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Patrik Matthews tells terrorist wannabes, "If you want the white race to survive, you're going to have to do your fucking part." Screenshot from FBI video.

Seeking the Boogaloo: We Need To Go Back To the Days of Decimating Blacks and Other Ideas From The Base

Abby Zimet

In last week's perhaps most under-reported and hair-raising news - is there a connection, we wonder - counter-terrorism experts told the House Intelligence Committee that domestic extremists, mostly white supremacists, now pose as much of a violent threat to the U.S. as Islamic militants. Timothy Langan, Assistant Director of the FBI's Counterterrorism Division, said the threat of violence from racist yahoos has soared in the last 18 months - and reportedly tripled since 2017 - with about 2,700 related investigations underway; he also said there've been 18 attacks in recent years targeting religious institutions, mostly mosques and synagogues, in which 70 people died. It gets scarier if you peruse the Southern Poverty Law Center's Hate Map, which tracks the nation's 838 hate groups who do this sort of thing, or their Extremist Files documenting the histories and "core beliefs" - like, "The only good Muslim is a dead motherfucker, straight-up" - of 69 designated extremist groups. They also catalog lots of hate-filled, broken individuals: Neo-Nazis, anti-Semites, Islamophobes, homophobes, cross-burners, skinheads, gun freaks, Holocaust deniers, sovereign citizens, fighters against "creeping Shariah," and fans of eugenics, race war, lone-wolf terror acts, land mines on the border, resistance to "savage Negro beasts," theocracy governed by Old Testament law, and Hitler, like the Midwest's Farm Belt Fuhrer. We'd like to think their brutish, blinkered, venomous ignorance could be punctured by a bit of knowledge - a course on CRT, maybe - but we suspect the damage goes too deep.

The 69 proudly white groups they chronicle are disquietingly like-minded. The United Constitutional Patriots believe migrants are being paid by the deep state to come here and crash the system: "They're here because they want to kill." The far-right "Christian" Alliance Defending Freedom supports re-criminalizing sexual acts between consenting LGBTQ adults and state-sanctioned sterilization of trans people. The genocidal National Alliance, which inspired Timothy McVeigh, calls for the eradication of Jews and non-whites - an action one of their  foundational documents calls "a temporary unpleasantness" - to create a white homeland. The overtly racist Rise Above Movement is a violent right-wing fight club exists to do open combat with liberals at protests. The leader of the neo-Nazi Traditionalist Worker Party, which helped organize Charlottesville's hate-and-tiki-torch-fest, is opposed to "usurious Jewish bankers" and "Negro criminality," and shares the commitment of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people, to "push Muslim invaders out of our Western homelands." And members of The Base, made up of small terrorist cells that undergo military training, believe in the collapse of society through civil war, or the "Boogaloo," in order to create a white ethno-state. From one recruiter: "Most of our members are National Socialists and/or fascists, although we also have some run-of-the-mill white nationalists...We have a strong revolutionary and militant current running through (it). You're going to be stepping into probably the most extreme group of pro-white people that you can come across."

It was two hapless members of The Base who offered law enforcement and the rest of us a glimpse into their sordid world after the FBI, thanks to an undercover agent, secretly installed video and audio recording equipment in their Delaware apartment and listened for a month to their grisly claptrap. Brian Lemley, 35, of Maryland, a self-described white nationalist and army veteran of Iraq diagnosed with PTSD, and Patrik Mathews, 29, a former combat engineer in Canada's Army Reserves illegally in the U.S., planned to use a gun-rights rally in Richmond, VA to spark a race war through mass murders of police and black people plus attacks on critical infrastructure; they also hoped to assassinate a state lawmaker and break mass murderer Dylann Roof out of prison. On Friday, ABC News obtained newly released audio from the FBI. It's....something. "We need to go back to the days (of) decimating Blacks and getting rid of them where they stand," said Mathews, adding "you wanna create some fucking instability" by shutting down roads and rail lines. "If you see a bunch of Blacks sitting on some corner, you fucking shoot them." "I need to claim my first victim," said Lemley, who in an online chat room also admitted, "I daydream about killing so much that I frequently walk in the wront (sic) direction" at work. "It's just that we can't live with ourselves if we don't get somebody's blood on our hands...I mean, even if we don't win, (we) did what we had to do." There's also video of Mathews, breathing heavily through a gas mask. "The time for violent revolution is now," he snarls. "If you want the white race to survive, you're going to have to do your fucking part."

Last January, days before the Richmond rally, FBI agents raided the apartment and arrested the pair. They found tactical gear, 1,500 rounds of ammunition, parts to build assault rifles, and cases of Meals-Ready-To-Eat. Both men pleaded guilty to an array of firearms, obstruction of justice and immigration charges with an intent to ignite civil war. Mathews' four counts amounted to 50 years in prison and Lemley's seven counts carried a maximum 70 years; federal prosecutors, calling them domestic terrorists, recommended 25 years. In court, defense attorneys sought three years for each, arguing their clients' crazed plan was "simply a fleeting idea" hatched by "two damaged military veterans," and don't forget the First Amendment. At their Oct. 28 sentencing, Judge Theodore Chuang rejected those arguments, imposed a "terrorism enhancement" warranted under federal law, and gave each man nine years. (He also gave 21-year-old William Garfield Bilbrough IV, who sounds pretty white, five years for sneaking Mathews into the U.S.) Before sentencing, both men pleaded for mercy: Mathews told the judge he was "horrifically wrong" about The Base; Lemley tearfully said he'd abandoned his racist views after black prisoners "embraced" him, and "the power of friendship healed a festering wound of a false ideology." Relatives also spoke for them. Lemley's sister said they were abused as children, noting, "There is so much pain and regret in this room." Mathews' father called his son "a troubled soul with a good heart" who suffered childhood bullying but had "a strong moral compass"; despite the whole "decimating" thing, he said Patrik couldn't be racist: "He's just too kind." Oddly, after sentencing, Patrik's mother echoed him. "People back home, they know who he is, and he hasn't changed," she said. "He's the same kind person."

Abby Zimet

Abby Zimet

Abby has written CD's Further column since 2008. A longtime, award-winning journalist, she moved to the Maine woods in the early 70s, where she spent a dozen years building a house, hauling water and writing before moving to Portland. Having come of political age during the Vietnam War, she has long been involved in women's, labor, anti-war, social justice and refugee rights issues. 

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