In the second and final episode in a series for CYBER on neo-Nazi terror group the Base, we dive into its origins: The online brainchild of its leader Rinaldo Nazzaro, an ex-Pentagon contractor with alleged links to the Kremlin (which he denies) who began his project for “race war” as a WordPress site that evolved into a secretive, encrypted chat group, then into paramilitary training in the fall of 2018. Shortly after its creation, VICE News broke the first story on the group and authorities began circling.
After that story was published, some members of the Base fled the group, while others regrouped online and in real life, more committed to creating a homegrown, American insurgency against the government than ever. Over the course of the winter and spring of 2019, the Base recovered, gaining momentum and new recruits from across the U.S. and abroad. Threatening propaganda images emerged of members in the middle of Central Park in New York City, others in Georgia calling for attacks on the electric grid and a Canadian soldier (and terror suspect) was illegally on the lam in the U.S. with the help of the Base. But after a series of failed terror plots were disrupted by the FBI (and the bold actions of an undercover agent who infiltrates the group) the Base was torn apart in a series of stunning nationwide raids in January 2020.
The final instalment, titled “Train. Fight. Organize,” is a discussion between reporters Ben Makuch and Mack Lamoureux, who have investigated the group for over two years, and features never-before heard phone calls obtained by VICE News from a confidential source, between the Base and its cell leaders discussing new recruits and how to use the war in Ukraine as a potential terror pipeline.