Ex-Canadian reservist allegedly advocated for blowing up trains, poisoning water supplies
TORONTO -- A former Canadian Forces combat engineer who fled the country last summer after he was accused of being a neo-Nazi allegedly hid out in an apartment bugged by law enforcement and videotaped himself advocating for killing people, derailing trains and poisoning water supplies.
“If you want the white race to survive, you’re going to have to do your f---ing part … This is the age of war,” Patrik Mathews allegedly said in a self-recorded video obtained by U.S. investigators.
U.S. prosecutors unveiled new information from their months-long investigation into Mathews and two other members of the white nationalist group The Base, including transcripts from an undercover camera and microphone secretly installed in a Delaware home.
Transcripts include members allegedly expressing hope for violence to break out at a Virginia gun rights rally and spark a civil war. Mathews allegedly called it a “boundless” opportunity and suggested that they could be “literally hunting people.”
“You realize that they’re just going to call us terrorists,” Mathews allegedly told another Base member one day before their arrest last week.
The 27-year-old Winnipeg man vanished last August after a Winnipeg Free Press reporter infiltrated a Base training camp in Winnipeg and identified Mathews as a member. At that time, Mathews was a combat engineer with the 38 Canadian Brigade Group in Winnipeg.
The same day the story was published, the RCMP carried out a search warrant at Mathews’ home and seized a number of weapons.
He was later discharged from the Canadian Armed Forces and, not long after, was reported missing. His pickup truck was found abandoned near the Manitoba-U.S. border on Sept. 2.
Investigators say two fellow Base members -- Brian Mark Lemley Jr., 33, and William Garfield Bilbrough IV, 19 -- picked up Mathews and helped him hide out across the U.S. for months.
During that time, Mathews allegedly expressed interest in becoming “a ghost” who could help oversee safe houses for other Base members who were similarly looking to disappear.
Mathews said these “ghosts” could eventually begin to carry out “jobs,” which investigators allege “meant targeted violence or attacks.”
‘WE CAN’T LET VIRGINIA GO TO WASTE’
Mathews used some of his time in hiding to record videos of himself “espousing violent, anti-Semitic and racist language,” prosecutors said.
“Many of the videos discuss killing people in furtherance of ‘the movement,’” prosecutors wrote in court documents.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, members of The Base advocate for a far-right fringe philosophy called “accelerationism,” which pushes for “the collapse of society as we know it.”
In December, law enforcement officials tracking the men obtained a court order authorizing them to install a closed-circuit television camera and a microphone in a Delaware apartment where Lemley and Mathews were staying.
The undercover footage allowed investigators to listen in on the men’s conversations. Prosecutors say Lemley and Mathews discussed a pro-gun rally in Virginia scheduled for Jan. 20 on multiple occasions.
Once, Mathews described a plan to “make other thing happen” during “the Virginia situation,” such as to derail rail lines, shut down highways and “kick off the economic collapse of the U.S. within a week.”
Two days before Christmas, after Lemley allegedly expressed a desire to “claim my first victim” at the Virginia rally, Mathews allegedly suggested: “We could essentially like be literally hunting people.”
“You know we got this situation in Virginia where this is going to be, that opportunity is boundless and the thing is you’ve got tons of guys who are just in theory should be radicalized enough to know that all you gotta do is start making things go wrong and if Virginia can spiral out to f---ing full blown civil war,” Mathews allegedly said.
“We can’t let Virginia go to waste, we just can’t.”
The pro-gun rally, held Monday in the Virginia’s capital, ended peacefully.
On another occasion, Mathews allegedly said he wished he had set up secret explosive devices in his Manitoba home before the RCMP carried out their search warrant.
“In all honesty, I could really wish they f---ing all started searching my place, accidently trip a pin, and boom and the whole house goes boom. Boy, wouldn’t that be terrible, a bunch of f---ing RCMP search experts got f---ing exploded,” Mathews allegedly said in the transcripts.
Four days before the rally, FBI agents arrested Lemley and Mathews at their apartment. Moments before the arrest, the two men smashed their cellphones and tossed them in the toilet, prosecutors said, apparently not realizing that they’d been recorded by law enforcement for over a month.
Mathews and Lemley are both charged with transporting a firearm and ammunition with intent to commit a felony. Bilbrough is charged with "transporting and harbouring aliens." Each charge carries a maximum of 10 years in prison, three years of probation and a $250,000 fine.
After last Thursday's hearings, lawyers for Mathews and Lemley declined to comment.
With files from The Associated Press and The Canadian Press