The white supremacist group the Base has been a target of FBI raids and its members accused of planning a race war. The Guardian can now reveal the identity of its secretive leader
By Jason Wilson | The Guardian | January 23, 2020
The Guardian has learned the true identity of the leader and founder of the US-based neo-Nazi terror network the Base, which was recently the target of raids by the FBI after an investigation into domestic terrorism uncovered their plans to start a race war.
Members of the group stand accused of federal hate crimes, murder plots and firearms offenses, and have harbored international fugitives in recent months.
The Base’s leader previously operated under the aliases “Norman Spear” and “Roman Wolf”. Members of the network do not know his true identity due to the group’s culture of internal secrecy.
But the Guardian can reveal that “Norman Spear” is in fact US-born Rinaldo Nazzaro, 46, who has a long history of advertising his services as an intelligence, military and security contractor. He has claimed, under his alias, to have served in Russia and Afghanistan.
The revelation of his identity comes after a months-long investigation by the Guardian into Nazzaro and the activities of the Base.
The Base’s members stand accused of federal hate crimes. Photograph: Obtained by the Guardian
While Nazzaro’s most recently used address is in New Jersey, there is evidence supporting his claims of being based in Russia, where he lives with his Russian wife.
The Base – which is an approximate English translation of “al-Qaida” – began recruiting in late 2018. The white supremacy group, which has regional and international cells, extols the virtues of an all-out race war while specifically targeting African Americans and Jewish people.
Using encrypted apps, members of the highly organized group planned terror campaigns; vandalized synagogues; established armed training camps and recruited new members.
The US attorney for Maryland, Robert K Hur, speaking after the recent arrest of three members of the Base, said that they “did more than talk – they took steps to act and act violently on their racist views”.
Few traces of him exist anywhere
Rinaldo Nazzaro has maintained a decidedly low profile: he has no visible presence on any major social media platforms, no published writings under his own name, and no profile in local or national media.
Few traces of him exist anywhere, except where a name is required in official business – such as real estate purchases and the registration of companies.
Multiple emails and phone calls to Nazzaro went unanswered.
But through a painstaking investigation involving freedom of information requests, the analysis of material provided to the Guardian by a whistleblower inside the group, and cross-examination of information found online and in databases, the Guardian was able to piece together his identity and some of