Army vet allegedly plotted assassination to start race war

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A former U.S. Army soldier and former Canadian Armed Forces reservist who allegedly plotted the assassination of a Virginia lawmaker and conspired to get racist mass murderer Dylann Roof out of jail could face decades in prison. The pair are awaiting jail terms after pleading guilty to multiple gun charges, according to the Associated Press.

US Army veteran Brian Mark Lemley Jr., 35, and former Canadian Armed Forces reservist Patrik Jordan Mathews, 29, face a sentencing hearing on October 28, according to the bureau of the United States Attorney for the District of Maryland. A third co-accused, William Garfield Bilbrough IV, 21, was sentenced to five years in prison in December after helping Mathews enter the United States illegally.

The three men are members of the violent white supremacist group “The Base”, which is trying to recruit military veterans as infantrymen for a planned racial war which it hopes will lead to the collapse of society, Task & Purpose reported. in October 2020. The group is looking for members with military experience in order to have an army of self-defense soldiers ready to take power in the expected chaos, experts said.

The FBI said Lemley, Mathews and Bilbrough were working to set this chaos in motion, the Associated Press reported. The FBI set up a camera and microphone in Mathews and Lemley’s Delaware apartment and overheard them discussing plans to attack a gun rights rally in Richmond, Va., Destroy railway and power lines and assassinate a Virginia lawmaker, according to the Associated Press.

The Base is a white supremacist group that allegedly tried to recruit members with military experience. (Photo courtesy of the Anti-Defamation League.)

Although the lawmaker was not named in the prosecutor’s court file, the politician has been described as the speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, the AP reported. A Jewish woman named Eileen Filler-Corn took over the post on January 8, 2020. Prosecutors wrote that Mathews hoped the president’s murder would lead to stricter gun control laws and then a backlash to those. laws, according to the AP.

“It is extremely disturbing and it should disturb all Americans,” Filler-Corn told the AP. “This model of using violence to intimidate the leaders and symbols of our democracy undermines the core values ​​of our democracy itself.”

Lemley’s attorney, Ned Smock, described his client as a veteran of the Iraq War and a former cavalry scout who “got lost during a difficult time in his life”, and that despite his discussions with Mathews , the couple never engaged in actual violence, the AP reported.

Instead, the counts Lemley pleaded guilty to were: “conspiracy to transport certain aliens, to transport certain aliens, to dispose of a firearm and ammunition to an illegal alien, and to transport a firearm and ammunition in interstate commerce with the intent of committing a crime. crime; and Delaware charges of harboring certain foreigners, of aiding and abetting a foreigner in possession of a firearm and of obstructing justice, ”the statement said.

The “alien” in question was Mathews, with whom Lemley and Bilbrough worked together to help illegally enter the United States in November 2019. Lemley also had an illegal unregistered “machine gun”, according to a press release from the Department of Justice, although he does not specify it. the type of firearm involved. Lemley and Mathews were also charged with intent to obstruct justice because they destroyed their cell phones before the FBI could recover them, the department wrote.

The AP reported that Lemley and Mathews were hopeful that Roof’s release from his maximum security prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, would also gain notoriety for The Base. White supremacist Roof killed nine African Americans during a Bible study at their church in South Carolina on June 17, 2015 in hopes of starting a race war.

“The base would be known as the guys who blew up Dylann Roof,” Mathews said, according to the AP.

Prior to bringing Mathews to the United States, Lemley and Bilbrough also attended a training camp hosted by base members in Georgia August 4-4, 2019, which included tactical training and weapons drills at fire, according to the Justice Department. The pair went to another base training camp in a different state later this month. In November 2019, Lemley and Bilbrough reportedly purchased around 1,550 rounds of 5.56 ammunition in Georgia, prosecutors said. In December, Mathews and Lemley also built a rifle from various weapon parts, and in January 2020 Lemley purchased another 1,500 5.56mm and 6.5mm rounds, which match two rifles he and Mathews owned.

“I might go to jail as soon as I find the propaganda in my cell phone,” Lemley told Mathews in January 2020, prosecutors said.

Lemley and Mathews each face a maximum of 10 years in federal prison for their gun charges and 20 years for obstructing justice. Lemley risks another 15 years for bringing Mathews into the country illegally and giving him a gun, while Mathews risks another 20 years for “being an alien in possession of a gun and ammunition”, prosecutors say . Although the actual sentences for federal crimes are generally less than the maximum sentence, they noted.

Lemley and Mathews are just the last members of The Base to be arrested. Six other members of the group were arrested in 2020 for violent crimes, including a conspiracy to commit murder, and a seventh member was arrested in 2020 for allegedly vandalizing a synagogue. The Base presents itself as a group of survivors who defend the “European race” of society, which has been infected with Jewish values, Joanna Mendelson, associate director of the Center on Extremism, told Task & Purpose last year. of the Anti-Defamation League. Mendelson told the AP in June that The Base fainted amid the arrest of its members, but that doesn’t mean its former members are any less dangerous.

“We are talking about adherents who are deeply rooted in an ideology,” Mendelson told the AP. “They often direct their deeply held beliefs to other neo-Nazi organizations.”

The base is one of many extremist groups looking to recruit ex-combatants and servicemen into its ranks. There are also the “Boogaloo Boys”, a group of anti-government far-right extremists who seek to start a second civil war by murdering, among other things, police officers; and the “Oath Keepers,” another far-right anti-government group that claims tens of thousands of current and former police and military personnel, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Federal prosecutors have stressed their commitment to arrest extremists before they have a chance to harm the rest of society.

“Detecting, disrupting and deterring the threat of domestic terrorism and violent extremism in all its forms is a top priority for this office,” said United States Attorney for the District of Delaware, David C. Weiss in June. . “When extremists like the accused Mathews and Lemley take action to advance their crooked agenda and commit gun-related offenses, obstruct justice and illegally transport aliens, law enforcement will respond swiftly and decisively. . “

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