Report: Washington Rep. Matt Shea allegedly used app to discuss surveillance of liberals

Apr 20, 2019, 6:32 PM
Matt Shea...
Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane, speaks at a gun-rights rally, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. in 2017. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

A Washington State Republican representative is accused of covertly organizing surveillance and violence against people and groups with liberal politics.

The Guardian reports that four men, including Washington State Republican Representative Matt Shea of Spokane Valley, used a messaging app to talk about left-leaning figures around Spokane in late 2017.

The Guardian says it has confirmed the identities of four participants who used the messaging app Signal by cross verifying phone numbers and accounts on the app. Shea was identified among the four chatting on the app.

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Under the name Verum Bellator (Latin for “True Warrior”), Shea allegedly discussed surveillance of liberal organizers and supporters ahead of the 2017 Antifa revolution, which right wing media promoted as a mounting, violent left-wing revolt. It turned out to be a handful of peaceful protests. In the chat records, Shea reportedly blamed poor weather for the low leftist turnout for the expected revolt.

The three other men talked about violent acts against leftists, going to where they worked and lived, and using Russian anti-communist symbols to stir paranoia. The fourth person in the chat was withheld by The Guardian for safety reasons.

The report states:

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.

It is notable that “redoubt” is a word often used by Northwest white supremacist groups, under the idea of attracting supremacists to the region to form an ethnostate; and also by certain religious groups looking to form a new state under their views.

RELATED: Washington’s history of white supremacist migration
RELATED: Sugarcoating white supremacy in Washington

Messages between the four men detail potential violence against people they perceived as communists and Antifa. Robertson allegedly wrote about a woman living in Spokane: “Fist full of hair, and face slam, to a Jersey barrier. Treat em like communist revolutionaries. Then shave her bald with a K-Bar USMC field knife.”

The Guardian does not relate any messages from Shea that mention or encourage violence, but notes that he does not object to the rhetoric or plans presented by the others. Shea enters into the conversation asking about what background checks need to be performed on people. He asked for a list if names to target.

Robertson spoke with The Guardian and said people often speak “tongue in cheek” about such things in these chat groups.

The report is the latest news surrounding Shea’s activities. He has introduced a bill to secede Eastern Washington from the state this past session — it didn’t get much support in Olympia.

Controversy surrounded the lawmaker in November 2018 when it was revealed he wrote a “manifesto” that described how to wage a just war according to the Bible. The document titled “A Biblical Basis for War” explains the formation of a “holy army” and promotes that Christians are to avoid bloodshed and offer peace to their enemies. This includes demanding that they stop all abortions, no same-sex marriages, no communism, and they must obey biblical law. If they do not yield, “kill all males.”

Shea has argued that it was not a manifesto, but a biblical study. Critics of Shea, including Spokane’s Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, have argued otherwise. The sheriff previously told the Spokesman Review: “The document Mr. Shea wrote is not a Sunday school project or an academic study. It is a ‘how to’ manual consistent with the ideology and operating philosophy of the Christian Identity/Aryan Nations movement and the Redoubt movement of the 1990s.”

Sheriff Knesovich turned the document over to the FBI for investigation in November 2018. The Sheriff has previously noted while talking with MyNorthwest that groups such as Christian Identity and other white supremacist organizations have looked to the Northwest as a future ethnostate for the white race.

KIRO Radio has reached out to Representative Shea for comment.

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Report: Washington Rep. Matt Shea allegedly used app to discuss surveillance of liberals