Rinaldo Nazzaro

Rinaldo Nazzaro is the founder of the white supremacist group The Base. The FBI describes the group as a “racially motivated violent extremist group” that “seeks to accelerate the downfall of the United States government, incite a race war, and establish a white ethno-state.”Daniel De Simone, 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. After a series of high-profile arrests of Base members in 2020, Nazzaro began building a new accelerationist organization later that year.Ben Makuch, “Russia-Based Neo-Nazi Terror Leader Offers Training To American Far Right,” Vice News, January 19, 2021, https://www.vice.com/en/article/3anj8w/russia-based-neo-nazi-terror-leader-offers-training-to-american-far-right. Nazzaro effectively disbanded the group in March 2021 and announced he was resigning from all operational roles in favor of providing advice and commentary.Rinaldo Nazzaro, BitChute account, accessed March 16, 2021.

Originally from New Jersey, Nazzaro ran a security company in the United States that claimed expertise in intelligence, counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, and psychological operations.Daniel De Simone, 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; Ben Makuch 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/article/k7qdzv/neo-nazi-terror-leader-said-to-have-worked-with-us-special-forces. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also confirmed that Nazzaro worked with DHS between 2004 and 2006.Ben Makuch, “Department of Homeland Security Confirms Neo-Nazi Leader Used to Work For It,” Vice News, February 17, 2021, https://www.vice.com/en/article/epd7wa/department-of-homeland-security-confirms-neo-nazi-leader-used-to-work-for-it. In 2014, Nazzaro reportedly worked with U.S. forces in the Middle East on counterterrorism measures. According to media reports, Nazzaro had top-secret clearance and was among a group that briefed special forces officers in the Middle East on military targeting and counterterrorism efforts.Daniel De Simone, 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; Ben Makuch 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/article/k7qdzv/neo-nazi-terror-leader-said-to-have-worked-with-us-special-forces. Nazzaro reportedly claimed to have completed multiple tours of duty in Afghanistan in Iraq, but he has since denied ever putting on a uniform.Ben Makuch 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/article/k7qdzv/neo-nazi-terror-leader-said-to-have-worked-with-us-special-forces; “DEBUNKED: Neo-Nazis Are Organizing Secretive Paramilitary Training Across America,” Periscope video, 1:14:17, n.d., posted by “Roman Wolf.” In 2012, Nazzaro married a Russian woman in New York City. He and his wife moved to St. Petersburg, Russia, with their children in 2018.Daniel De Simone, 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. After Nazzaro posted letters online allegedly from DHS and the Pentagon thanking him for his service, DHS confirmed in February 2021 Nazzaro’s employment but would not authenticate the letter of appreciation.Ben Makuch, “Department of Homeland Security Confirms Neo-Nazi Leader Used to Work For It,” Vice News, February 17, 2021, https://www.vice.com/en/article/epd7wa/department-of-homeland-security-confirms-neo-nazi-leader-used-to-work-for-it. According to Nazzaro, he did not develop his white nationalist beliefs until the end of his national security career, which led him to quit the field. He claimed he was “genuinely patriotic previously until I saw the light. I’m not the type of person who’s capable of living a lie or a double life so I simply walked away.”Rinaldo Nazzaro, Telegram post, February 17, 2021.

Nazzaro emerged in the white nationalist space in 2017 when he was affiliated with the Northwest Front separatist group. That December, Nazzaro appeared on a far-right podcast as Norman Spear and said the group’s ultimate goal is the creation of an independent ethno-nation-state in the U.S. Pacific Northwest.Jason Wilson, “Revealed: the true identity of the leader of an American neo-Nazi terror group,” Guardian (London), January 23, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/23/revealed-the-true-identity-of-the-leader-of-americas-neo-nazi-terror-group. He also posted instructional videos on guerrilla warfare on his BitChute account.Jason Wilson, “Revealed: the true identity of the leader of an American neo-Nazi terror group,” Guardian (London), January 23, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/23/revealed-the-true-identity-of-the-leader-of-americas-neo-nazi-terror-group. According to Nazzaro, the Northwest Front sought to use guerilla tactics similar to those of the Irish Republican Army to cause “death by a thousand cuts” to the United States through economic damage that would force the government to negotiate for the creation of an independent entity.“DEBUNKED: Neo-Nazis Are Organizing Secretive Paramilitary Training Across America,” Periscope video, 1:14:17, n.d., posted by “Roman Wolf.”

Inspired by the book Siege by American neo-Nazi James Mason, Nazzaro created The Base in July 2018 while alternately calling himself Norman Spear and Roman Wolf.Daniel De Simone, 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; “What is The Base?” Internet Archive video, 2:21, uploaded by “The Base” on September 21, 2019; Ryan Thorpe, “Homegrown hate,” Winnipeg Free Press, August 16, 2019, https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/homegrown-hate-547510902.html; “Who is U.S. neo-Nazi group ‘The Base’?,” Reuters, January 16, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-guns-rally-the-base-factbox/who-is-u-s-neo-nazi-group-the-base-idUSKBN1ZF2LU. In December 2018, Nazzaro traveled to Washington state, where he bought isolated plots of land for Base training camps. Nazzaro used a Delaware LLC called Base Global, which had a registered address in New Jersey.Jason Wilson, “Revealed: the true identity of the leader of an American neo-Nazi terror group,” Guardian (London), January 23, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/23/revealed-the-true-identity-of-the-leader-of-americas-neo-nazi-terror-group.

In January 2020, the Guardian identified Nazzaro as the man behind the Roman Wolf and Norman Spear identities. The newspaper also revealed Nazzaro was living in Russia.Jason Wilson, “Revealed: the true identity of the leader of an American neo-Nazi terror group,” Guardian (London), January 23, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/23/revealed-the-true-identity-of-the-leader-of-americas-neo-nazi-terror-group. Beginning in January 2020, U.S. authorities made multiple high-profile arrests of Base members. That January, federal authorities arrested three men suspected of membership in The Base who were allegedly plotting to murder a couple, supposedly affiliated with the far-left antifa movement, in Bartow County, Georgia.Doug Walker, “Judge: Case against men accused in white supremacist plot to go forward,” Rome News-Tribune, May 29, 2020, https://www.northwestgeorgianews.com/rome/news/local/judge-case-against-men-accused-in-white-supremacist-plot-to-go-forward/article_42700ffc-a1e5-11ea-a35a-9367e2d93e72.html; Derek Hawkins and Hannah Knowles, “Alleged members of white supremacy group ‘the Base’ charged with plotting to kill antifa couple,” Washington Post, January 18, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2020/01/18/the-base-white-supremacist-arrests/. That same month, three suspected Base members were arrested for allegedly stockpiling weapons and training for an assault on a pro-Second Amendment rally in Virginia, reportedly in the hopes of sparking a civil war.“Three Alleged Members of the Violent Extremist Group “The Base” Facing Federal Firearms and Alien-Related Charges,” U.S. Department of Justice, January 16, 2020, https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/pr/three-alleged-members-violent-extremist-group-base-facing-federal-firearms-and-alien; Michael Kunzelman, “Documents: Extremist group wanted rally to start civil war,” Associated Press, January 21, 2020, https://apnews.com/e5d17a8735678aa604a22f011c2685db. In October 2020, authorities in Michigan arrested two Base members, including self-professed leader Justen Watkins, accused of attempting to intimidate a podcast host in December 2019.Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, “F.B.I. Arrests Michigan Men Tied to White Supremacist Group,” New York Times, October 29, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/29/us/fbi-arrests-the-base-michigan.html; Charlie Langton, “2 Michigan men facing gang felony charge for alleged ties with white supremacist group The Base,” Fox 2 Detroit, October 29, 2020, https://www.fox2detroit.com/news/2-michigan-men-facing-gang-felony-charge-for-alleged-ties-with-white-supremacist-group-the-base.

Nazzaro has posted a series of videos online “debunking” so-called media lies about The Base.Rinaldo Nazzaro, Telegram post, December 22, 2020. He has denied The Base was a neo-Nazi organization or that the network was preparing for a race war. He has further denied The Base was planning secret attacks or targeting Jews and minorities but was in reality waiting for the inevitable system collapse. He did admit The Base hosted an online library of training manuals on survivalism but claimed it was compiled by a Base member and he was not responsible for it. He has accused Vice News of illegally infiltrating private chats to “cherry pick” parts that support its narrative about The Base.“DEBUNKED: Neo-Nazis Are Organizing Secretive Paramilitary Training Across America,” Periscope video, 1:14:17, n.d., posted by “Roman Wolf.” Nazzaro denies that he has ever called for lone-wolf terror attacks, calling them “counterproductive.”“DEBUNKED: Neo-Nazis Are Organizing Secretive Paramilitary Training Across America,” Periscope video, 1:14:17, n.d., posted by “Roman Wolf.” The Base members arrested in 2020 were set up, according to Nazzaro.“DEBUNKED: Neo-Nazis Are Organizing Secretive Paramilitary Training Across America,” Periscope video, 1:14:17, n.d., posted by “Roman Wolf.”

Nazzaro has claimed that while the FBI took seriously violent allegations against The Base, he considered them to be a joke. He also denies that he ever claimed The Base was designed to unite nationalists to prepare for violent insurgency, as he reportedly said in the 2018 podcast in which he introduced The Base. According to Nazzaro, The Base’s strategy is to wait for societal collapse and then pick up the pieces afterward.“DEBUNKED: Neo-Nazis Are Organizing Secretive Paramilitary Training Across America,” Periscope video, 1:14:17, n.d., posted by “Roman Wolf.”

In late 2020, Nazzaro reportedly began building a new U.S.-based network to bring about a “system collapse” in the United States.Ben Makuch, “Russia-Based Neo-Nazi Terror Leader Offers Training To American Far Right,” Vice News, January 19, 2021, https://www.vice.com/en/article/3anj8w/russia-based-neo-nazi-terror-leader-offers-training-to-american-far-right. Nazzaro has claimed his new group is a legal organization providing self-defense and survival training to thrive after a system collapse. Through BitChute and other sites, Nazzaro has provided guides to creating an insurgency and seizing control of municipalities. He has further claimed the effects of his new group will not be immediate but will be noticeable through the coming decades.Ben Makuch, “Russia-Based Neo-Nazi Terror Leader Offers Training To American Far Right,” Vice News, January 19, 2021, https://www.vice.com/en/article/3anj8w/russia-based-neo-nazi-terror-leader-offers-training-to-american-far-right; Rinaldo Nazzaro, BitChute video, December 25, 2020; Rinaldo Nazzaro, BitChute video, December 23, 2020. BitChute closed Nazzaro’s account in January 2021.Rinaldo Nazzaro, Telegram post, January 20, 2021. Nazzaro also claims he has been banned from GabRinaldo Nazzaro, Telegram post, November 21, 2020. and de-platformed across the Internet, but he canceled his Twitter account because he was “sick” of social media.“DEBUNKED: Neo-Nazis Are Organizing Secretive Paramilitary Training Across America,” Periscope video, 1:14:17, n.d., posted by “Roman Wolf.”

On March 16, 2021, Nazzaro announced his BitChute account had been reinstated after an appeal. He posted a new video—recorded earlier in the month—to that account in which he announced he deleted his personal Telegram channel because he suspected half of his subscribers were “enemy spies.”Rinaldo Nazzaro, BitChute account, accessed March 16, 2021. He also announced he is resigning from any operational roles and disbanding his new group, which he said did not get much traction as people were unwilling to work with him because of rumors he is secretly an agent for the FBI or FSB. In the video, which had a date stamp of March 3, 2021, Nazzaro said he has been “shunned” and “reviled” by all sides and “essentially operationally neutralized” by “enemy propaganda” and paranoia about him and his ideology.Rinaldo Nazzaro, BitChute account, accessed March 16, 2021. Nonetheless, Nazzaro said he would continue to make videos and provide advice. Later that day, Nazzaro posted videos of himself talking about accelerationism and bringing about system collapse.Rinaldo Nazzaro, BitChute account, accessed March 16, 2021. Nazzaro also created a new Telegram channel that day.Rinaldo Nazzaro, Telegram account, accessed March 16, 2021.

 
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