neo-nazis-are-organizing-secre...

[6] De Simone, Daniel, Andrei Soshnikov, and Ali Winston. “Neo-Nazi Rinaldo Nazzaro running US militant group The Base from Russia.” BBC News. January 24, 2020. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-51236915

[7] Wilson, Jason. “Revealed: the true identity of the leader of an American neo-Nazi terror group.” The Guardian. January 23, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/23/revealed-the-true-identity.... Wallace, Benjamin. “The Prep School Nazi.” New York Magazine. March 30, 2020. https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/rinaldo-nazzaro-the-base-norman-...

[8] “The Base.” Southern Poverty Law Center. 2020. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/base. Wilson, Jason. “Revealed: the true identity of the leader of an American neo-Nazi terror group.” The Guardian. January 23, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/23/revealed-the-true-identity...

[9] Lamoureux, Mack, Ben Makuch, and Zachary Kamel. “How One Man Built a Neo-Nazi Insurgency in Trump's America.” VICE News. October 7, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article/v7g9kb/how-one-man-built-a-neo-nazi-insu...

[10] De Simone, Daniel, Andrei Soshnikov, and Ali Winston. “Neo-Nazi Rinaldo Nazzaro running US militant group The Base from Russia.” BBC News. January 24, 2020. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-51236915

[11] Wallace, Benjamin. “The Prep School Nazi.” New York Magazine. March 30, 2020. https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/rinaldo-nazzaro-the-base-norman-...

[12] Wallace, Benjamin. “The Prep School Nazi.” New York Magazine. March 30, 2020. https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/rinaldo-nazzaro-the-base-norman-...

[13] De Simone, Daniel and Ali Winston. “Neo-Nazi militant group grooms teenagers.” BBC News. June 22, 2020. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-53128169

[14] Makuch, Ben and Mack Lamoureux. “Neo-Nazi Terror Leader Said to Have Worked with U.S. Special Forces.” VICE News. September 24, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/k7qdzv/neo-nazi-terror-leader-said-to...

[15] De Simone, Daniel, Andrei Soshnikov, and Ali Winston. “Neo-Nazi Rinaldo Nazzaro running US militant group The Base from Russia.” BBC News. January 24, 2020. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-51236915

[16] De Simone, Daniel, Andrei Soshnikov, and Ali Winston. “Neo-Nazi Rinaldo Nazzaro running US militant group The Base from Russia.” BBC News. January 24, 2020. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-51236915

[17] Wilson, Jason. “Revealed: the true identity of the leader of an American neo-Nazi terror group.” The Guardian. January 23, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/23/revealed-the-true-identity...

[18] Wilson, Jason. “Revealed: the true identity of the leader of an American neo-Nazi terror group.” The Guardian. January 23, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/23/revealed-the-true-identity...

[19] Wilson, Jason. “Revealed: the true identity of the leader of an American neo-Nazi terror group.” The Guardian. January 23, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/23/revealed-the-true-identity...

[20] Lamoureux, Mack, Ben Makuch, and Zachary Kamel. “How One Man Built a Neo-Nazi Insurgency in Trump's America.” VICE News. October 7, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article/v7g9kb/how-one-man-built-a-neo-nazi-insu...

[21] Makuch, Ben and Mack Lamoureux. “Neo-Nazi Terror Leader on Russian TV: ‘I'm a Family Man.’” VICE News. November 5, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article/xgzxzq/rinaldo-nazzaro-neo-nazi-terror-l...

[22] Lamoureux, Mack and Ben Makuch. “Canada Designates Proud Boys, Atomwaffen, and The Base as Terror Organizations.” VICE News. February 3, 2021. https://www.vice.com/en/article/z3vkxy/canada-designates-proud-boys-atom...

[23] Weill, Kelly and Spencer Ackerman. “Neo-Nazis Who Targeted Podcaster and Terrorized Random Family Busted in MI: Cops.” The Daily Beast. October 29, 2020. https://www.thedailybeast.com/white-supremacist-group-the-base-members-b...

[24] Weill, Kelly and Spencer Ackerman. “Neo-Nazis Who Targeted Podcaster and Terrorized Random Family Busted in MI: Cops.” The Daily Beast. October 29, 2020. https://www.thedailybeast.com/white-supremacist-group-the-base-members-b...

[25] Weill, Kelly and Spencer Ackerman. “Neo-Nazis Who Targeted Podcaster and Terrorized Random Family Busted in MI: Cops.” The Daily Beast. October 29, 2020. https://www.thedailybeast.com/white-supremacist-group-the-base-members-b...

[26] Bogel-Burroughs, Nicholas. “F.B.I. Arrests Michigan Men Tied to White Supremacist Group.” The New York Times. October 29, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/29/us/fbi-arrests-the-base-michigan.html

[27] Snell, Robert and Beth LeBlanc. “FBI arrests white supremacy leader in extremism crackdown in Michigan.” The Detroit News. October 29, 2020. https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news
/local/michigan/2020/10/29/fbi-arrests-accused-neo-nazis-michigan-crackdown-extremism/6067038002/

[28] Lamoureux, Mack. “FBI Arrests Members of Neo-Nazi Cell Whose Plot to Murder Antifa Couple Was Foiled by a Bad Back.” VICE News. January 17, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/akwvpj/fbi-arrests-members-of-neo-naz...

[29] Hawkins, Derek and Hannah Knowles. “Alleged members of white supremacy group ‘the Base’ charged with plotting to kill antifa couple.” January 18, 2020. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2020/01/18/the-base-whi...

[30] Bailey, John. “Update: Affidavit links former Canadian army extremist to local white nationalist group, target of murder plot was Bartow County couple.” Rome News-Tribune. January 17, 2020. https://www.northwestgeorgianews.com/rome/news/local/update-affidavit-li...

[31] Williams, Timothy, Adam Goldman, and Neil MacFarquhar. “Virginia Capital on Edge as F.B.I. Arrests Suspected Neo-Nazis Before Gun Rally.” The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/16/us/fbi-arrest-virginia-gun-rally.html

[32] Williams, Timothy, Adam Goldman, and Neil MacFarquhar. “Virginia Capital on Edge as F.B.I. Arrests Suspected Neo-Nazis Before Gun Rally.” The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/16/us/fbi-arrest-virginia-gun-rally.html

[33] Makuch, Ben, Mack Lamoureux, and Zachary Kamel. “Neo-Nazi Terror Group Harbouring Missing Ex-Soldier: Sources.” VICE News. December 5, 2019. https://www.vice.com/en/article/8xwwaa/neo-nazi-terror-group-harbouring-...

[34] “The Base.” Southern Poverty Law Center. 2020. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/base

[35] Makuch, Ben, Mack Lamoureux, and Zachary Kamel. “Neo-Nazi Terror Group Harbouring Missing Ex-Soldier: Sources.” VICE News. December 5, 2019. https://www.vice.com/en/article/8xwwaa/neo-nazi-terror-group-harbouring-...

Name Changes

There are no recorded name changes for this group.

The phrase “The Base” is an English translation of “Al Qaeda,” a fact that has fueled speculation that the neo-Nazi Base may have taken inspiration from the jihadist organization formerly led by Osama bin Laden. Though Nazzaro has posted tweets in admiration of Al Qaeda, he also confirmed that his organization does not cooperate with groups that have different ideologies. The Base claimed that its name is a reference to “a base camp in the sense of mountaineering,” not Al Qaeda.[1] This explanation fits with the Base’s pattern of characterizing itself as a survivalist and self-defense organization.


[1] “The Base.” Anti-Defamation League. 2020. https://www.adl.org/resources/backgrounders/the-base

Size Estimates

 

  • VICE News: “nearly” 50 members (late 2019) [1]
  • Counter Extremism Project: 45 members (2020)[2]

 

These size estimates count members of the Base’s internet forum. It is unclear how many of those individuals participate in the group’s activities offline. The New York Times in January 2020 estimated that the Base boasts “dozens of hard-core members.”[3]


[1] Lamoureux, Mack, Ben Makuch, and Zachary Kamel. “How One Man Built a Neo-Nazi Insurgency in Trump's America.” VICE News. October 7, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article/v7g9kb/how-one-man-built-a-neo-nazi-insu...

[2] “The Base.” Counter Extremism Project. 2020. https://www.counterextremism.com/supremacy/base

[3] MacFarquhar, Neil and Adam Goldman. “A New Face of White Supremacy: Plots Expose Danger of the ‘Base.’” The New York Times. January 22, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/22/us/white-supremacy-the-base.html

Resources

The Base seeks to recruit members with experience in science, engineering, and the military. Specifically, recruitment efforts place a premium on knowledge of firearms and explosives.[1] At least one member of the group, Patrik J. Mathews, is known to have been a combat engineer in the Canadian Army Reserve. Another member, Brian M. Lemley Jr, was a U.S. Army cavalry scout.[2] Mathews reportedly leveraged his skills gained in military service as an instructor in the Base’s paramilitary training program.[3] In secret recordings of meetings between Nazzaro and prospective Base members, 20 percent of the potential recruits claimed to have military experience.[4]


[1] “The Base.” Southern Poverty Law Center. 2020. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/base

[2] MacFarquhar, Neil and Adam Goldman. “A New Face of White Supremacy: Plots Expose Danger of the ‘Base.’” The New York Times. January 22, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/22/us/white-supremacy-the-base.html

[3] Makuch, Ben, Mack Lamoureux, and Zachary Kamel. “Neo-Nazi Terror Group Harbouring Missing Ex-Soldier: Sources.” VICE News. December 5, 2019. https://www.vice.com/en/article/8xwwaa/neo-nazi-terror-group-harbouring-...

[4] Springer, Samantha. “Secret tapes show neo-Nazi group The Base recruiting former members of the military.” NBC News. October 15, 2020. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/secret-tapes-show-neo-nazi-group-ba...

Geographic Locations

Disclaimer: This is a partial list of where the militant organization has bases and where it operates. This does not include information on where the group conducts major attacks or has external influences.

The Base is organized as a network of covert cells. The group claims to operate cells across the United States, including Connecticut, Georgia, Los Angeles, Massachusetts, Michigan, Milwaukee, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Minnesota. Additionally, the Base also claims to manage cells abroad, including Australia, Canada and South Africa – though most of its activities have occurred domestically.[1] In October 2020, Dutch police arrested two men accused of affiliation with the Base, suggesting that the group maintains a presence in the Netherlands as well.[2] Nazzaro, the group’s founder and leader, has allegedly lived in St. Petersburg, Russia since 2018.[3] Nazzaro also owns land in Ferry County, Washington, in the United States.[4]


[1] “The Base.” Anti-Defamation League. 2020. https://www.adl.org/resources/backgrounders/the-base

[2] Rosman, Cyril. “Jonge rechts-extremisten opgepakt vanwege terreurverdenking, zijn lid van beruchte neo-nazigroep.” AD.nl. October 30, 2020. https://www.ad.nl/binnenland/jonge-rechts-extremisten-opgepakt-vanwege-t...

[3] Wilson, Jason. “Revealed: the true identity of the leader of an American neo-Nazi terror group.” The Guardian. January 23, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/23/revealed-the-true-identity.... De Simone, Daniel, Andrei Soshnikov, and Ali Winston. “Neo-Nazi Rinaldo Nazzaro running US militant group The Base from Russia.” BBC News. January 24, 2020. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-51236915. Wallace, Benjamin. “The Prep School Nazi.” New York Magazine. March 30, 2020. https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/rinaldo-nazzaro-the-base-norman-...

[4] Wilson, Jason. “Revealed: the true identity of the leader of an American neo-Nazi terror group.” The Guardian. January 23, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/23/revealed-the-true-identity...

Strategy

Ideology, Aims, Political Activities, Targets and Tactics

    Ideology and Goals
  • Ideology and Goals
  • Political Activities
  • Targets and Tactics

Ideology and Goals

The Base prepares for the collapse of present-day society, to be replaced by a whites-only ethno-state in North America.[1] Like other white supremacist organizations, the Base adheres to anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that the U.S. government and Western society are secretly beholden to Jewish leaders.[2] The Base organizes itself into small armed cells, most spread across the United States, to promote its worldview through acts of violence.[3] In online discussions, members of the group have referred to the overthrow of the U.S. political system and ensuing race war as the “boogaloo.”[4] Some Base militants are content to merely prepare for an inevitable collapse of U.S. society, while others seek to bring it about themselves through terrorism.[5] Despite the Base’s use of the term “boogaloo,” there is no direct evidence to suggest an operational relationship between the Base and the loose movement of far-right extremists known as the “boogaloo bois.” Members of the Base and the boogaloo movement share some ideological goals, however, such as their anticipation of a new civil war in the United States, which each refer to as the boogaloo.

The Base fears that declining birthrates and increasing immigration from the Global South will diminish the U.S. white population. To preserve white dominance, Base leader Rinaldo Nazzaro has advocated separatism through the use of violence.[6] In particular, he aspires to the creation of a white homeland after the fall of the current political system. The Base eschews electoral politics and preaches guerilla warfare against the U.S. government.[7]

The Base draws on the tenets of James Mason’s SIEGE, a collection of white supremacist texts written in the 1980s that advocate triggering a race war for the protection of the interests of white people. The Base likely connected with Mason’s work via the Atomwaffen Division, another accelerationist U.S. neo-Nazi group that popularized SIEGE among the U.S. far right beginning in 2016 and 2017. In January 2020, three Base fighters plotted to attend a gun rights rally in Richmond, Virginia and spark a wave of violence in an effort to bring the U.S. economy to a halt.[8] The men were arrested by the FBI before carrying out this plan.[9]

The Base’s ideology is virulently anti-Semitic. The group idolizes Adolf Hitler and considers itself a successor to the German Nazi Party, pledging in a June 2018 tweet to “finish what [Hitler] started” and “carry the torch.”[10] In tweets, Nazzaro espoused conspiracy theories about Jewish control of U.S. society and pledged to free “our people from Z0G [sic] oppression.”[11] “Z0G” is a reference to “Zionist-occupied government,” a common white supremacist charge. Black Americans are also a common target of the Base’s vitriol; the Base’s internal online messages frequently threaten violence against Jews and Black people alike.

The Base’s objective of establishing a white ethno-state in the Pacific Northwest has deep roots in the history of U.S. right-wing extremism. The Northwest Front and the Aryan Nations, two white supremacist groups based in the western United States, inspired this campaign. U.S. neo-Nazi Harold Covington advocated the “Northwest Imperative” (also known as the “Northwest Territorial Imperative”), the idea that white Americans should build a new homeland in the Pacific Northwest and form clandestine cells to commit terrorist attacks against the United States.[12] To promote his philosophy, Covington founded the Northwest Front, a group that counted Base founder Rinaldo Nazzaro as a member.[13] He has cited Covington and the Northwest Front as inspiration for the Base on multiple occasions.[14]

The Base can be considered an ideological successor to the Aryan Nations (AN). AN was a far-right Christian Identity group with neo-Nazi affiliations based in Idaho, and it led the U.S. white supremacist movement in the 1970s and 1980s. Nazzaro has indicated an interest in the Butler Plan, the name for AN founder Richard Butler’s project to build a white ethno-state in the Pacific Northwest.[15] The Base’s logo may incorporate a rune commonly associated with the Nazis and also used by AN. As its logo, the Base uses a row of three runes, which appear to be symbols known as wolfsangels. The group has spray-painted it onto buildings.[16] An ancient German symbol, the wolfsangel was appropriated by units of the Nazi SS and later formed part of AN’s logo.[17] Other sources argue that the Base’s logo comprises three Eihwaz symbols, a sign adopted by the German Nazi Party to commemorate members killed in the beer hall uprising of 1923.[18]

In the spirit of the Northwest Front and AN, Nazzaro has taken steps to realize the group’s territorial ambitions. As early as April 2018, before founding the Base, he tweeted drone footage of a town in rural Ferry County, in northern Washington, with the message, “Terrain analysis, an integral part of the intelligence preparation of the battlefield.”[19] In December 2018, under the company “Base Global, LLC,” he purchased 30 acres of undeveloped land in Ferry County.[20] It appears that Nazzaro has not visited the property. Despite rumors of a planned training camp there, no evidence indicates that the Base has used the land for anything.[21]

At least some members of the Base adhere to Satanic beliefs. Satanism is popular among neo-Nazi groups, such as the Order of Nine Angles, the Atomwaffen Division (AWD), and some Atomwaffen Division affiliates. The Base is known to share members with AWD. Satanism does not appear to feature as prominently in the Base’s public output, which largely focuses on neo-Nazi themes, threats of societal collapse, and anti-Semitic hate speech. A testimonial written by an anonymous member reveals that a Georgia cell participated in an occult ritual involving the sacrifice of a stolen ram during a training weekend in October 2019.[22] In the group’s internal chats, members of the Base have discussed Satanic and pagan topics.[23]

A now-defunct affiliate of the Base, the Green Brigade, promoted an eco-fascist ideology. See the “Relationships with Other Groups” section of this profile for more information.


[1] “The Base.” Southern Poverty Law Center. 2020. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/base

[2] Makuch, Ben and Mack Lamoureux. “Neo-Nazis Are Organizing Secretive Paramilitary Training Across America.” VICE News. November 20, 2018. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/a3mexp/neo-nazis-are-organizing-secre...

[3] Makuch, Ben and Mack Lamoureux. “Neo-Nazi Memoir Describes Terror Group’s Acid-Soaked Ram Sacrifice.” VICE News. June 24, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/z3e3ew/neo-nazi-memoir-describes-terr...

[4] Hawkins, Derek and Hannah Knowles. “Alleged members of white supremacy group ‘the Base’ charged with plotting to kill antifa couple.” January 18, 2020. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2020/01/18/the-base-whi...

[5] Makuch, Ben and Mack Lamoureux. “Neo-Nazi Memoir Describes Terror Group’s Acid-Soaked Ram Sacrifice.” VICE News. June 24, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/z3e3ew/neo-nazi-memoir-describes-terr...

[6] “The Base.” Southern Poverty Law Center. 2020. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/base

[7] “The Base.” Southern Poverty Law Center. 2020. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/base

[8] Hellgren, Mike. “Judge: Canadian Man Tied To Extremist Group Is ‘Very Dangerous.’” CBS Baltimore. January 22, 2020. https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2020/01/22/alleged-white-supremacists-bri...

[9] Williams, Timothy, Adam Goldman, and Neil MacFarquhar. “Virginia Capital on Edge as F.B.I. Arrests Suspected Neo-Nazis Before Gun Rally.” The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/16/us/fbi-arrest-virginia-gun-rally.html

[10] “The Base.” Anti-Defamation League. 2020. https://www.adl.org/resources/backgrounders/the-base

[11] “The Base.” Anti-Defamation League. 2020. https://www.adl.org/resources/backgrounders/the-base

[12] “The Base.” Southern Poverty Law Center. 2020. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/base

[13] Wilson, Jason. “Revealed: the true identity of the leader of an American neo-Nazi terror group.” The Guardian. January 23, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/23/revealed-the-true-identity...

[14] “The Base.” Southern Poverty Law Center. 2020. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/base. “The Base.” Anti-Defamation League. 2020. https://www.adl.org/resources/backgrounders/the-base

[15] “The Base.” Southern Poverty Law Center. 2020. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/base

[16] Lamoureux, Mack and Ben Makuch. “Man Arrested for Synagogue Vandalism Was Active in Two Militant Neo-Nazi Groups.” VICE News. November 20, 2019. https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/
pa75jk/man-arrested-for-synagogue-vandalism-was-active-in-two-militant-neo-nazi-groups

[17] “Wolfsangel.” Anti-Defamation League. 2020. https://www.adl.org/education/references/hate-symbols/wolfsangel

[18] “The Base.” Counter Extremism Project. 2020. https://www.counterextremism.com/supremacy/base

[19] Wallace, Benjamin. “The Prep School Nazi.” New York Magazine. March 30, 2020. https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/rinaldo-nazzaro-the-base-norman-...

[20] Wilson, Jason. “Revealed: the true identity of the leader of an American neo-Nazi terror group.” The Guardian. January 23, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/23/revealed-the-true-identity...

[21] Wallace, Benjamin. “The Prep School Nazi.” New York Magazine. March 30, 2020. https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/rinaldo-nazzaro-the-base-norman-.... Carroll, Megan. “Investigation reveals that leader of neo-Nazi group 'The Base' owns land in Ferry County.” KREM. January 24, 2020. https://www.krem.com/article/news/local/the-base-leaders-owns-land-in-wa...

[22] Makuch, Ben and Mack Lamoureux. “Neo-Nazi Memoir Describes Terror Group’s Acid-Soaked Ram Sacrifice.” VICE News. June 24, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/z3e3ew/neo-nazi-memoir-describes-terr...

[23] Makuch, Ben and Mack Lamoureux. “Neo-Nazi Memoir Describes Terror Group’s Acid-Soaked Ram Sacrifice.” VICE News. June 24, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/z3e3ew/neo-nazi-memoir-describes-terr...

Political Activities

The Base rejects political participation and favors the use of violence to promote white supremacy. In September 2018, Nazzaro posted a tweet under his “Norman Spear” pseudonym stating that, “…if you want a *White* society, electoral politics can’t achieve that unless the current System of government is replaced. The current System can’t be replaced peacefully.”[1]


[1] “The Base.” Anti-Defamation League. 2020. https://www.adl.org/resources/backgrounders/the-base

Targets and Tactics

The Base’s ideology emphasizes anti-Semitic beliefs, and members of the group have frequently targeted Jews in propaganda and attacks. For example, a June 2019 video released by the group on the encrypted message app Telegram depicts a Base fighter firing a gun at a target featuring the Star of David.[1] In the Base’s most well-known successful operation, members of the group vandalized synagogues in Wisconsin and Michigan with Nazi imagery and the Base’s logo.[2] The campaign’s organizer, Richard Tobin, dubbed his effort “Operation Kristallnacht,” a reference to the night of violence and property destruction targeting Jews in Nazi Germany in 1938.[3] Tobin has also expressed animus towards African Americans and LGBT people. He once plotted to murder Black shoppers at a New Jersey mall with a machete, though he did not follow through with the attack.[4]

The Base also targets anti-fascist (commonly known as “antifa”) activists. In January 2020, the FBI arrested three Base members in Georgia for conspiring to murder a couple that served as leaders in the local antifa movement.[5] The plot was allegedly in retaliation for the intended victims’ having exposed the identities of white supremacists on the internet.[6] The intended victims were members of a group called Atlanta Antifascists and had no relation to the Base.[7] The Georgia Base cell plotted to shoot the activists and then burn down their house.[8]

Members of the Base have expressed an intention to target U.S. critical infrastructure, including railroads and water supplies.[9] The Base has also threatened to attack the power grid, as suggested by an online post featuring a Base fighter posing in front of an electric transformer while holding neo-Nazi literature.[10]

The Base has organized mostly online through encrypted messaging services such as Riot, Wire, and Gab, where members swap materials on guerilla warfare tactics and white supremacist ideological texts.[11] The Base has also enlisted members through iFunny, a platform for creating and sharing Internet memes that is popular among young users.[12] The group’s recruiters target teenagers and young adults for radicalization and vet prospective members’ personal background, ideological fealty, and weapons skills in encrypted conference calls.[13] The official membership age is 18, though the group is known to have admitted teenagers as young as 17.[14] Most members appear to be in their late teens or early 20s.[15] Offline, the Base has distributed posters in public places, often universities, to attract new members; the group’s literature has been found in Newark, Milwaukee, Princeton, Seattle, and Winnipeg.[16]

The Base prioritizes training in paramilitary and survival skills for its members. According to an analyst with the U.S.-based Counter Extremism Project, the Base focuses on developing proficiency in tactics necessary for terrorism and guerilla warfare, including ambushes, weapons skills, and exlosives.[17] The group hosts an online library of digital books and PDFs pertaining to terrorist tactics, gunsmithing, interrogation, counter-surveillance, bomb-making, ethnic cleansing, and neo-Nazi themes.[18]

The Base holds regular paramilitary training sessions known as “hate camps.” The events bring together online members for instruction in perpetrating violent acts.[19] The concept was pioneered by the Atomwaffen Division (AWD), a high-profile accelerationist white supremacist militant organization based in the United States.[20] As described in the “relationships with other groups” section of this profile, AWD reportedly enjoys close ties with the Base. Hate camps have occurred on a regular basis in locations across the United States. For example, the group held a session in northern Wisconsin in July 2019.[21] In October, Base militants congregated in Rome, Georgia, a town northwest of Atlanta, for training in tactical and firearms skills.[22] Patrik Mathews, a former Canadian soldier with experience in weapons and explosives from his military service, allegedly served as an instructor.[23] Nazzaro has described the training camps as a key goal of the Base. In 2018, Nazzaro spoke of the group’s commitment to training members on a podcast: ““[The Base] is focused on meeting and training… We want to build a cadre of trainers across the country.”[24] Nazzaro is known to have personally led at least one camp, which was held in rural Pennsylvania in August 2019.[25]


[1] “The Base.” Anti-Defamation League. 2020. https://www.adl.org/resources/backgrounders/the-base

[2] Lamoureux, Mack and Ben Makuch. “Man Arrested for Synagogue Vandalism Was Active in Two Militant Neo-Nazi Groups.” VICE News. November 20, 2019. https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/
pa75jk/man-arrested-for-synagogue-vandalism-was-active-in-two-militant-neo-nazi-groups.

[3] MacFarquhar, Neil and Adam Goldman. “A New Face of White Supremacy: Plots Expose Danger of the ‘Base.’” The New York Times. January 22, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/22/us/white-supremacy-the-base.html.

[4] Roebuck, Jeremy. “South Jersey man accused in synagogue vandalisms, revealing dark network of neo-Nazi organizing online.” The Philadelphia Inquirer. November 15, 2019. https://www.inquirer.com/news
/richard-tobin-synagogue-vandalism-the-base-white-supremacist-racine-wisconsin-hancock-michigan-20191115.html

[5] Hawkins, Derek and Hannah Knowles. “Alleged members of white supremacy group ‘the Base’ charged with plotting to kill antifa couple.” January 18, 2020. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2020/01/18/the-base-whi...

[6] Lamoureux, Mack. “FBI Arrests Members of Neo-Nazi Cell Whose Plot to Murder Antifa Couple Was Foiled by a Bad Back.” VICE News. January 17, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/akwvpj/fbi-arrests-members-of-neo-naz...

[7] Bailey, John. “Update: Affidavit links former Canadian army extremist to local white nationalist group, target of murder plot was Bartow County couple.” Rome News-Tribune. January 17, 2020. https://www.northwestgeorgianews.com/rome/news/local/update-affidavit-li...

[8] Lamoureux, Mack. “FBI Arrests Members of Neo-Nazi Cell Whose Plot to Murder Antifa Couple Was Foiled by a Bad Back.” VICE News. January 17, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/akwvpj/fbi-arrests-members-of-neo-naz...

[9] MacFarquhar, Neil and Adam Goldman. “A New Face of White Supremacy: Plots Expose Danger of the ‘Base.’” The New York Times. January 22, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/22/us/white-supremacy-the-base.html

[10] Lamoureux, Mack and Ben Makuch. “Militant Neo-Nazi Group Actively Recruiting Ahead of Alleged Training Camp.” VICE News. August 16, 2019. https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/bjwx55/militant-neo-nazi-group-active...

[11] “The Base.” Southern Poverty Law Center. 2020. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/base

[12] Lamoureux, Mack and Zachary Kamel. “Neo-Nazi Terror Groups Are Using iFunny to Recruit.” VICE News. November 14, 2019. https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/vb5kx3/neo-nazi-terror-groups-are-usi...

[13] De Simone, Daniel and Ali Winston. “Neo-Nazi militant group grooms teenagers.” BBC News. June 22, 2020. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-53128169

[14] Wilson, Jason. “Prepping for a race war: documents reveal inner workings of neo-Nazi group.” The Guardian. January 25, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/25/inside-the-base-neo-nazi-t...

[15] Wilson, Jason. “Prepping for a race war: documents reveal inner workings of neo-Nazi group.” The Guardian. January 25, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/25/inside-the-base-neo-nazi-t...

[16] Lamoureux, Mack and Ben Makuch. “Militant Neo-Nazi Group Actively Recruiting Ahead of Alleged Training Camp.” VICE News. August 16, 2019. https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/bjwx55/militant-neo-nazi-group-active...

[17] Lamoureux, Mack and Ben Makuch. “Militant Neo-Nazi Group Actively Recruiting Ahead of Alleged Training Camp.” VICE News. August 16, 2019. https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/bjwx55/militant-neo-nazi-group-active...

[18] Lamoureux, Mack and Ben Makuch. “Militant Neo-Nazi Group Actively Recruiting Ahead of Alleged Training Camp.” VICE News. August 16, 2019. https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/bjwx55/militant-neo-nazi-group-active...

[19] “The Base.” Anti-Defamation League. 2020. https://www.adl.org/resources/backgrounders/the-base

[20] Lamoureux, Mack and Ben Makuch. “Militant Neo-Nazi Group Actively Recruiting Ahead of Alleged Training Camp.” VICE News. August 16, 2019. https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/bjwx55/militant-neo-nazi-group-active...

[21] Luthern, Ashley and Bruce Vielmetti. “Oak Creek man, alleged member of neo-Nazi group 'The Base,' charged with vandalizing Racine synagogue.” Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. January 17, 2020. https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/crime/2020/01/17/alleged-member-neo-...

[22] Makuch, Ben and Mack Lamoureux. “Neo-Nazi Memoir Describes Terror Group’s Acid-Soaked Ram Sacrifice.” VICE News. June 24, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/z3e3ew/neo-nazi-memoir-describes-terr...

[23] Makuch, Ben, Mack Lamoureux, and Zachary Kamel. “Neo-Nazi Terror Group Harbouring Missing Ex-Soldier: Sources.” VICE News. December 5, 2019. https://www.vice.com/en/article/8xwwaa/neo-nazi-terror-group-harbouring-...

[24] Makuch, Ben and Mack Lamoureux. “Neo-Nazis Are Organizing Secretive Paramilitary Training Across America.” VICE News. November 20, 2018. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/a3mexp/neo-nazis-are-organizing-secre...

[25] Lamoureux, Mack, Ben Makuch, and Zachary Kamel. “How One Man Built a Neo-Nazi Insurgency in Trump's America.” VICE News. October 7, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article/v7g9kb/how-one-man-built-a-neo-nazi-insu...

cardinal red photo

Major Attacks

Disclaimer: These are some selected major attacks in the militant organization's history. It is not a comprehensive listing but captures some of the most famous attacks or turning points during the campaign.

The Base has not successfully carried out any violent attacks in the United States, but the group is committed to using violence to achieve its objectives. Plots by group members to murder or harm targeted individuals have been foiled by law enforcement on multiple occasions. For example, the FBI arrested three Base members who were planning to murder a Georgia couple associated with the antifascist movement and burn down their house.[1]  Additionally, the group has publicly made threats to carry out violence. [2]

In addition, group members have successfully committed acts of vandalism. The group’s most well-known operation was a multi-day campaign to deface synagogues in Wisconsin and Michigan.

September 21-22, 2019: Base member Richard Tobin, an 18-year-old based in New Jersey, organized a campaign of vandalism against Midwestern synagogues. Members of the Base’s “Great Lakes cell” defaced synagogues in Racine, Wisconsin and Hancock, Michigan with swastikas, anti-Semitic language, and the group’s logo.[3]

October 30, 2019: Two young Swedish men with ties to the Base and the Green Brigade, a Base-affiliated eco-fascist group, burned down several buildings on a mink farm in rural Sweden in what authorities describe as arson (no casualties).[4]


[1] Lamoureux, Mack. “FBI Arrests Members of Neo-Nazi Cell Whose Plot to Murder Antifa Couple Was Foiled by a Bad Back.” VICE News. January 17, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/akwvpj/fbi-arrests-members-of-neo-naz...

[2] Weill, Kelly and Spencer Ackerman. “Neo-Nazis Who Targeted Podcaster and Terrorized Random Family Busted in MI: Cops.” The Daily Beast. October 29, 2020. https://www.thedailybeast.com/white-supremacist-group-the-base-members-b.... Snell, Robert and Beth LeBlanc. “FBI arrests white supremacy leader in extremism crackdown in Michigan.” The Detroit News. October 29, 2020. https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2020/10/29/fbi-arr...

[3] Lamoureux, Mack and Ben Makuch. “Man Arrested for Synagogue Vandalism Was Active in Two Militant Neo-Nazi Groups.” VICE News. November 20, 2019. https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/
pa75jk/man-arrested-for-synagogue-vandalism-was-active-in-two-militant-neo-nazi-groups. MacFarquhar, Neil and Adam Goldman. “A New Face of White Supremacy: Plots Expose Danger of the ‘Base.’” The New York Times. January 22, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/22/us/white-supremacy-the-base.html. Bandler, Aaron. “Anti-Semitic Graffiti Found on Wisconsin Synagogue.” Jewish Journal. September 25, 2019. https://jewishjournal.com/news/united-states/305037/anti-semitic-graffit.... Lofton, Justine. “Vandals paint Nazi swastikas on Northern Michigan synagogue.” Michiganlive.com. September 23, 2019. https://www.mlive.com/news/2019/09/vandals-paint-nazi-swastikas-on-north...

[4] Kamel, Zachary, Mack Lamoureux, and Ben Makuch. “'Eco-fascist' Arm of Neo-Nazi Terror Group, The Base, Linked to Swedish Arson.” VICE News. January 29, 2020. https://www.vice.com
/en/article/qjdvzx/eco-fascist-arm-of-neo-nazi-terror-group-the-base-linked-to-swedish-arson. Lamoureux, Mack, Ben Makuch, and Zachary Kamel. “Alleged Eco-Terrorists Discussed Abortion Clinic Bombing, Assassinating Judge: Court Documents.” VICE News. December 14, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article
/g5bjqm/alleged-eco-terrorists-discussed-abortion-clinic-bombing-assassinating-judge-court-documents

Interactions

Foreign Designations and Listings, Community Relations, Relations with Other Groups, State Sponsors and External Influences

    Designated/Listed
  • Designated/Listed
  • Community Relations
  • Relationships with Other Groups
  • State Sponsors and External Influences

Designated/Listed

The Canadian Department of Public Safety designated the Base as a terrorist entity in February 2021.[1] There are no other designations or listings for this group.


[1] “Government of Canada lists 13 new groups as terrorist entities and completes review of seven others.” Government of Canada. February 3, 2021. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-safety-canada/news/2021/02/government-of...

Community Relations

The Base largely eschews appeals to the community. Instead, the group operates covertly and focuses on recruiting small numbers of fighters to join its cells or commit lone wolf-style attacks on their own.[1] On a far-right podcast in 2018, Nazarro stated that “we don’t need to convert or transform every weak-willed white person into a great Aryan warrior in order for us to win […] We just need to unite the best of us who are willing to fight to do what’s necessary.”[2]


[1] “The Base.” Southern Poverty Law Center. 2020. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/base

[2] Makuch, Ben and Mack Lamoureux. “Neo-Nazis Are Organizing Secretive Paramilitary Training Across America.” VICE News. November 20, 2018. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/a3mexp/neo-nazis-are-organizing-secre...

Relationships with Other Groups

Atomwaffen Division

The Base has cultivated close ties with the Atomwaffen Division (AWD, known as the National Socialist Order or NSO after July 2020), an accelerationist neo-Nazi white supremacist organization active in the United States. Like the Base, AWD/NSO promotes an anti-Semitic accelerationist ideology and aims to trigger the collapse of society in order to protect the white race.[1] The Base has taken ideological cues from AWD. For example, the Base began valorizing James Mason’s ideological text SIEGE, written in the 1980s, after AWD introduced it to the contemporary generation of white supremacists.[2] The Base has also modeled its propaganda and graphics after AWD’s output.[3] Similar to AWD, at least some members of the Base adhere to Satanic beliefs.[4]

In August 2019, AWD posted an image on one of its Telegram channels with the caption: “Let this post commemorate a known partnership and cooperation between Atomwaffen and the Base.”[5] According to the Soufan Center, AWD coordinates with the Base in participating in rallies and planning acts of violence.[6] Additionally, the membership of the two groups overlaps.[7] For example, Cameron Shea is accused by federal authorities of serving as a recruiter for both AWD and the Base.[8] In another high-profile example, Richard Tobin, a member of both organizations, developed propaganda and fundraised for AWD while also coordinating a vandalism campaign against synagogues in Michigan and Wisconsin for the Base in 2019.[9] Tobin reportedly acted as a middleman and worked to increase people-to-people contacts between the two groups.[10]

Green Brigade

The Green Brigade was an eco-fascist affiliate of the Base with international membership that became defunct after the wave of FBI arrests of U.S. members of the Base in early 2020. At the intersection of environmentalism and white supremacy, eco-fascism is a far-right ideology that blames environmental degradation on overpopulation, multiculturalism, and immigration. Many eco-fascists promote population control (including eugenics) and forced deportations in order to preserve the purity of the Earth for white people.[11]

The Green Brigade became an affiliate of the Base after previously operating as an independent militant organization.[12] The group was established in 2019 and was aligned with the Base by October of that year.[13] The Green Brigade’s founder(s) and leadership are unclear. The group began on Discord, an encrypted internet messaging platform, and was open to eco-terrorists of all ideologies, including socialists, anarchists, and fascists, according to a former member interviewed by Vice News.[14] Most members were from the United States but some were international.[15] As more neo-Nazis increasingly joined the Green Brigade, the group’s leadership decided to align with the Base ideologically and hoped to partner with the Base in recruiting.[16] The Green Brigade’s pivot to neo-Nazism reportedly led many of its original members to leave the group.[17]

On October 30, 2019, Alexander Holmberg and Zeke Blomquist, Swedish members of both the Base and the Green Brigade, burned down several buildings on a mink farm in rural Sweden.[18] The Green Brigade claimed responsibility for the arson in a video posted on iFunny, a meme-sharing website frequently used by right-wing extremists.[19] The Green Brigade has no other known attacks. The group went defunct following U.S. law enforcement’s crackdown on the Base in early 2020.[20]

Northwest Front

The Northwest Front preceded the Base and inspired its ideology. U.S. neo-Nazi Harold Covington founded the group in 2009. The Northwest Front seeks to bring about the destruction of the U.S. government and establish an independent state for white supremacists in the Pacific Northwest.[21] Accurate size estimates for this group are not readily available.[22] In the early 1970s, Covington joined the U.S. Army and later lived in South Africa and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) when both countries were governed by racist white-rule regimes.[23] After Covington’s death in 2018, the Southern Poverty Law Center assessed that the group was likely to become defunct.[24] As of 2019, the group maintains a presence on the internet but is thought to have few followers.[25]

Prior to founding the Base, Rinaldo Nazzaro was a member of the Northwest Front. In a December 2017 far-right podcast, Nazzaro (under the pseudonym “Norman Spear”) was identified as an activist with the Northwest Front and discussed on air the group’s plan to establish a whites-only ethno-state.[26] In an investigation by the Guardian in early 2020, sources linked to the Northwest Front confirmed Nazzaro’s involvement with the group.[27] Nazzaro has credited the Northwest Front as crucial in his development as a leader of the U.S. white supremacist movement. Nazzaro said of his time with the Northwest Front: “a lightbulb just went on. Hey, this is it. And once that happened it’s like no turning back.”[28] Nazzaro again cited Covington’s influence in September 2018 on a far-right podcast.[29]

Proud Boys

The Base and Proud Boys are ideological rivals. Proud Boys members describe themselves as “Western chauvinists” and are known for white supremacist, misogynistic, and anti-Muslim rhetoric.[30] The Proud Boys resist the neo-Nazi label and its connotations, however, and prefer to portray themselves as less extreme.[31] In contrast, the Base is a self-avowed neo-Nazi organization. The Base’s militants reportedly view the Proud Boys as ideologically weak and insufficiently committed to the white supremacist cause.[32] Attracted by the Base’s overt anti-Semitism, Jason Lee Van Dyke, a Texas lawyer who briefly led Proud Boys in 2018, attempted to join the Base in 2019.[33] The Base’s leaders, considering Van Dyke a “huge liability” and unable to be trusted, rejected him.

Four members of the Base are known to have affiliated with Proud Boys prior to joining the Base, including Yousef O. Barasneh, the militant who has been charged with vandalizing a Wisconsin synagogue in September 2019.[34] Dissatisfied with Proud Boys’ style of activism, they reportedly considered the Proud Boys organization insufficiently ideologically extreme and treated the organization as a gateway into the far right.[35] For the Base, Proud Boys did not go far enough in committing to Nazism and anti-Semitism. To some extent, the Base defines its ideology in relation to that of Proud Boys. The rivalry between the Base and Proud Boys is an ideological one, as members of the Base look down on Proud Boys for the group’s traditional unwillingness to unequivocally commit to far-right beliefs, neo-Nazism, and white supremacy. There is no evidence that the groups have physically clashed with each other.


[1] “The Base.” Anti-Defamation League. 2020. https://www.adl.org/resources/backgrounders/the-base

[2] “The Base.” Southern Poverty Law Center. 2020. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/base

[3] “The Base.” Southern Poverty Law Center. 2020. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/base

[4] Makuch, Ben and Mack Lamoureux. “Neo-Nazi Memoir Describes Terror Group’s Acid-Soaked Ram Sacrifice.” VICE News. June 24, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/z3e3ew/neo-nazi-memoir-describes-terr...

[5] Blazakis et al. “Special Report: The Atomwaffen Division: The Evolution of the White Supremacy Threat.” The Soufan Center. August 2020. https://thesoufancenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/The-Atomwaffen-Di...

[6] Blazakis et al. “Special Report: The Atomwaffen Division: The Evolution of the White Supremacy Threat.” The Soufan Center. August 2020. https://thesoufancenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/The-Atomwaffen-Di...

[7] Mallin, Alexander and Luke Barr. “Inside the neo-Nazi hate group 'The Base,' which is the center of an FBI investigation.” ABC News. January 23, 2020. https://abcnews.go.com/US/inside-neo-nazi-hate-group-base-center-%20fbi/...

[8] Winston, Ali. “This Deadly Neo-Nazi Group’s Media Obsession Could Be Its Downfall.” The Daily Beast. March 1, 2020. https://www.thedailybeast.com/neo-nazi-group-atomwaffen-divisions-media-...

[9] Lamoureux, Mack, Ben Makuch, and Zachery Kamel. “Man Arrested for Synagogue Vandalism Was Active in Two Militant Neo-Nazi Groups.” VICE News. November 20, 2019. https://www.vice.com
/en_ca/article/pa75jk/man-arrested-for-synagogue-vandalism-was-active-in-two-militant-neo-nazi-groups

[10] Lamoureux, Mack, Ben Makuch, and Zachery Kamel. “Man Arrested for Synagogue Vandalism Was Active in Two Militant Neo-Nazi Groups.” VICE News. November 20, 2019. https://www.vice.com
/en_ca/article/pa75jk/man-arrested-for-synagogue-vandalism-was-active-in-two-militant-neo-nazi-groups

[11] Manavis, Sarah. “Eco-fascism: The ideology marrying environmentalism and white supremacy thriving online.” The New Statesman. September 21, 2018. https://www.newstatesman.com/science-tech/social-media/2018/09/eco-fasci...

[12] Kamel, Zachary, Mack Lamoureux, and Ben Makuch. “'Eco-fascist' Arm of Neo-Nazi Terror Group, The Base, Linked to Swedish Arson.” VICE News. January 29, 2020. https://www.vice.com
/en/article/qjdvzx/eco-fascist-arm-of-neo-nazi-terror-group-the-base-linked-to-swedish-arson.

[13] Lamoureux, Mack, Ben Makuch, and Zachary Kamel. “Alleged Eco-Terrorists Discussed Abortion Clinic Bombing, Assassinating Judge: Court Documents.” VICE News. December 14, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article/g5bjqm/alleged-eco-terrorists-discussed-...

[14] Lamoureux, Mack. “Neo-Nazis Are Using Eco-Fascism to Recruit Young People.” VICE News. September 25, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article/wxqmey/neo-nazis-eco-fascism-climate-cha...

[15] Lamoureux, Mack. “Neo-Nazis Are Using Eco-Fascism to Recruit Young People.” VICE News. September 25, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article/wxqmey/neo-nazis-eco-fascism-climate-cha...

[16] Lamoureux, Mack. “Neo-Nazis Are Using Eco-Fascism to Recruit Young People.” VICE News. September 25, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article/wxqmey/neo-nazis-eco-fascism-climate-cha...

[17] Lamoureux, Mack. “Neo-Nazis Are Using Eco-Fascism to Recruit Young People.” VICE News. September 25, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article/wxqmey/neo-nazis-eco-fascism-climate-cha...

[18] Kamel, Zachary, Mack Lamoureux, and Ben Makuch. “'Eco-fascist' Arm of Neo-Nazi Terror Group, The Base, Linked to Swedish Arson.” VICE News. January 29, 2020. https://www.vice.com
/en/article/qjdvzx/eco-fascist-arm-of-neo-nazi-terror-group-the-base-linked-to-swedish-arson. Lamoureux, Mack, Ben Makuch, and Zachary Kamel. “Alleged Eco-Terrorists Discussed Abortion Clinic Bombing, Assassinating Judge: Court Documents.” VICE News. December 14, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article
/g5bjqm/alleged-eco-terrorists-discussed-abortion-clinic-bombing-assassinating-judge-court-documents

[19] Kamel, Zachary, Mack Lamoureux, and Ben Makuch. “'Eco-fascist' Arm of Neo-Nazi Terror Group, The Base, Linked to Swedish Arson.” VICE News. January 29, 2020. https://www.vice.com
/en/article/qjdvzx/eco-fascist-arm-of-neo-nazi-terror-group-the-base-linked-to-swedish-arson.

[20] Lamoureux, Mack. “Neo-Nazis Are Using Eco-Fascism to Recruit Young People.” VICE News. September 25, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article/wxqmey/neo-nazis-eco-fascism-climate-cha...

[21] “The Base.” Southern Poverty Law Center. 2020. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/base

[22] Casey, Michel. “Want to Meet America’s Worst Racists? Come to the Northwest.” POLITICO Magazine. July 7, 2015. https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/07/northwest-front-americas...

[23] Casey, Michel. “Want to Meet America’s Worst Racists? Come to the Northwest.” POLITICO Magazine. July 7, 2015. https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/07/northwest-front-americas...

[24] Lenz, Ryan. “Harold Covington, founder of white separatist group, dies at 64.” Southern Poverty Law Center. July 25, 2018. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2018/07/25/harold-covington-founder-...

[25] “Northwest American Republic.” Anti-Defamation League. 2021. https://www.adl.org/education
/references/hate-symbols/northwest-american-republic

[26] Wilson, Jason. “Revealed: the true identity of the leader of an American neo-Nazi terror group.” The Guardian. January 23, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/23/revealed-the-true-identity...

[27] Wilson, Jason. “Revealed: the true identity of the leader of an American neo-Nazi terror group.” The Guardian. January 23, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/23/revealed-the-true-identity...

[28] “The Base.” Southern Poverty Law Center. 2020. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/base

[29] “The Base.” Anti-Defamation League. 2020. https://www.adl.org/resources/backgrounders/the-base

[30] “Proud Boys.” Southern Poverty Law Center. 2020. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/proud-boys

[31] “Neo-Nazis Brag of Open Connections With Gavin’s ‘Proud Boys.’” It’s Going Down. May 18, 2017. https://itsgoingdown.org/neo-nazis-brag-open-connections-with-gavins-pro...

[32] Lamoureux, Mack, Ben Makuch, and Zachary Kamel. “How One Man Built a Neo-Nazi Insurgency in Trump's America.” VICE News. October 7, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article/v7g9kb/how-one-man-built-a-neo-nazi-insu...

[33] Makuch, Ben and Mack Lamoureux. “A Proud Boys Lawyer Wanted to Be a Nazi Terrorist.” VICE News. December 8, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article/wx8xp4/a-proud-boys-lawyer-wanted-to-be-...

[34] Makuch, Ben and Mack Lamoureux. “For Some, Joining the Proud Boys Was a Stop on the Way to Neo-Nazi Terror.” VICE News. November 18, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article/qjpb5q/for-some-joining-the-proud-boys-w...

[35] Makuch, Ben and Mack Lamoureux. “For Some, Joining the Proud Boys Was a Stop on the Way to Neo-Nazi Terror.” VICE News. November 18, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article/qjpb5q/for-some-joining-the-proud-boys-w...

State Sponsors and External Influences

There are no publicly available external influences for this group. Base leader Rinaldo Nazzaro moved to Russia in 2018, and his presence there has led to questions about ties to the Russian government.[1] A March 2019 video posted online depicts Nazzaro wearing a t-shirt displaying an image of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the words “Russia, absolute power.”[2] In November 2020, Nazzaro appeared on the Russian state-owned news channel Russia-24, where he denied claims of a link to Russian intelligence and defended the Base.[3] There is no evidence that the Russian government supports the Base.


[1] Makuch, Ben and Mack Lamoureux. “Neo-Nazi Memoir Describes Terror Group’s Acid-Soaked Ram Sacrifice.” VICE News. June 24, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/z3e3ew/neo-nazi-memoir-describes-terr...

[2] De Simone, Daniel, Andrei Soshnikov, and Ali Winston. “Neo-Nazi Rinaldo Nazzaro running US militant group The Base from Russia.” BBC News. January 24, 2020. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-51236915

[3] Makuch, Ben and Mack Lamoureux. “Neo-Nazi Terror Leader on Russian TV: ‘I'm a Family Man.’” VICE News. November 5, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article/xgzxzq/rinaldo-nazzaro-neo-nazi-terror-l...

Maps

The project develops a series of interactive diagrams that “map” relationships among groups and show how those relationships change over time. The user can change map settings to display different features (e.g., leadership changes), adjust the time scale, and trace individual groups.