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. But shortly after, VICE News broke the first story on the group and authorities began circling.
Once that viral feature 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 emerge of members in the middle of Central Park in New York City, other members in Georgia call for attacks on the electric grid and a Canadian soldier (and terror suspect) is illegally on the lam in the U.S. with the help of the Base. But after a series of failed terror plots is disrupted by the FBI (and the bold actions of an undercover who infiltrates the group) the Base is torn apart in a series of stunning nationwide raids in January 2020.
The final installment, 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.
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