Jason Wilson of the Guardian has been all over a story that is only now being picked up nationally, but that contains dark and ominous portents for the 2020 election and beyond. It concerns a far-right state representative from Washington named Matt Shea, and Representative Shea apparently has been corresponding-and colluding-with some people who are very crazy, very determined, very racist, and very well-armed.
State representative Matt Shea, who represents Spokane Valley in the Washington state house, participated in the chats with three other men. All of the men used screen aliases – Shea’s was “Verum Bellator”, Latin for true warrior. The Guardian confirmed the identity of those in the chat by cross-checking phone numbers attached to the Signal accounts.
The group included Jack Robertson, who broadcasts a far-right radio show, Radio Free Redoubt, under the alias “John Jacob Schmidt”. The chat also included Anthony Bosworth, whose history includes a public altercation with his own daughter and bringing guns to a court house. Bosworth participated in the 2016 occupation of the Malheur national wildlife refuge, reportedly at Shea’s request...
The men proposed to confront leftists – whom they repeatedly refer to as “communists” and “Antifa” – with a suite of tactics, including violence...The men talked about the broad outlines of what they appeared to consider to be a looming civil war. They also discussed using symbols from what they understood to be Russian anti-communist groups as a way of spreading paranoia among their adversaries. The group talked about making stickers and cards using skull and crossbones images from post-revolutionary Russian nationalist groups.
This area of eastern Washington, running toward the Idaho panhandle, has been a white-supremacist Rivendell for decades now. It was there that Richard Butler established the Aryan Nations compound at Hayden Lake in Idaho. I've been out there to do two stories, each of them involving bombs. One was about a couple out of Washington state who blew themselves up with a homemade IED, and the other was about the attempt to bomb the Spokane Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade. In both cases, I talked to local law-enforcement people who were genuinely worried that every traffic stop might end in an explosion.
This is the powder magazine in which Representative Shea is running around with his blowtorches.
Shea, a six-term legislator and military veteran, came to international attention in 2018 after a document he authored surfaced laying out a “biblical basis for war”, which appeared to be a plan for an apocalyptic battle with people who practiced “same sex marriage” and “abortion”, and instructed: “If they do not yield, kill all males.” Shea denied that the document meant what it appeared to say.
At that time, Shea lost donors, and he was stripped of his role as chair of the Republican caucus – though he was serving in this position at the time of the leaked chat. But Shea has since regrouped, introducing bills to criminalize abortion and roll back gun laws, which other Republicans in Washington have supported. He has also continued pushing a plan for eastern Washington to secede and reconstitute as Liberty State. Robertson has also been a key architect of this campaign, and he and Shea have been regular guests on each other’s broadcasts. Shea has long promoted conspiratorial views about the cooperation of leftists and Muslims in creating “counter-states” in the US. He has associated with conspiracy-minded far-right groups, and later this month will emcee a dinner for the anti-communist John Birch society in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho.
The last time he ran, Matt Shea won with 57 percent of the vote.
They're out there, and they really believe this swill, and there are more of them than we think there are.
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