Canadian Anti-Hate Network
A former member of the Canadian Armed Forces who fled to the US after being exposed by journalists as the leader of the Manitoba cell of accelerationist “survivalist club” The Base was sentenced to nine years in prison plus three years of supervision after his release for planning an attack during a Virginia gun rights protest early in 2020, according to Winnipeg Free Press reporter Ryan Thorpe.
Sentenced on Thursday with co-accused Brian Mark Lemley, Jr, the pair previously pled guilty to a list of charges related to their plans to attack the Virginia gun rally. The terrorism enhancements were approved by the judge during a pre-sentencing hearing earlier in the week. Lemley also received a nine year prison term.
The prosecution in the case had asked for a sentence of 25 years in prison. Federal charges do not allow for parole.
Mathews expressed regret and called his choice to cross the US-Canada border a "mistake" during statements to the court, according to the CBC.
"I try to be people's friends. I picked the wrong set of friends to do that. It's one thing to be a friend, be a buddy. It's another to get involved in illegal activity. It's insane and all my fault."
Mathews was revealed as a recruiter for The Base when Thorpe infiltrated the group in 2019. Mathews was serving in the army reserve at the time as a combat engineer. Thorpe became interested in the group after recruitment posters began appearing in Manitoba.
Passing through the group’s vetting process, he eventually found himself face to face with the Master Corporal.
At the same time Mathews was postering Winnipeg, he was taunting antifascists and antiracists on Twitter, using at least two Twitter accounts later connected to him. Additionally, he is suspected to have run fake antifascist disinformation accounts.
After having his identity exposed to the world, he fled.
On August 19, 2019, US authorities report Mathews unlawfully crossed from Canada into the United States near the Manitoba/Minnesota border. He would be reported missing by the Beausejour RCMP on August 26, 2019, and Mounties reported finding his truck in Piney, Manitoba, on September 2 in a since-deleted press release.
Piney is a rural municipality located a short distance north of the US-Canada border.
A third member of “The Base,” William Garfield Bilbrough IV of Denton, Maryland, previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to transport an alien and to transporting the alien, specifically, The Base member Patrik Mathews, and was sentenced to five years in federal prison, according to the US Attorney’s Office.
Eleven days after Mathews’ arrival in the US, Lemley and Bilbrough allegedly drove from Maryland to Michigan in order to pick up Mathews. Eventually, Lemley would rent an apartment for him and Mathews in Delaware.
It was during December 2019 that Lemley and Mathews used an upper receiver and “other firearms parts” to build a functioning rifle.
During this time, Lemley and Mathews are said to have purchased approximately 1,650 rounds of ammunition and travelled back to Maryland where they would test the built firearm on a range, and retrieve plating required for body armour.
Unbeknownst to them, the trio was under constant FBI surveillance.
The Base was founded by Rinaldo Nazzaro, a New Jersey native currently living in Russia with his wife and daughters. Founding the organization from Russia in 2018, he continues to attempt to organize accelerationist cells and nurture the damaged image of The Base after it suffered heavy infiltration by federal law enforcement in the United States. He continues to produce video blog entries to educate viewers on tactics and his philosophy, but often uses his platform to refute accusations and criticism against him and his group.
Exposed as leader by The Guardian, Nazzaro previously worked in intelligence contracting, including running a company that’s website offered a variety of services including training, intelligence analysis, and consulting until beginning his current project. Nazzaro has said since the sole purpose of this company was to sell software he had developed, but maintains he worked in defence contracting for almost two decades.
The BBC reports that Nazzaro purchased land in Washinton DC under the company name Base Global.
The Base appears to have no current active members in Canada, but was added to the country’s list of designated terrorist entities in February 2021.
This post has been updated to include sentencing details for Brian Lemley. Jr.