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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

September 27, 2020   |   Ithaca, NY

Opinion

National Recap: White supremacists arrested before attack

On Jan. 16, three men were arrested for planning a violent attack to take place during a gun rally in Richmond, Virginia. The arrest of Patrik Jordan Mathews, 27, Brian Mark Lemley Jr., 33, and William Garfield Bilbrough IV, 19, was a result of a larger investigation of “The Base,” a white supremacist group that has been making recent headlines across the country.

The investigation began when a hidden camera in Mathews’ home recorded the three members of the white supremacist group planning a violent attack that they predicted would start a civil war as a result of their actions. The hidden camera recorded their conversations over the past month. The three men were taken into custody, and no one was harmed at the rally.

Mathews was being searched by both U.S. and Canadian authorities since September because the Canadian military’s intelligence unit was conducting an investigation of Mathews for “possible racist extremist activities.” This is why the closed-circuit television camera and microphone were secretly installed in Mathew’s Maryland home, in order to catch him before he conducted a dangerous act of terrorism. 

Lemly said that they planned to ambush police in order to steal their weapons and tactical gear and that he planned to use thermal imaging scope on his rifle in order to ambush as many civilians as possible. Mathews and Lemley also had begun organizing rations for after their planned attacks at the Virginia rally. Beyond packing munitions and weapons, the two also packed food they expected to last them for three to five months. “Might be enough til the war is over,” one of them said, according to the files of their recorded conversations. They had additional plans of renting a truck and attaching a metal antenna in order to communicate with others after fleeing the scene at the gun rally. 

It appears as though Mathews and Lemley were already aware that the authorities were catching onto their plans based on a phone conversation the two had the day before they were arrested. Once the federal agents began moving in to arrest the two Jan. 16, they both destroyed the cell phones they were communicating on.

The Base, the white supremacist group that the suspects were linked to, is known to advocate for a movement known as “accelerationism,” which far-right extremists define as their interest in causing the “collapse of society as we know it.” Members of this group can be found all across the country. Three more individuals were arrested last Friday, a day after Mathews and Lemley, for charges of conspiracy to kill members of a militant anti-fascist group.