Canadian involved in a plot to overthrow the US government?

There are all kinds of hate groups out there that advocate violence: how much of a threat do they really pose?

There are all kinds of hate groups out there that advocate violence: how much of a threat do they really pose?

As we continue to debate what constitutes the greatest terrorist threat to our societies – the competition is usually jihadis vs. a hodge-podge of white nationalists and neo-Nazis – in comes an incident that has everyone twittering.

A couple of days ago, three alleged members of a racially-motivated and violent extremist group which calls itself The Base were arrested in Delaware and Maryland — including a 27-year-old former Manitoban military reservist named Patrik Mathews. According to court affidavits, The Base was founded in July 2018 to unite white nationalists to “prepare for a violent insurgency against various targets, including the United States government and non-white majority groups.”

The FBI has now arrested more members and alleges that these terrorists – yes, terrorists – had plans to murder a married couple who were members of the Antifa movement (consisting of left-wing anti-fascist groups) and overthrow the US government. The Base apparently had a para-military camp in Georgia and the FBI was able to investigate their plot thanks in large part to the use of a human agent (way to go Bureau!).

What kind of a threat do these guys pose?

According to the source, The Base was preparing for the ‘boogaloo,’ a term used by members to describe the collapse of the US and subsequent race war.  In committing their crimes they apparently planned to rent cars and use licence plates from a different state, put “Vaseline on their eyebrows and eyelashes to prevent leaving evidence”, and rent a cheap motel so they could shower after the murders.

So just how serious was all this? Serious enough that the Governor of Virginia declared a state of emergency and imposed a temporary ban on all weapons, including firearms, around the capitol building, based on what he called ‘credible evidence’. Now THAT is serious.

I ask again, what kind of a threat do these guys pose? A researcher at the New York-based Counter Extremism Project wrote that:

It’s possible that they were going there to try to create a sense of disorder…they are an accelerationist group which wants to create chaos that will help lead to the breakdown of order in the government…if they can inflame tensions whether it’s between pro-firearms groups and law enforcement or between pro-firearms groups and gun control groups, this is something that really benefits them.

Incompetent and stupid

On the other hand, Mathews was described as “incompetent and stupid”. So, where does this leave us?

That there are groups like this should neither surprise us nor be dismissed. These are hateful individuals who must be investigated, stopped and prosecuted. Any bunch of racist guys with guns is a legitimate concern.

At the same time, do they really have a shot at ‘overthrowing’ the US government? Not in my analysis they don’t. They can kill and maim but they cannot take down an entire nation. Still, their actions can inspire others and it would be imprudent to reject the possibility that their acts could snowball. Recall that the ‘Arab Spring’ started when a solitary fruit vendor in Tunisia killed himself.

In the end I want to congratulate the FBI and their partners on a job well done. Violent wankers like these should have the book thrown at them and serve significant time in prison.

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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