Leader Of Global Terrorist Group Targeting United States Lives Openly In Russia
The founder of a neo-Nazi terrorist group with regional and international cells has enjoyed anonymity since the organization began targeting the United States in 2018, but investigative reporting from The Guardian has brought his identity out into the open.
The Base — which the newspaper noted “was recently the target of raids by the FBI after an investigation into domestic terrorism uncovered their plans to start a race war” — is directed by an American named Rinaldo Nazzaro, who left the U.S. for Russia two years ago and has remained there since.
Members of the terrorist network reportedly knew Nazzaro only by his aliases: “Norman Spear” and “Roman Wolf.”
The 46-year-old “has a long history of advertising his services as an intelligence, military and security contractor,” The Guardian discovered, and “has claimed, under his alias, to have served in Russia and Afghanistan.:
As for his white supremacist group, which targets African American and Jewish populations, the FBI has described it 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.”
Nazzaro allegedly directed group members to perpetrate “non-attributable actions but that will still send a message” after three members were charged in a conspiracy to kill two anti-fascist activists and their children, RawStory noted from reporting by The Guardian and BBC News, and a total of seven members were charged this month with various crimes.
The Guardian said that U.S. law enforcement sources “have indicated on background that Nazzaro is believed by some agencies to be working for the Russian government.”
Marriage records in New York revealed that Nazzaro married his wife in 2012 and he appeared to have one child at that time. The Guardian also reported that a “Russian site that scrapes and archives social media accounts had captured a profile, and photos, posted by Nazzaro’s Russian-born wife to VK, the Russian social media site.”
Reporting from BBC News revealed that a “video posted online in March 2019 shows Nazzaro in Russia wearing a t-shirt bearing an image of President Vladimir Putin along with the words ‘Russia, absolute power’.
BBC News was able to track Nazzaro to St. Petersburg, where the couple apparently lives in an upscale neighborhood in a home purchased in 2018 in his wife’s name.
Though far-right groups are on the rise in general in the U.S., The Base presents a particular danger, as the group “embraces an ‘accelerationist’ ideology, which holds that acts of violence and terror are required in order to push liberal democracy towards collapse, preparing the way for white supremacists to seize power and institute an ethnostate.”
Last year, Nazzaro reportedly attempted to set up a”hate camp” for training group members in Washington state — an area of the country for which he previously laid out a plan for “achieving independence, realizing the ultimate goal which is an independent nation state in the Pacific north-west, an ethnostate” — but after a leak of internal Base chats, local authorities were alerted to Nazzaro’s plans.
Under his alias “Spear,” Nazzaro also “filmed a series of short instructional presentations on the tactics and strategy of guerrilla warfare.”
“We have a significant increase in racially motivated violent extremism in the United States and, I think, a growing increase in white nationalism and white supremacy extremist movements,” Jay Tabb, the head of national security for the FBI, recently said at an event in Washington.
The Base appears to be one of the more dangerous of such groups.