The Base is a white nationalist terror group that made the news when three of its members were arrested and accused of planning to start a civil war at this week's gun rally in Virginia by murdering cops and opening fire on the pro-gun protesters.
The group has a "culture of secrecy" and its members know its founder by aliases like "Norman Spear" and "Roman Wolf." But The Guardian has uncovered his true identity, using a combination of insider leaks and public records requests. According to the newspaper, "Norman Spear" is Rinaldo Nazzaro, a 46-year-old American from New Jersey whose personal history includes many extravagant claims of providing intelligence and security contracting to governments.
Apart from this, Nazzaro has very little social media presence, but his biographic details and images of him line up with what is know of "Spear."
It's not clear where Nazzaro lives; his wife is Russian and his image appears in advertisements for English language tutoring services in St Petersburg. He also owns an apartment in New Jersey.
Nazzaro owns a consulting company called "OSI LLC" whose offices — on Fifth Ave in NYC, K-Street in DC, etc — are all virtual offices, private mailbox services that offer phone reception and mail forwarding.
Nazzaro's proclaimed background in counterintelligence and government services, combined with any visible past history in white nationalist causes, has caused some white nationalists to accuse him of being a government operative running a honeypot to identify and neutralize Nazis (this is a common accusation and longrunning fear within the far-right).
According to an internally placed source, the only people within the movement who vouched for "Spear" were connected to the Northwest Front (NWF). The NWF founder, Harold Covington, was himself the subject of persistent rumors within the white nationalist movement that he was a federal informant, and that NWF was itself a honeypot – a front organization routinely used by US law enforcement in order to entrap people.
"Norman Spear" has told Base members that he remains in Russia. Law enforcement sources have indicated on background that Nazzaro is believed by some agencies to be working for the Russian government.
Revealed: the true identity of the leader of an American neo-Nazi terror group [Jason Wilson/The Guardian]
(Thanks, Kathy Padilla!)