This article has been updated to correct who sent the screenshot with Suckling's address information, link to the response from Redoubt News, and include the statement from the source who leaked the Signal messages.
By now, Rep. Matt Shea (R-Spokane Valley) and his allies definitely know the name Kierán Suckling. As executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity, Suckling has repeatedly been at the opposite side of some of the most heated controversies in Shea's world. It was Suckling's group who was battling Cliven Bundy, the cattle rancher whose defiance led to an armed standoff in 2014. When right-wing militants occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, it was Suckling who showed up to counterprotest. And lately, it's been Suckling's group that has been pushing litigation to protect wolves in Washington state.
"Since the '90s, we have been exposing the connection between anti-environmentalists and the militias and the white supremacist movement," Suckling says. "These are part and parcel of the same world view."
Rep. Matt Shea hates wolves, and he's not too fond of being tied to white supremacists. (Though that didn't stop him from linking to a white nationalist website to slam a journalist he disliked.)
And so perhaps it's not surprising that when Shea's allies discussed targeting specific individuals with the state legislator on the private messaging app Signal, Suckling's name came up.
The plan being brainstormed? Send the guy severed wolf parts.
Last month, Guardian journalist Jason Wilson wrote a story based on some of these leaked Signal messages, as Shea's allies reveled in detailed fantasies of violence against local Spokane residents. The revelations sparked bipartisan condemnation in the Washington state Legislature.
Among other moments, Three Percenter Anthony Bosworth — the guy who Shea feted with a "2016 Patriot of the Year" award and sent down to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge as a "security specialist" to "de-escalate" the standoff — discussed targeting alleged "antifa" members by confronting their parents, their workplaces, their landlords and targeting their "safe spaces"... "while they're out on the streets rioting."
"If we can catch a few of them alone and work him over a little bit," Bosworth wrote, according to the Guardian. While Shea was not quoted directly encouraging violence, he offered to help run background checks for those who were.
In the Spokesman-Review, Bosworth characterized his comments as mere angry venting. The Spokesman reported that many of the comments were made in the lead-up to Nov. 4, 2017, which right-wing groups incorrectly believed would be a day of far-left violence. But previously unpublished chat messages obtained by the Inlander showed that discussions of targeting political opponents continued after the rumored "Antifa Civil War" date fizzled without an incident.
"As far as I'm concerned we can send one of these and a wolf tail to Suckling," Bosworth writes to the group. "Suckling would make sure it made national news."
One of the other group members — Jay Pounder, the source who leaked the Signal conversations to the Guardian — posts a screenshot of Suckling's address and contact information.
"OK, do we have anybody up north to get us a tail?" Bosworth responds.
Pounder then floats the name of Cope Reynolds, a Three Percenter and a gun rights activist who, like Suckling, is based in Arizona. (If you're assuming Reynolds uses the Confederate flag as his Facebook banner image, you'd be correct.)
"Well, if Cope crossed a wolf he'd smoke it himself," Bosworth responded.
"These transplanted wolf packs can be traced back through DNA," Bosworth writes. "Get me the testicles off a North Idaho wolf and I'll send it to him."
A dozen minutes later on Signal, Shea — using the screen name Verumbellator — gives Bosworth a warning. To be clear, he doesn't warn Bosworth that he shouldn't cut the tail and testicles off a North Idaho wolf corpse to send to environmental activist along with a skull and crossbones.
Instead, he warns Bosworth that they shouldn't talk about this stuff electronically, and instead they should do it face-to-face.
"This is not something to put out electronically," Shea writes. "We need to meet f2f."
(Shea is frequently cautious about information security, once telling a crowd that there are "private investigators that work for the Republican establishment, that actually use technology to hack into your phone.")
"Roger," Bosworth responds. And with that, he drops the subject.
It's possible, of course, that Shea met Bosworth to discourage him from sending a threatening package. But Suckling is skeptical: Why would Shea want to take the conversation offline to tell Bosworth he shouldn't threaten Suckling.
Either way, Suckling says, he's never had anyone deliver him anything resembling a wolf tail and testicles. But he argues that just the fact that it was discussed is revealing. In an email, he explained:
"Threatening to mutilate a wolf and mail its bloody body parts is outright psychotic. But it won't scare the Center for Biological Diversity, it makes us fight harder for the endangered species and people Matt Shea has declared war on. He's a textbook example of how racism, sexism, homophobia, religious intolerance, animal abuse, and anti-environmentalism go hand in hand. Shea should resign or be impeached immediately. His paranoid self-dealing authoritarianism has no place in American democracy."
Shea's legislative assistant, Rene' Holaday, responded to a request for comment with this statement:
"Thank you for writing to the office of Rep. Matt Shea. Rep. Shea is out of town on a Missions trip serving the Lord, and won't be back for several more days."
As Shea rarely speaks to the local reporters, instead preferring to bash them from a distance after the story has come out, the Inlander does not anticipate the state representative agreeing to answer questions when he returns. If he does, we will update the story.
Bosworth has so far not agreed to a phone interview with the Inlander, but in an email sent Tuesday morning, he offered the following statement:
"Here's what I have to say about Wolves and Fine Cigars , 'smokem if you got them'"
The eco-terrorists can stick that in your pipe and smoke it.
Suckling, meanwhile, acknowledges he's been arrested in civil disobedience actions before, including chaining himself to trees and occupying politician and developer offices, but stresses that these actions were nonviolent.
In that vein, no evidence has surfaced to suggest that Bosworth, Shea or the other members of the Signal chat undertook any of the violent or threatening tactics discussed. Still, the chats are rife with fantasies about violence and destruction toward various individuals and businesses.
"When the Patriot Revolution starts I know what store I'm burning to the ground," Bosworth writes in a Signal message, linking to a search for "Antifa" products at Walmart.
And Bosworth has become violent in the past, including allegedly getting into a fistfight at a funeral.
Suckling says his group has been the victim of arson and violence before.
"We’ve had the militia show up at our office and try to get inside," Suckling says. "We’ve had a truck [torched] in our parking lot. We’ve had people beaten up over the years."
He says he won't be dissuaded by the tactics of Shea and his allies.
"We have to push on and never let this thing deter us from saving endangered species," Suckling says. "If there's anything worth dying over it’s stopping the mass extinction that’s going on with this planet right now."
But not, to Suckling at least, worth killing over.
As of Wednesday morning, Bosworth sent the Inlander a link to a post by Redoubt News, a far-right blog that champions the patriot right. It notes that the first version of the Inlander blog incorrectly identified who shared Suckling's contact information, and also accuses Pounder of using "willing, radical, left-wing extremists to further his own personal grudges against Matt Shea and his friends" and of "using extreme violent rhetoric himself." It does not, however, provide any proof that the Guardian's source had used that rhetoric, nor does it provide any clarity for why Shea wanted to meet Bosworth face-to-face to discuss his wolf-package proposal. (Pounder denies using the incendiary rhetoric quoted by Redoubt News.)
On Wednesday, Pounder released a lengthy statement on Facebook explaining why he leaked the Signal messages. He denies that he was trying to set Shea up — instead, he says that he gradually became disillusioned with the Shea organization and eventually decided to speak up.
Right now we face an unprecedented threat to the public safety and security of the Pacific Northwest and that is all due to the threat of Christian Identity Politics, what is that you ask? Check out this article from Christianity Today’s Editor in Chief Mark Galli: https://bit.ly/2DHGxyC
Why this is important and relevant right now, I’ll start in with a scripture… because this week I’ve read many times and it keeps speaking to me;
2 Chronicles 16:7-9: “At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him: “Because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the LORD your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand. 8 Were not the Cushites[b] and Libyans a mighty army with great numbers of chariots and horsemen[c]? Yet when you relied on the LORD, he delivered them into your hand. 9 For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war. 10 Asa was angry with the seer because of this; he was so enraged that he put him in prison. At the same time Asa brutally oppressed some of the people.”
Consider that last verse, “Asa was angry with the seer because of this; he was so enraged that he put him in prison. At the same time Asa brutally oppressed some of the people.”
Well as some of you have read and heard that a series of articles and chats that I was privy to that I released several NW media outlets regarding the activities of a State Rep Matt Shea that I used to be involved with several years ago.
I want to make it evidently clear. I parted ways with State Rep Matt Shea due to his headlong full barrel decent into the world and ideologies of Christian Identity politics and Dominionism. I feel that at the time I followed proper Biblical protocol in addressing what I was seeing and hearing from Matthew and what at that time I considered “my people”. He may differ in opinion. While I volunteered with him, I was caught up in the ideas of identity politics and didn’t know it until God showed me what true freedom and liberty are really about.
I thought I was on the side of what was right, I thought that God was going to use us to save and help the community in the Pacific Northwest to give glory to His name and help bring about a restoration of faith and hope should things get really bad in the world.
Yes, did I say things that I am not proud of because I thought that I was doing God’s will? Yes.
Have I ever done anything illegal? No.
Are they attempting to smear me on alternative media sites with false statements and negative information? Yes, but I forgive them.
Have I gone to those individuals I sinned against and asked forgiveness of them for my words and made it right? Yes I did that a long time ago.
I have because it’s the Biblical thing to do and I know it was the right thing to do. Doing the right thing is incredibly hard to do, but forgiveness is divine and grace is amazing for all that accept it.
Does Matt and his associates believe they are doing the right thing in God’s name? Yes, but in my opinion, this couldn’t be further from what we know to be Christ’s great commission.
In my opinion, Matthew, the Church at Marble Community Fellowship near Northport WA and anyone tied to his spiritual ideology are focused on one thing and one thing; The sheer use of raw power and fear to achieve their political and spiritual ideology that only Christians should lead the United States of America. This is Christian Identity Politics and Dominionism in its purest form and it is dangerous. It’s also idolatry to put politics before the Lord. I am going to reference the following statement by a quote by the aforementioned article on this;
“Yes, a nation is better served by laws influenced by Christian ethics, and yes, we are obliged by love to persuade others of the wisdom of Christian ethics; but we cannot “insist on our own way” (1 Cor. 13:5) by forcing unbelievers to submit to our morals. Yes, borders should be secure, but they can go hand in hand with a generous immigration policy. Yes, every nation is graced with favor from God but also is subject to God’s judgment.”
The focus of Christian Identity politics is to force people to subscribe under pain of death (according to Matt’s Biblical Basis For War and the Remnant Resolves) to the belief in Christianity and should you not, you are the enemy and are demonized for being an “atheist”, “communist”, “Pegan”, “Social Justice Warrior”, “leftwing liberal”, “Benedict Arnold” who must associate with “Antifa” and should be put to death under the Dominionistic / Christian Identity ideology.
Once I uncovered this, I could not and would not stand for those ideals. That is why I released the chats. No one should be subjected to those types of ideals. God loves all.
Why have I kept quiet about this you might ask? Well out of heavy safety concerns for my family and those I hold dear. I had hoped the local media would be able to bring about the truth and that anyone reading this would have already seen and understood that this behavior and ideology is wrong.
By bringing this to the forefront I beg that you all read and understand that this isn’t Christianity. I also hope that by being more public with my statement on this, should anything happen to me or my family or those I hold dearest, those in this movement would be held severely accountable for their actions. We don’t anticipate this, God is sovereign, but this is a rebellion against their theology and now I have gone against “Asa”.
Have I contacted legal counsel should I need it? Yes. I hope to never have to bring any lawsuits against anyone for harassment or physical intimidation. God is sovereign.
My God, our God is a God of love and forgiveness and wants all of you to know that you are loved, and he doesn’t want to kill you if you don’t believe in him. He is not going to bring about civil war and he certainly isn’t going to come on the clouds and bless the USA should the entire sitting body of the government be Christian in belief. Is there a deeper conversation to be had about faith, grace and redemption and what that means, sure, but those conversations are best left for quiet private conversations and to allow the Holy Spirit to work in the hearts of those being talked with.
It is not for us to judge race, creed, ethnicity, sex, orientation or belief. It is for us to love our neighbor and to show them Christ’s love. Everyone is our neighbor and we are instructed to love our neighbor as yourself and not force our neighbor believe like we believe. Once we realize that, then we can allow the holy spirit work and bring about true freedom and spiritual liberty. This cannot and should not be done through force of action or threat of death.
Do I still love Matthew, his associates, Barry and Anne Byrd and the rest of the Marble fellowship people? Yes, absolutely I do, but I still struggle daily with doing this. We are called to love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you (Matt 5:44). I don’t view these people as my enemy but because I am human I have to work each day to love the sinner and hate the sin. I grieve the fact that they would rather demonize someone who doesn’t believe like them rather than engaging in a dialog that could lead to an extraordinary moment. I believe that through pain/struggle, comes healing and restoration and that is what our region and our country needs most right now. We don’t need anger, we don’t need hate, we don’t need division. This has to stop.
In closing, I hope that as you have read this statement you understand that I am not the same man who thought he was serving the right cause, but now stand in front of you begging you to see that the leadership in Olympia represented in the Spokane Valley area is on a path that will spiritually destroy people and soul of this region. Left unchecked it will also physically destroy it someday as well if their plan is enacted.
Some will read this and view this as a political stunt. It isn’t, it’s so much bigger than just the man in office. Yes, this does have major political ramifications, but this is about the soul of the area. Christian Identity Politics and Dominionism has no place in our region, it does not fulfill the great commission. It does not encourage healthy dialog between groups who believe differently. It does not encourage those without a voice to speak up and it certainly doesn’t bring people together to work towards better communities. It goes against everything this country was founded on.
Know that what you feel is right, this isn’t ok. Go with your heart, do what’s right and know that you are loved by the King of the Universe who has a plan for your life despite whatever your background may be.
Special Note: This will be my only statement on this situation, I will take no media inquiries nor answer any questions or engage in nonproductive dialog regarding this post. Any and all threats regarding this post, attempts at physical intimidation, veiled threats to my business ventures will all be forwarded to my council for consideration and prosecution should the need be.