Messages from network involving Matt Shea provide insight into patriot shift and the extent of their conspiracy thinking

Leaked Signal letters from an online chat network around six-term Washington state Republican representative Matt Shea show new evidence of violent fantasies, surveillance of recognized antagonists, conspiracy concluding, Islamophobia, and support for white nationalists.

The letters from the chit-chat radical, exchanged between October 2017 and October 2018, testify Shea’s network includes other acting, former and aspiring rightwing legislators from Idaho and Washington, alongside activists associated with militia groups, anti-environmental induces, and pro-gun activism.

They too establish players, including Shea, preparing for economic and societal collapse even as they campaign for the secession of eastern Washington from the remainder of the state.

The messages offer a rare insight into the inner workings- and paranoia- of the so-called patriot movement, whose members have participated in standoffs with other federal departments in Nevada and Oregon, and whose far-right faiths have been controversially promoted by Shea.

Lindsay Schubiner, a program director at the progressive Western Commonwealth Center, said of the converses:” The chat contents disclose Shea acting more like a militia captain than an elected official. His conspiratorial and brutal mindset are on full exhibition. If it was not already clear, Shea has demonstrated that he is unfit for public bureau. Now it’s time for his colleagues in the Washington house of representatives to hold him accountable .”

Shea is currently under investigation by the Washington state house after reporting on his activities by the Guardian and local media outlets.

The network

The group chat the messages appeared in was frequently described by participates as an “intel” path for sharing information among a large group of Shea’s identifies, including 😛 TAGEND

Washington state representative Matt Shea, who positions within the schmooze under a frequently used online alias Verrumbellator.

Two-term Idaho state representative Heather Scott.

Former Spokane Valley councilman and Shea ally Mike Munch.

Former Spokane Valley councilman and podcaster Caleb Collier.

An account posting as “Marble”, attached to a phone number registered to Anne Byrd, who with spouse Pastor Barry Byrd leads-in the secretive Marble Community Church, headquartered in a complex in remote north-east Washington.

Broadcaster and Shea lieutenant Jack Robertson, also known as John Jacob Schmidt.

Patriot movement activist and Malheur standoff participant Anthony Bosworth. Bosworth runs a patriot change group called Liberty For All, once passed for Yakima county sheriff, and was charged with assaulting his daughter in downtown Yakima.

Former Spokane county employee and retired air force officer John Christina.

Former candidate for Washington commissioner of public lands Steve McLaughlin, who told the SPLC in 2016 that he was pulling back from connection the patriot movement

Jay Pounder, a former Shea confidant who divulged the chit-chats to the Guardian.

A rightwing rally in Portland last year, where far-right objectors and antifa counter-protesters clashed. Photograph: John Rudoff/ Rex/ Shutterstock

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