The Base

Introduction

The Base is a neo-Nazi, white-supremacist network that describes itself as an “international survivalist and self-defense network” that seeks to train their members for fighting a race war.* Since its founding, the network has been active in North America, Europe, South Africa, and Australia. The present transnational reach of the organization outside of the United States is unknown. The Base is influenced by the race war called for in the book Siege by neo-Nazi James Mason. The Base is an accelerationist group that encourages the onset on anarchy so it can then "impose order from chaos."* In a September 2018 episode of the podcast The Roper Report, Base founder Roman Wolf, a.k.a. Rinaldo Nazzaro, claimed The Base’s goal is to unite white nationalists for the coming race war that will overthrow the government and reshape society.* The Base has since denied it is a neo-Nazi organization or that it promotes any specific ideology. The Base’s recruitment propaganda claims it trains its members for a “hypothetical time in the future when law & order breaks down to such an extreme degree … that the authorities are unable or unwilling to restore it.”*

Nonetheless, The Base has described itself as a “white protection league” and has organized training camps around North America for their members in weaponry and military tactics.* Wolf has called for members to focus on non-attributable actions that destabilize society. The Base has distributed to its members manuals for lone-wolf terror attacks, bomb-making, counter-surveillance, and guerilla warfare.* In November 2019, the FBI charged Base member Richard Tobin with orchestrating the vandalism of synagogues in Michigan and Wisconsin that September. Tobin told investigators that he envisioned a nationwide campaign, which he called Operation Kristallnacht after the 1938 night of pogroms against Jewish businesses in Germany that marked the beginning of the Holocaust.*

The name The Base is the English translation of al-Qaeda, though it is unclear if the link was intentional as the two networks share no other similarities. The Base heavily draws inspiration from the Atomwaffen Division (AWD) and Siege, the neo-Nazi manifesto written by James Mason that inspired Atomwaffen Division. The exact relationship between AWD and The Base remains unclear beyond inspiration.* The Base’s membership reportedly includes members of AWD and the far-right group Eco-Fascist Order.*

Since the public revelation of the identities of The Base’s leadership and several high-profile arrests in January 2020, some U.S. media have claimed U.S. authorities dismantled The Base.* Also in January 2020, 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.* 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.* In October 2020, authorities in Michigan arrested two Base members, including the group’s alleged leader, accused of attempting to intimidate a podcast host in December 2019.* Despite these arrests and the revelation of The Base’s leadership, the group’s strategy of creating small, independent cells means it will likely adapt and continue. In late 2020, The Base began a new online recruitment drive. In April 2021, the network announced new training courses for recruits.*

As of January 2021, Base founder Rinaldo Nazzaro was reportedly building a new U.S.-based network bring about a “system collapse” in the United States.* Nazzaro claimed his new group is a legal organization providing self-defense and survival training. 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.* Nazzaro effectively disbanded the group in March 2021 and announced he was resigning from all operational roles in favor of providing advice and commentary.* He has continued to promote The Base.*

Leadership

The Base claims to be a leaderless resistance group.* Norman Spear, a.k.a. Roman Wolf, launched The Base in June 2018. Both names were pseudonyms.* Spear’s true identity was revealed in January 2020 as Rinaldo Nazzaro, a U.S.-born military contractor living in Russia.* Despite The Base’s claims of being a leaderless resistance, following his October 2020 arrest Justen Watkins claimed he had been appointed the new leader of The Base after the arrest of the group’s previous leader earlier that year.*

Rinaldo Nazzaro, a.k.a. Norman Spear or Roman Wolf

Justen Watkins

Base of Operations

International. The Base’s presence has been recorded around the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia, though its present reach is unknown.*

Website

https://thebase966874062.wordpress.com/ (defunct)

Membership Size and Relevance

The Base’s total membership is unknown as the group has no formal membership.* Its primary web forum reportedly has 45 members. There are also regional chat groups.* In a June 11, 2021, Telegram post, Nazzaro claimed The Base had 70 members. He also claimed The Base had a budget of $15,000.* The Canadian government designated The Base as a terrorist organization on February 3, 2021.* Nazzaro dismissed the designation as “flat-out political repression.”* On July 16, 2021, the British government proscribed The Base as a terrorist organization.*

Recruitment and Propaganda

The Base’s emblem is composed of three white Eihwaz symbols on a black background. The Nazis adopted the Eihwaz symbol to memorialize members who died in the 1923 beer hall uprising.* The Base’s propaganda encourages membership to join a future race war. Posters displayed in Canada in 2019 brandished the slogan, "Save your Race, Join The Base."*

The Base has also used the meme-generating website iFunny to create propaganda memes and post videos, which has sparked interest from some of iFunny’s users. Memes often includes emails or QR codes with which users can get in touch with a recruiter.*

The Base seeks to create two- to three-man cells around North America, Europe, Australia, and South Africa. According to founder Roman Wolf, a.k.a. Rinaldo Nazzaro, The Base’s members include National Socialists and fascists, as well as "run-of-the-mill white nationalists."* In November 2019, alleged Base leader Justen Watkins created a training camp in Bad Axe, Michigan. Photos and video of firearms training at the camp were then uploaded online to aid recruitment.* Nonetheless, Nazzaro has claimed his network was not set up to be a terrorist or neo-Nazi organization.*

The Base seeks out potential recruits with existing survivalist, self-defense, and outdoors skills.* Membership is limited to men of European descent who share The Base’s political philosophy.* The Base also requires members to be at least 18 years old.* An undercover reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press underwent a “multi-tiered vetting process” that included encrypted online communication, a phone call with founder Roman Wolf, and an in-person meeting with a local representative.* In a September 2018 episode of the far-right podcast The Roper Report, Wolf claimed that the white nationalist movement is primarily based online and that needs to change. Wolf said the Base is “focused on meeting and training” in order to build a network of trainers across the country.* The Base has since begun asking potential recruits about experience in survivalism, self-defense, and the military.*

The network specifically seeks to recruit current and former members of the armed forces so that they can share their skills. Rinaldo Nazzaro, a.k.a. Roman Wolf, previously claimed to be a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but he has since denied ever putting on a uniform.* Nazzaro later claimed he had been an intelligence, security, and military contractor, not a uniformed soldier.* After Nazzaro posted letters online allegedly from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Pentagon thanking him for his service, in February 2021 DHS confirmed Nazzaro’s employment but would not authenticate the letter of appreciation.* In August 2019, the Winnipeg Free Press identified Canadian Armed Forces soldier Master Corporal Patrik Mathews as responsible for posting recruitment propaganda around Winnipeg, Canada. The Base reportedly ran a recruitment drive across Canada in 2019.* Mathews was arrested in January 2020 in Maryland alongside Brian Mark Lemley Jr. and William Garfield Bilbrough IV. Lemley previously served as a Cavalry Scout in the U.S. Army. The three were allegedly stockpiling weapons and training for an assault on a pro-Second Amendment rally in Virginia that month.*

The Base renewed its recruitment campaign in April 2021 and claimed it had instituted new security measures to its vetting process to avoid infiltration.* According to its messaging, The Base is focused on networking and practical training, not indoctrination. The group claims it does not have a radicalization program for recruits and expects potential members to already be radicalized.* In 2021, The Base also began holding tactical communications training courses to recognize and combat “electronic warfare.”* During the summer of 2021, The Base organized backpacking trips around Oregon.*

Violent Activities

The Base has not yet claimed responsibility for violent acts, but it has organized military training camps across North America. Several members have served in the U.S. or Canadian militaries and used those skills to train other members of The Base in weaponry and combat.* Alleged Base leader Justen Watkins set up a Base training camp in Michigan in 2019.* In April 2021, founder Rinaldo Nazzaro denied that Base members ever discussed or planned attacks. He accused media organizations like Vice and non-government organizations of misrepresenting The Base.*

Rhetoric

  • Rinaldo Nazzaro, Telegram, May 3, 2021: “GROUPS—TO JOIN OR NOT TO JOIN?
    Why join a group or a network like The Base?:
    1) To help you form a local crew and/or 2) To contribute to acceleration
    There’s no doubt that The Base accomplished both of these things successfully, despite whatever setbacks. The only question is if the risk is worth the reward in your mind. That’s a personal decision which each of us must make individually. Joining a group isn’t for everyone and I respect the personal decision of those who choose to go it alone. And, likewise, those same individuals should respect those of us who decided to join a group. There’s a logical rationale behind each choice. Don’t denounce or disavow.”*
  • Rinaldo Nazzaro, BitChute, April 26, 2021: “Being militant is a necessary component to successfully resisting an oppressive totalitarian system like the one currently ruling the United States with an iron fist.”*
  • Rinaldo Nazzaro, BitChute, April 24, 2021: “I believe those guys who were arrested, for the most part, were set up. They were targeted for political reasons by the United States government for political reasons. I don’t believe that they’re guilty.”*
  • Rinaldo Nazzaro, Telegram, April 8, 2021: “Republicans and many White Nationalists think they’re fighting for the future of America but they’ve already lost it and there’s no hope of taking it back. The System is irreversibly dominated by the enemy...The System *is* the enemy and the enemy *is* the System—They’re inherently and inseparably one and the same now. Some do realize this and hope for a spontaneous collapse which unfortunately will never come. The only victory left to be had is breaking away before it’s too late.”*
  • The Base, Telegram, April 4, 2021: “The Base is a survivalism & self-defense network. It is not a terrorist organization or a neo-nazi group. We are not involved in political advocacy or activism and, therefore, we don't promote any particular ideology. Rather, our day-to-day focus is entirely practical—Linking up individuals who are eager to improve their survavlism & self-defense knowledge, skills, and abilities. We are training and preparing for a hypothetical time in the future when law & order breaks down to such an extreme degree (whether it be due to civil unrest, natural disaster, or some combination of the two) that the authorities are unable or unwilling to restore it.”*
  • Rinaldo Nazzaro, Telegram, December 21, 2020: “By no later than the 90 day-mark, plan to go on the offensive by clearing and holding the nearest town. You will commandeer the town and this will serve as your new base of operations,” one post reads, before telling followers there may come a time where they will need to kill American citizens if their insurgency is challenged.”*
  • Rinaldo Nazzaro, Telegram, December 3, 2020: “To fulfill our political aspirations, we are relying upon the gradual emergence of lawless regions, within the United States, where federal authorities are unable or unwilling to restore law [and] order.”*
  • Rinaldo Nazzaro, December 3, 2020: “Any resistors must be dealt with swiftly and somewhat harshly in order to set the tone and establish your authority.”*
  • Justen Watkins, manifesto, 2020: “I will train with firearms, explosives, knives, Ryder trucks, and anything else I have to destroy this KIKE SYSTEM THAT IS GENOCIDING MY people.”*
  • Justen Watkins, manifesto, 2020: “To victory with PURE UNADULTERATED ARYANVIOLENCE! HAIL TERROGRAM!”*
  • Roman Wolf, 2019: "Most of our members are National Socialists and/or fascists, although we also have some run-of-the-mill white nationalists... We have a strong revolutionary and militant current running through The Base. Most of our members are pretty hard core in that sense. You’re going to be stepping into probably the most extreme group of pro-white people that you can probably come across." *
  • Unidentified member in online chat forum, undated: “If you do it, do it (expletive) right, high casualties or go home... Breivik, Tarrant and McVeigh are the gold standard. If you can’t keep up, don’t bother.”*
  • Unidentified member in online chat forum, undated: “I feel like were (sic) crossing a Rubicon here soon. The calls for civil war are totally mainstream now. Even the civnat (sic) talking heads are calling for uprising and acknowledging that race war is about to break out. The political climate has shifted.”*
  • Unidentified member in online chat forum, undated: “Something is changing for sure even if it doesn’t pop off imidiatly (sic) they are pushing very hard for legal ways to fight us. Either way I’m getting ready for the worst.”*
  • Social media post by The Base member identified only as Patrick, undated: “At this point it is the system that is fomenting armed (white nationalist) revolution, not us. We tried the peaceful route. The system closed it off at every turn. Now the system shall reap what it has sown. I’ll leave it at that.”*
  • Social media post by The Base member identified only as Patrick, undated: “After the collapse, social media will be a wonderful record for figuring out what surviving whites will get the rope in the new state.”*

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

Fact:

On October 21, 2017, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the Marshal Fahim military academy in Kabul, killing at least 15 military cadets and wounding four others. The Taliban claimed responsibility.   

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