The founder and leader of the neo-Nazi group “The Base” has been identified in news reports, days after seven alleged members of the organization were arrested and charged in three separate cases across the country.
The man who founded the neo-Nazi “accelerationist” group, which seeks to hasten civilizational collapse, fight a race war and establish a white ethnostate, goes by the names “Norman Spear” and “Roman Wolf” online.
The Guardian first reported Thursday that “Norman Spear” is Rinaldo Nazzaro, a 46-year-old New Jersey-born man. The BBC subsequently confirmed that reporting with its own. He was reportedly married to a Russian-born woman in Manhattan in 2012 and is currently living in Russia.
Nazzaro, according to the reports, had previously advertised his services as an intelligence and security expert and claimed to have been a veteran and former CIA field officer. Four members of The Base, the Guardian reported, have left the group citing suspicions that Nazzaro is really a law enforcement agent, or that his organization was a “honeypot” to lure neo-Nazis into the open.
Pictures of Nazzaro have appeared on advertisements for English lessons in St. Petersburg, the Guardian reported. And multiple offices associated with Nazzaro’s businesses — including on Fifth Avenue in New York and K Street in Washington, D.C. — are reportedly in fact “virtual offices” that are rented from another company who maintains the premises.
The reports identified Nazzaro based in part on property records and tax affidavits associated with a training camp The Base operated out of eastern Washington.
The group had largely operated underground for the past two years, making its presence known through propaganda fliers posted in various states as well as in Canada and elsewhere.
That changed in August, when the Winnipeg Free Press identified Base member Patrik Jordan Mathews, a former combat engineer in the Canadian Army Reserve. Mathews soon left Canada and allegedly crossed illegally into the United States, where he was allegedly harbored by two other Base members, Brian Lemley and William Bilbrough.
Since then, the Base has been getting more attention.
The trio were arrested Thursday last week and charged with gun and immigration-related crimes. Authorities said they discussed instigating a violent shoot-out at a pro-gun rally in Richmond, Virginia on Monday.
Separately last week, three alleged Base members in Georgia were arrested and charged with conspiracy to murder a local anti-fascist couple. And an alleged base member in Wisconsin was charged with vandalizing a synagogue in Racine.
Another alleged Base member, Richard Tobin, is currently awaiting trial for allegedly directing that and other vandalism incidents. In December, The Guardian reported, a prosecutor in Tobin’s case noted Tobin’s belief that “Norman Spear” was a Russian spy.
Josh Kovensky contributed reporting.