A Washington State Republican politician took part in private discussions with right-wing figures about carrying out surveillance, “psyops” and even violent attacks on perceived political enemies, according to chat records obtained by the Guardian.
That Republican politician is Matt Shea, a former United States Army lieutenant who now serves in the Washington State House of Representatives, ostensibly representing the 4th Legislative District — though we don’t think he represents anyone at all given his views and lengthy record of hate speech.
Shea is as extreme as they come. He has admitted to distributing literature associated with the white nationalist Aryan Nations movement calling for the death of non-Christian males who do not follow biblical laws. (Shea’s activities so alarmed the Republican Spokane County Sheriff that the FBI was called in to investigate.)
“You have a sector that is preaching hate and falsehood, then you have a responsibility to shut that down,” Sheriff Knezovich told the Pacific Northwest Inlander. “Matt Shea has a responsibility to shut that down. He feeds the fire.”
Shea and a small group of other militant right wingers want the part of Washington they live in to secede and form a new state called Liberty.
They are obsessed with creating a pseudo-libertarian paradise and wrongly believe that if they could only sever political ties with Western Washington, they would be free to implement their white nationalist agenda. (I say pseudo-libertarian because this society would not be truly libertarian; Shea and his ilk do not believe in reproductive rights or the freedom to marry as true libertarians do.)
Shea — who often speaks at right wing rallies yet declines interviews — is in total agreement with Donald Trump that the mass media are “the enemy of the people”. He frequently denounces people he doesn’t agree with as “Marxists”.
Prior to being profiled by Rolling Stone last year and investigated by the FBI, Shea was involved in supporting the militant group that seized control of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon and broke numerous federal laws.
“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,” wrote Shea pal Jack Robertson in the chat. “Would make good attachment points for hoisting communists up flag poles. Especially the ones with nipple rings. But… if you cinch up zip ties enough, you don’t even NEED nipple rings for hoisting.”
“Shea, the elected Republican legislator, did not demur from any of these suggestions,” reports The Guardian’s Jason Wilson. “He also appeared willing to participate directly in surveillance of activists.”
“In response to a request in the chat for background checks on Spokane residents, Shea volunteered to help, going on to name three individuals – including an organizer for the liberal group Indivisible, and a college professor.”
This disturbing conduct warrants further investigation. The Washington State House should open its own investigation into Matt Shea and his activities. Shea should at least be censured for this conduct and formally reprimanded. This is absolutely unacceptable behavior for a public official. There must be discipline. House leadership cannot look the other way: they must act.