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.* The network is active in North America, Europe, South Africa, and Australia. 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 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 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.

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 has 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.*

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 are reportedly 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.*

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.* The Canadian government designated The Base as a terrorist organization on February 3, 2021.* Nazzaro dismissed the designation as “flat-out political repression.”*

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, The Base’s members includes 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.*

Membership is limited to men of European descent who share The Base’s political philosophy.* The Base also requires members to be at least 17 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 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, has claimed to be a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.* Nazzaro has also claimed to be an intelligence, security, and military contractor.* 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.*

Violent Activities

The Base has not yet claimed responsibility for violent acts, but it has organized military training camps across North America. Founder Roman Wolf and several other 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.*

Rhetoric

  • Rinaldo Nazzaro, Telegram post, 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 post, 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.”*

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