The Base (hate group)

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The Base
FoundationJune 2018
CountryUnited States, Canada, Australia and South Africa
Motives
Ideology
Political positionFar-right
StatusActive
AlliesAtomwaffen Division
Green Brigade
Order of Nine Angles
Designated as a terrorist group by Canada
February 3, 2021
[1]

The Base are an accelerationist paramilitary hate group and training network, formed in 2018 by Rinaldo Nazzaro and active in the United States, Canada, Australia, South Africa, and Europe. The group was designated a terrorist entity by Canada on February 3, 2021.[2]

History[edit]

The group was founded in June 2018 by Rinaldo Nazzaro, who uses the pseudonyms Norman Spear and Roman Wolf.[3] Nazzaro was reported to have bought several blocks of off-the-grid land in Washington state, US, in 2018 for use as a survivalist training camp.[4]

Ideology and status[edit]

The Base is a neo-Nazi, white supremacist and accelerationist paramilitary hate group and training network. It advocates the formation of white ethnostates, a goal they see as achievable via terrorism and the violent overthrow of existing governments. The group's vetting process serves to connect committed extremists with terroristic skills to produce real-world violence.[3] It organizes "race war preppers" and operates "hate camps", or training camps.[5][6][7][8] The group has links to the Atomwaffen Division and the Feuerkrieg Division, which are far-right extremist groups.[7]

Nazzaro has characterized The Base as a "survivalism and self-defense network ... sharing knowledge and training to prepare for crisis situations", and denies connections to neo-Nazism. Nazzaro has stated that his goal is to "build a cadre of trainers across the country."[3]

The Base was designated a terrorist entity by Canada on February 3, 2021.[9][10] There have been calls, notably by Anne Aly, a prominent Australian Member of Parliament and expert in counter-terrorism, to designate the group as a terrorist organisation in Australia.[4]

Recruitment strategies[edit]

The group is active across the United States, and also in Canada.[11] Before his identity was revealed in January 2020, Nazzaro, known online as “Roman Wolf” and “Norman Spear”, was personally involved in active recruitment, with the aim of forming cells in Europe, South Africa and Australia.[4][7]

The Base has recruited by using iFunny, a meme social media website. In secure chat forums, VICE noted members designing memes to spread as propaganda.[3]

Propaganda from a The Base training camp near Spokane, Washington was posted in August 2019.[12][13][14][15]

In late 2019 and early 2020, secret recordings were made of some of The Base's recruitment activities. The tapes include their attempts to recruit several Australians, including a 17-year-old teenager and a Western Australian man, Dean Smith, who ran for parliament for Pauline Hanson's One Nation party. Another Australian who went by the name of Volkskrieger was a key person in the recruitment drive, which focused on finding people with legal access to firearms and security licences.[4][16][17]

Activities[edit]

Anti-Semitic activities[edit]

Richard Tobin and The Base were linked to synagogue vandalism in Racine, Wisconsin, and Hancock, Michigan, which occurred a day apart in September 2019.[12] Court documents allege Tobin organized the vandalism, then named two members of The Base to vandalize the synagogues. Tobin called the event "Operation Kristallnacht".[18]

Yousef O. Barasneh, a Neo-Nazi Arab whose father immigrated from Amman, spray-painted swastikas and other anti-Semitic symbols and slogans on Beth Israel Sinai Congregation in the city of Racine, Wisconsin sometime between September 15 and 23, 2019.[19]

Virginia protests[edit]

On 16 January 2020, three members of The Base were arrested by the FBI just before a gun rights protest, 2020 VCDL Lobby Day, was scheduled to be held at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond.[20] The FBI had six members under surveillance for several months and had set up CCTV cameras inside the group's apartment to observe them and to prevent them from causing any harm.[21] According to FBI documents, three members were discussing "the planning of violence at a specific event in Virginia, scheduled for January 20, 2020."[22] On January 17th, the trio were indicted for illicit activities.[23] The next day, three additional members were arrested for plotting to "derail trains" and poison water supplies.[24]

Other incidents[edit]

On the night of December 11, 2019, two members — Justen Watkins and Alfred Gorman — appeared at a residential home in the town of Dexter, Michigan. There, they shined lights and took photographs on the front porch. Watkins and Gorman incorrectly believed the home belonged to an "antifa" podcaster, Daniel Harper of I Don't Speak German, and the pair intended to threaten him. Unbeknownst to them, it was the home of an unrelated family. Watkins and Gorman uploaded their photos to a Telegram channel used by The Base. On October 29, 2020, Watkins and Gorman were apprehended by the FBI, and charged with gang membership, unlawful posting of a message, and using computers to commit a crime.[25][26] According to VICE News, between the attempted intimidation incident and his arrest, leaked chat logs revealed Watkins was planning a "fortified compound" in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. In the said logs, he was discussing plans to purchase homes and land (and subsequently fortify them) with members on Wire, wanting to establish a enclave to house and train members.[27]

In April 2021, two men were indicted in Floyd County, Georgia, for alleged theft and ritual beheading of an animal. The assistant district attorney said a "dozen members of The Base" participated in the blood-drinking ritual.[28]

Notable members[edit]

Founder[edit]

Rinaldo Nazzaro uses the pseudonyms Norman Spear and Roman Wolf.[3][29] Nazzaro used to work for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as an analyst and he also used to work as a contractor for The Pentagon,[30] and he also claims to have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.[31] Nazzaro owned a security contracting firm, Omega Solutions International LLC. He is a white supremacist and a supporter of the Northwest Territorial Imperative, which proposes the creation of "a separatist ethnostate in the Pacific north-west".[29]

With his wife, Nazzaro resides in Saint Petersburg, Russia, according to BBC News; an apartment in the city was purchased in his wife's name in July 2018, the same month in which The Base was founded.[32] A video posted online in May 2019 shows Nazarro, apparently in Russia, wearing a t-shirt with an image of President Vladimir Putin and the words "Russia, absolute power".[32] The BBC also reported that in 2019, Nazzaro was listed as a guest at a Russian government security exhibition in Moscow.[32] Some members of The Base suspected that Nazarro was connected to Russian intelligence, which Nazzaro denies.[31]

Others[edit]

Jason Lee Van Dyke[edit]

Jason Lee Van Dyke, the former lawyer and one-time leader of the Proud Boys, who was recently alleged to have tried to plot the assassination of a rival,[33] attempted to join the Base, but was denied membership for being a "huge liability."[34] In an effort to convince the group's leaders that he should be allowed to join the Base and would be a productive member, Van Dyke offered up his expertise in weapons training and his property in Decatur, Texas for a paramilitary camp.[34]

Patrik Jordan Mathews[edit]

A combat engineer master corporal, Patrik Jordan Mathews (a.k.a. Dave Arctorum or "coincidence detector") of the Canadian Armed Forces Reserve, was identified as one of the three arrested. Earlier, on 16 August 2019, Mathews had been outed as organizing a terrorist cell for The Base and Atomwaffen in Manitoba via undercover reporting by the Winnipeg Free Press. He was also described as putting up posters to "intimidate and threaten local anti-fascist activists." Other posters in Manitoba, which began appearing in July, stated "Save your Race, Join The Base" and "The Base: Learn Train Fight".[6][11] Vice News also discovered he had participated in a training camp in the U.S. state of Georgia.[35] While not charging him, on August 19, the RCMP searched his home in Beausejour, Manitoba and seized guns.[36] The military had been alerted about Mathews in April and launched an investigation in July.[37] By August 24, he had gone missing and was reported as being voluntarily released from the Forces.[38][39]

Mathews' truck was found near the border in Piney, Manitoba,[40] and it was assumed he had entered the United States illegally.[41][35][42][43] It is possible Mathews was assisted by a Minnesota cell of The Base.[44] Mathews was arrested in Maryland by the FBI in January 2020 along with two associates, Brian M. Lemley Jr., 33, and William G. Bilbrough IV, 19.[20] The men are accused of building assault rifles and manufacturing DMT for occult rituals. They face a maximum sentence of 10 years for firearm offenses, including transporting a machine gun.[45]

Luke Austin Lane[edit]

Luke Austin Lane was a cell leader of The Base and an Order of Nine Angles follower. His cell consisted of a few members in Georgia and was particularly militant. He would practice firearms training with his cell, videoing their activities and posting the film online for propaganda purposes. In January 2020, Lane and two accomplices were arrested for allegedly stockpiling weapons and plotting to kill an anti-fascist couple and their young children. In preparation, Lane, along with dozen other people, had engaged in paramilitary training, consumed psychedelic drugs, sacrificed a ram, and drank its blood in an occult ritual on his property.[31]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Canada becomes first nation to declare the Proud Boys a terrorist organization". USA Today. February 3, 2021. Retrieved February 3, 2021.
  2. ^ "The Base-White Nationalist Separatist/Cascadian Region". Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium. Retrieved 2021-04-11.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Neo-Nazis Are Organizing Secretive Paramilitary Training Across America". Vice. Retrieved 10 January 2020. Spear, who claims to be an Iraq and Afghan War veteran, is a self-proclaimed white nationalist with a significant online following. His latest act involves bringing neo-Nazis together, regardless of affiliation and ideology, into a militant fascist umbrella organization. His tool for doing this? A social network which he calls "The Base," which is already organizing across the US and abroad, specifically geared toward partaking in terrorism. Advertisement
  4. ^ a b c d Mann, Alex; Nguyen, Kevin (25 March 2021). "The Base Tapes: Inside a neo-Nazi recruitment drive in Australia". ABC News. Background Briefing. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  5. ^ Ward, Justin. "Race war preppers". Medium. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  6. ^ a b Thorpe, Ryan (16 August 2019). "Homegrown hate". The Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  7. ^ a b c Lamoureux, Mack; Makuch, Ben (16 August 2019). "Militant Neo-Nazi Group Actively Recruiting Ahead of Alleged Training Camp". Vice. Retrieved 18 December 2019. The Base, a neo-Nazi group which aims to provide military and survivalist training to fellow white supremacists, has been ramping up its activities including a massive recruitment campaign and a planned 'hate camp.'
  8. ^ Charles P. Pierce (6 December 2019). "This Highly Organized Right-Wing Militia Is an Ominous Portent". Esquire. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  9. ^ "About the listing process". www.publicsafety.gc.ca. 2018-12-21. Retrieved 2021-02-03.
  10. ^ Government of Canada, Public Works and Government Services Canada (2021-02-03). "Canada Gazette, Part 2, Volume 155, Number 2: Regulations Amending the Regulations Establishing a List of Entities". www.gazette.gc.ca. Retrieved 2021-02-03.
  11. ^ a b "Encyclopedia of hate: A look at the neo-Nazi militant movements with roots in Canada". CTV News. November 27, 2019. Several Canadian military members have been accused of having ties to AWD, including Master Cpl. Patrik Matthews, a reservist who went missing in August after being relieved of his duties. It was suspected that Matthews was a recruiter for the neo-Nazi group.
  12. ^ a b Roebuck, Jeremy (15 November 2019). "South Jersey man accused in synagogue vandalisms, revealing dark network of neo-Nazi organizing online". inquirer. Retrieved 10 January 2020. Investigators say Richard Tobin, 18, of Brooklawn, used the neo-Nazi social network The Base to recruit the perpetrators who carried out the September attacks on synagogues in Michigan and Wisconsin.
  13. ^ "iFunny Has Become A Hub For White Nationalism". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  14. ^ "New Paramilitary Training Video Emerges of Neo-Nazi Terror Group". Vice. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  15. ^ "Spokane police investigating rumors of neo-Nazi 'hate camp'". The Seattle Times. 10 August 2019. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  16. ^ "From One Nation to neo-Nazism: Australians being drawn into extremism". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2021-04-11.
  17. ^ "The Base Tapes: Inside a neo-Nazi recruitment drive in Australia". ABC News Australia. Retrieved 2021-04-11.
  18. ^ "Why Arrest of Richard Tobin Is Bad News for Neo-Nazi Group The Base". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  19. ^ "Neo-Nazi with Jordanian roots charged with vandalizing U.S. synagogue." Ynet. January 19, 2020
  20. ^ a b "Virginia Capital on Edge as F.B.I. Arrests Suspected Neo-Nazis Before Gun Rally". New York Times. 16 January 2020. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  21. ^ Judge: Canadian Man Tied To Extremist Group Is 'Very Dangerous'
  22. ^ UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. BRIAN MARK LEMLEY, JR, page 20
  23. ^ Three Alleged White Supremacists Who Reportedly Hoped Virginia Gun Rally Would Cause ‘Civil War’ Indicted In Maryland, Delaware
  24. ^ "Members of US neo-Nazi group arrested over plans to derail trains, start 'race war'". Newshub. Retrieved 2021-01-30.
  25. ^ "Feds arrest alleged white supremacy group member who claimed to run "hate camp" in Michigan". CBS News. October 30, 2020.
  26. ^ "White supremacists facing charges after allegedly terrorizing family in Dexter". WXYZ ABC News. October 29, 2020.
  27. ^ "Neo-Nazi Terrorists Planned Fortified Compound in Michigan". VICE News. February 23, 2021.
  28. ^ "New indictments shed light on alleged terror cell in Rome, Ga". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. April 26, 2021. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  29. ^ a b Wilson, Jason (January 24, 2020). "Revealed: the true identity of the leader of an American neo-Nazi terror group". The Guardian. Guardian News & Media Limited. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  30. ^ De Simone, Daniel; Winston, Ali (June 22, 2020). "Neo-Nazi militant group grooms teenagers". BBC News. Retrieved June 22, 2020.
  31. ^ a b c "How One Man Built a Neo-Nazi Insurgency in Trump's America". Vice News. October 15, 2020.
  32. ^ a b c De Simone, Daniel; Soshnikov, Andrei; Winston, Ali (January 24, 2020). "US neo-Nazi directing group from Russia". BBC News. Retrieved May 31, 2020.
  33. ^ Tucker, Pilar Melendez,Emma (2020-04-15). "Former 'Proud Boys' Lawyer Used Nationalist Group in Alleged Plot to Assassinate Rival: Court Docs". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2021-05-02.
  34. ^ a b "A Proud Boys Lawyer Wanted to Be a Nazi Terrorist". www.vice.com. Retrieved 2021-05-02.
  35. ^ a b "Neo-Nazi Terror Group Harbouring Missing Ex-Soldier: Sources". Vice. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  36. ^ "'Hands in the air': RCMP raid home of army reservist accused of ties with neo-Nazi group". CBC News. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  37. ^ "Top general says military started dealing with suspected neo-Nazi in the spring". CBC News. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  38. ^ Lamoureux, Mack (29 August 2019). "Army Reservist Tied to Neo-Nazi Terror Cell Is Missing". Vice. Retrieved 10 January 2020. According to Manitoba RCMP, a missing person report was filed for Patrik Mathews on Monday. In a statement they provided to VICE, Manitoba RCMP said that the 26-year-old 'was last seen by family members in Beausejour on the evening of August 24, 2019.'
  39. ^ "Former army reservist linked to neo-Nazi group missing, sought by RCMP". CBC News. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  40. ^ "Truck of former reservist with alleged neo-Nazi ties found near U.S.-Canada border". CBC News. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  41. ^ "American police warned former Manitoba army reservist likely crossed border". CBC News. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  42. ^ Berthiaume, Lee (28 October 2019). "RCMP, feds pressed to find missing reservist with alleged links to neo-Nazis". CTVNews. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  43. ^ "Missing Canadian Bomb Expert With Neo-Nazi Ties May Be in U.S." The Daily Beast. Retrieved 10 January 2020. A survivalist-themed paramilitary group, The Base has factions across the U.S. and Canada. The group reportedly hosted multiple 'hate camps' in northern U.S. states this year. Mathews claimed to have crossed the border multiple times to attend U.S.-based hate camps, the Free Press reported after an undercover investigation of the group. But he was reportedly turned away from the border during a trip to a hate camp this spring, prompting The Base to discourage international trips, while encouraging an increased presence in Canada.
  44. ^ "Police Warn that Accused Neo-Nazi Canadian Soldier Could Have Fled to U.S." Vice. Retrieved 10 January 2020. A former Canadian soldier who is accused of participation in a neo-Nazi terror group is suspected by Minnesota police to have recently illegally entered the US by crossing into rural Minnesota, a state where an active cell of the group is believed to be present.
  45. ^ "FBI arrests 3 neo-Nazi suspects with weapons planning to attend gun rally in Richmond". WSET-TV. January 16, 2020.